On Saturday, 23 June 2018, the closing ceremony at Košice’s Kunsthalle concluded the 26th Art Film Fest International Film Festival. The festival’s nine days culminated in the bestowal of the Blue Angel and Actor’s Mission awards.
The Blue Angel for Best Feature Film went to Danish psychological thriller The Guilty (Den skyldige, 2018) from director Gustav Möller. The story of an emergency call operator was selected by the international jury for its convincingness, particularly its “powerful storytelling and intense visuality.” In the jury’s words, the film “never lets the audience off the hook”.
Thanks to The Guilty, another statuette will also make its way to Denmark – the Blue Angel for Best Male Performance. According to the jury, “Every look, every breath, every little move” of lead actor Jakob Cedergren “keeps the audience in the highest state of suspense and emotional involvement.”
Best Female Performance went to actress Zsófia Szamosi, the star of Hungarian film One Day (Egy nap, 2018) from director Zsófia Szilágyi. Extolling the precision of her performance, the jury praised her ability to “create an astute portrait of a modern woman and make us care about her.”
The Blue Angel for Best Director was granted to Serbian director Ognjen Galvonić for the drama The Load (Teret, 2018). “Step by step,” said the jury, “the director drags us emotionally into his imaginary world by fragilely touching the deepness of the human mind.” The impressions left by the film stayed with the jurors long after they left the cinema.
The jury also decided to grant two special mentions to films they considered exceptional. One was the Slovak title The Last Self-Portrait (2017), the intimate confession of director Marek Kuboš, which the jury called “full of humour”, while saying that it nevertheless “confronts us with basic questions about the passage of time, loneliness and the roots of art”. The second special mention went to a film that “has a touching story and very emotional characters” and “deals with serious matters in a very humorous and entertaining way.” That film is Turkish picture Butterflies (Kelebekler, 2018) from director Tolga Karaçelik.
The jury of the International Competition of Short Films bestowed its Blue Angel upon Swedish short Shadow Animals (Skuggdjur, 2017) from director Jerry Carlsson. In the jury’s view, the film is a purposive “metaphor of social standards and stereotypes”, an “imaginative vision” that nonetheless remains faithful to Swedish cinematographic tradition, creating “a surrealist space where fantasy and individualism have no reason for being.”
The short films jury also granted a special mention to the abstract Flame (Polte, 2018), citing director Sami van Ingen’s powerful work with scraps of damaged footage and calling the film “the last witness of an era long forgotten.”
Two prizes were awarded by festival viewers, who cast their votes via internet. The Joj Cinema Audience Award for Best Feature Film went to What Will People Say (Hva vil folk si, 2017), in which director Iram Haq tells the story of 16-year-old Nishe, who tries to strike a balance between two roles: the conscientious daughter of a Pakistani immigrant, and a teenager growing up in today’s Europe. The Art Film Fest Audience Award for Best Competing Short Film went to French picture Negative Space (2017) from directorial duo Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata. Their poetic tale portrays the relationship between a father and son. In an attempt to reach out to his son, the father decides to teach him how to pack his suitcase.
Festival Azyl, the international online festival of one-minute films, five-minute films and music videos, granted three prizes during the ceremony. The award for best one-minute film went to British filmmaker Daniel McKee for Mona Lisa Selfie (2017). The Festival Azyl jury deemed the best five-minute film to be Prague: A Foreigner’s Perspective (2017) from Czech director Daria Kashcheeva. In this year’s music video competition, the video to Christian Löffler’s Haul (2017) came out on top, directed by Marek Partyš, another Czech filmmaker.
The festival’s red-carpet conclusion also featured the bestowal of the Actor’s Mission Award. As the second recipient this year, following Zuzana Mauréry, star Czech actress Ivana Chýlková received the award.
The 26th Art Film Fest began on Friday, 15 June 2018 and ended on Saturday, 23 June 2018 with the screening of the documentary Whitney (2018), devoted to the legendary diva. Altogether over 200 films were screened, along with numerous discussions, exhibitions, concerts and other accompanying events for film enthusiasts as well as everyone else.
Organizers: ART FILM FEST s.r.o., FORZA, a.s.
Co-organizers: The City of Košice, K13, the Košice Self-governing Region
The festival is held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic.
Financial support: The Audiovisual Fund
The festival is made possible by the financial support of the Košice Self-governing Region.
General sponsor: SEPS, a.s.
Main partners: Tipos; Transpetrol; Východoslovenská energetika – a member of Innogy; Slovnaft; Nadácia SPP
Official festival automobile: MOTOR – CAR Košice , Official festival hotel: Hotel Yasmin, Festival logistics partner: DHL Express Slovakia, Official festival transport provider: Czech Airlines
Sponsors: NOVIS Poisťovňa, Slovak Business Agency, Keramon, Kino Úsmev, Tabačka Kulturfabrik, Železničná spoločnosť Slovensko, Aupark, Pan-European University, Film Europe Media Company, Omnia 2000, Omnia KLF, Omnia Holding SE, LGM, CPK Slovakia, Fors-stav
Official suppliers: Barzzuz, Pilsner Urquell, NOV s.r.o. Zebra, Tuli, Lyvina, Grand Bari Budiš
Main media partners: TVJOJ, Kinosála, JOJ Cinema, Nový Čas, Aktuality.sk
Media partners: Československo Channel, Festival Cinema Channel, Rádio Expres, Rádio Košice, SME, Korzár, Forbes, Kam do mesta, webnoviny.sk, Bigmedia, Home media, Codes, Košice City Guide, Film.sk, www.kinecko.com
Partners: Autocont, Pension Horse Inn, Teledom, Carpano, KPK Reklama, Podnikateľka Slovenska, Košice Region Tourism, Sli.do, Slovak Film Institute, Esterle&Esterle, Kinoservis, NeoDCP, EKKL, Mihyring – motoristický areál, ElevArt, Ministry of Transport of the Slovak Republic, Visit Košice, BigON, ECOHolding, GOSH