Warsaw closes with a raft of awards
by Jorn Rossing Jensen
- Imprisoned in Russia on charges of “terrorism”, Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov was in focus at the awards ceremony of the 30th Warsaw Film Festival
The filmmaker in focus at the awards ceremony of the 30th Warsaw International Film Festival on Saturday 18 October was not in attendance, and nor did he have a film in the programme. “We, the international jury of the Warsaw International Film Festival, along with our fellow filmmakers, call for the immediate release of Oleg Sentsov,” concluded Iranian director Sepideh Farsi in a videotaped message screened to the audience at Warsaw’s Kinoteka cinema.
The request to the Russian authorities was read out by the full jury – which also included Russian producer Yevgeny Gindilis, UK director-producer Uberto Pasolini, Ukrainian producer Olena Yershova and Polish director Janusz Zaorski – and it was emphasised by Ukrainian producer Olga Zhurzhenko, who was involved with Sentsov’s feature debut, Gaamer, and had come to Warsaw for the occasion.
A Ukrainian director living with his wife and two children in Simferopol, Crimea, Sentsov – known for his opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea – was arrested on 11 May by Russia’s Federal Security Service and transferred to an undisclosed prison in Russia. He was charged with “terrorism”, it was later announced, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.
A complaint has been filed with the European Court of Human Rights about his arrest and ill treatment – both the board of the European Film Academy and a group of European directors (including Pedro Almodóvar/Spain, Ken Loach/UK, Béla Tarr/Hungary and Wim Wenders/Germany) have expressed their concern and demanded an impartial investigation.
Meanwhile, Chinese director Xin Yukun’s feature debut, The Coffin in the Mountain, received this year’s Warsaw Grand Prix for “its challenging narration and subtle sense of black humour”. Launched at Venice, the comedy-drama about the influence of an accidental killing on three people’s lives was praised for its screenplay (Yukun) and original story (Lu Nifan).
Full list of Warsaw 2014 awards:
Warsaw Grand Prix: Chinese director Xin Yukun’s The Coffin in the Mountain
Best Director: Croatian director Ognjen Sviličić, for These Are the Rules [+see also:
Special Jury Award: The cast of Spanish director Paco León’s Carmina & Amen [+see also:
1-2 Competition (for first and second features)
Swedish director Drazen Kuljanin’s How to Stop a Wedding, and Bulgarian directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s The Lesson [+see also:
interview: Kristina Grozeva, Petar Val…
interview: Margita Gosheva
film profile] (ex aequo)
Free Spirit Competition
Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s The Owners
Best Documentary: Romanian director Alexander Nanau’s Toto and His Sisters [+see also:
Special Mention: Belarusian director Anastasiya Miroshnichenko’s Crossroads
Short Film Competition
Short Film Grand Prix: Swedish director Jane Magnusson’s Cupcake
Best Animated Short: New Zealand director Alyx Duncan’s The Tide Keeper
Best Live-action Short: US director Guan Tian’s Drama
Best Short Documentary: Chinese director Zuxin Hou’s My Dad’s a Rocker
Moldovan director Anatol Durbală’s What a Wonderful World
NETPAC Award (for Best Asian Film)
Iranian director Hooman Seyedi’s 13