With the conclusion of the 29th Art Film Fest International Film Festival came the moment we have all been waiting for – the announcement of the winners in the international competitions and the awarding of five Blue Angel award, as well as the Actor’s Mission and Golden Camera awards.
In the past few days, the jury composed of Hungarian director Agnés Kocsis, Turkish producer Kaan Müjdeci, Czech director Beáta Parkanová, Polish director of photography Adam Sikora and Slovak director and producer Ivan Ostrochovský, closely followed the program selection of nine feature-length films from all over the world. The competition film section, compiled by the festival’s artistic director Martin Palúch, was dominated this year by films dealing with the issue of disturbed family relationships and abandonment. Five of them focus on teenage girls in the main role, and it was from among these films that the winner in the Best Film category emerged. It was the Belgian-French film Dalva directed by Emmanuelle Nicot. The jury themselves also commented on the awarding of the Blue Angel in the main category: “In an original and profound way, the director successfully shows us the ambiguity of the feelings of a girl whose mind is mixed with serious abuse and love at the same time.”
The main character of the Australian film Blaze, played by Julia Savage, witnessed a similarly violent act. The jury awarded her with the Blue Angel award for Best Actress for her performance in this stylistically varied film about coming to terms with a traumatic experience. In her speech, award winner Julia Blaze mentioned that this is her first ever international award.
The same prize in the male category went to Juraj Lerotić, for his main role in the Croatian film Safe Place, which he himself wrote and directed based on his own life experience. The jury appreciated his versatile approach and the fidelity he has achieved in the drama about a suicide attempt: “He created a true, authentic character who was confronted with a serious mental illness.”
In the Best Director category, the Blue Angel Award went to Costa Rican director Valentina Maurel for her film I Have Electric Dreams. “Capturing the small details of a complex father-daughter relationship, with powerful scenes and a unique atmosphere,” charmed this year’s jury and many viewers, despite being the debut of a young director.
“For its sensitive balancing of mystery and reality that questions the meaning of life,” the jury awarded a special prize to Domingo and the Mist, an exceptional mystery film about a man who refuses to give up his land and home even though he is under pressure from a criminal group.
In the International Short Film Competition, the jury of three awarded the Blue Angel to the Iranian film 48 Hours, in which the main character, the prisoner Nader, has only a limited amount of time to play the role of a father to his young daughter. “We were moved by this powerful story of a broken family. This film sheds light on the deep impact of the oppressive system and explores emotional confusion and desire through intimate observation,” noted the jury, which consisted of actress Elizaveta Maximová, film scholar Lea Pagáčová and artist Radu Sticlea.
Among the short films, the films Our Daily Bread by Slovak director Alicia Bednáriková and Fairplay by director Zoel Aeschbacher earned a special recognition.
JOJ Television, the main media partner of the festival, announced a competition for the best feature film. The audience of the festival was able to determine the result through an online vote in the Cinepass reservation system. The winner was announced at the closing ceremony by actor and anchorman Dušan Ambróš. The Audience Award went to the Irish film The Quiet Girl directed by Colm Bairéad.
During the closing ceremony, which is traditionally the culmination of the eight-day film festival, another honorary award, the Actor’s Mission Award for Lifetime Achievement, was presented to Czech film and theatre actress Eva Holubová. The award was presented to her by Slovak actress Kristína Svarinská. “This is another reason why I am in love Košice. Thank you for this award. I felt incredible human togetherness, faith, hope and love for life at this festival,” added the laureate Eva Holubová in her speech.
Hungarian director Béla Tarr, who spent several days at the festival and gave the visitors with several expert discussions and lectures, will bring home the honorary Golden Camera award for his lifetime contribution to film from Košice. The award was presented to him by his long-time cooperative, actor Mihály Kormos. “When you start making a film, you go on the set, and at that moment you can’t imagine that somebody will appreciate this work of yours. You just have the feeling that you want to share something, to give something away. I am honoured and I say thanks!” added award-winning Hungarian director Béla Tarr in his speech.
At the 29th IFF Art Film Fest, which takes place from 16 to 23 June 2023, the organizers have prepared a total of 146 film screenings of 82 feature-length and 37 short films from four continents. In addition, festival visitors had the opportunity to get to know the personalities of Slovak and world cinema, take part in a variety of professional masterclasses, autograph sessions and musical performances.
The organisers would like to thank the festival’s partner, the SPP Foundation, for its financial support, preservation of cultural values, support of art and young artists, and development of regional culture in the Košice Region. “The festival did not disappoint this year either. Among other things, it brought important themes that reflect what is happening in society. We, as its partner, are also interested in naming things, opening up topics and making sure that we people, also thanks to the art of film, are constantly working on ourselves and becoming better,” said Eva Guliková, the SPP Foundation administrator.
The festival finishes on Friday 23rd June, when thirteen more screenings are scheduled, including more than seven hours of award-winning director Béla Tarr’s Satan’s Tango (with two scheduled intermissions), as well as Countdown – the last film by Ivan Palúch made about his father and edited from excerpts of his films by the festival’s artistic director, Martin Palúch. He will also introduce the film in person. The final film will be Heroes of the Working Class, which will be shown to audiences at the U.S. Steel Košice Amphitheatre.
Organiser: ART FILM FEST s.r.o.;
Co-organizers: City of Košice, K13 – Košice cultural centers, ART FILM FEST, n.o., LGM, s.r.o.;
The festival was financially supported by: Audiovisual Fund and SPP Foundation;
The festival is co-financed by the Košice self-governing region from the Terra Incognita program;
Main advertising partners: CODES Brand House, FORLIVE, Lucka spring water;
Official vehicles: Auto Gábriel;
Official hotel: Hotel Yasmin;
Advertising partners: construction company Adefex, Jadrová a vyraďovacia spoločnosť, a.s., Oxyworld, U.S. Steel Košice, ANTIK Telecom, BARZZUZ, Cinema Úsmev, Aupark Košice, Fors-stav, R-media, Okno mé lásky;
Official contractors: NOV, ZEBRA, Best Press, SLOVNAFT, Central European Foundation, Spoločnosť pre skladovanie, a.s., DKC Veritas, Slávia Café, Tabačka Kulturfabrik, Ohnisko – Fire Dining & Brew Bar, Pub u Kohúta, El Nacional, Café de Paris, Maiko Sushi, DOMOS Slovakia, Pilsner Urquell, Macarons; Official wine: Kubbo Select and Ostrožovič;
Main media partners: TV JOJ, zregionu.sk, Pravda, Eurotelevision;
Media partners: Rozhlas a televízia Slovenska, Kinosála, JOJ 24, Film Europe, TV spolok LOToS, Rádio KOŠICE, Korzár, Slovenka, Forbes, SITA, TASR, BigMedia, HomeMedia Production, Film.sk, Košice City Guide, aktuality.sk, csfd.cz, Visit Košice, Košice v Skratke;
Partners: JOJ Cinema, Millor – your partner in the energy sector, Košice Airport, Autocont, TelekomCLOUD, ECO Technologies, DELTA OnLine, MIHYRING, KAIFER law firm, Taper, Brother, GROTTO, CELIMED authorized OMRON representation, NR-holding, CPK Slovakia, Casa Trade – Casablanca cafe, easylog transport&logistic, Flowers Victor, Slovak Film Institute, Faculty of Philosophy, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Informatics TUKE, Private Secondary Art School in Košice, Košice Transport Company, Tesco Stores SK, DEMI sport, CANON, SPI International, Arténa audiovisual workshop by RTVS, Creative Europe, KPK Reklama, HAIR FACTORY Košice
Festival restaurants and bars: JAZZ Club Café Restaurant, Hostinec Brewery, Papa Café, Camelot Restaurant, Veritas Café