A celebration of films for children and youth at the Zlín Film Festival
by Martin Kudláč
- European newcomers Tallulah H Schwab, Sylvie Ohayon and Sanna Lenken are among the awarded filmmakers
The Zlín Film Festival, also known as the International Film Festival for Children and Youth, has successfully wrapped its 55th edition by crowning its winners. The French film Birds of Passage [+see also:
film profile], directed by Yves and Olivier Ringer, received the main prize for a feature film for children, the Golden Slipper Award, and the European Children’s Film Association Award. Indika Ferdinando, a writer and theatre director from Sri Lanka, presented his feature debut, The Singing Pond, at Zlín, a film about students trying to learn how to dream big; it received the City of Zlín Award, a special recognition. In the International Competition of Feature Films for Youth, the top honour and the Ecumenical Jury Prize went to Cuban filmmaker Ernesto Daranas for his exploration of a taboo subject (the friendship between an 11-year-old boy and his sixty-something teacher) in his latest feature, Behaviour. The first feature by Canadian director Yosef Baraki, Mina Walking, which also screened in the Generation sidebar of this year’s Berlinale, had a lucky run in the Czech Republic. The film tackling the theme of growing up in post-war Afghanistan picked up the Miloš Macourek Award and the Honorary Award of the Ecumenical Jury.
The Elephant and the Bicycle excelled in the International Competition of Animated Films for Children, enabling its director, Olesya Shchukina, to pocket the main prize for Best Animated Film, while young German animator Jacob Frey received the Hermína Týrlová Award (for filmmakers under 35) for his award-winning short, The Present. In the competition focused on European debuts, Dutch-Norwegian director Tallulah H Schwab received the Europe Award for Confetti Harvest [+see also:
film profile], and the Special Jury Prize ended up in the hands of French writer Sylvie Ohayon for her first outing as a director, an adaptation of her own autobiographical novel, Papa Was Not a Rolling Stone [+see also:
Given that the festival’s main target audience is children and young viewers, they also got a chance to voice their opinions via the Children’s Jury Award. The main prize for a feature film for children was bestowed upon Australian filmmaker Robert Connolly for Paper Planes, a story about how the preparation for the World Paper Plane Championships in Tokyo reconciled a son and his estranged father. Furthermore, Swedish director Sanna Lenken took home the main prize for a feature film for youth, granted by the children’s jury, for her first feature, My Skinny Sister [+see also:
interview: Sanna Lenken
film profile]. Director Gren Wells and animator Natalya Berezovaya snagged the Golden Apples, the audience awards, for The Road Within (the most successful feature) and Piglet. Babysitter (the most successful animated film). Lastly, Czech painter, illustrator and animator Adolf Born received an award for his creative contribution to filmmaking for children and youth audiences, and German actor Jürgen Prochnow was celebrated through a Lifetime Achievement Award.