Mediterranean Film Festival Split awards go to French productions
by Vladan Petkovic
- Leyla Bouzid's As I Open My Eyes and Emin Alper's Frenzy have won the main awards at the 9th Mediterranean Film Festival Split
The ninth Mediterranean Film Festival Split (FMFS), which took place from 3-11 June, saw two French co-productions win the main awards. As I Open My Eyes [+see also:
interview: Leyla Bouzid
film profile] by Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid won the Award for Best Film, while the Special Jury Prize went to Turkey's Emin Alper for Frenzy [+see also:
interview: Emin Alper
In the Croatian short-film competition, Daina O Pusić's The Beast was crowned Best Film. A Special Mention went to Ivan Ramljak's Islands of Forgotten Cinemas.
Last year, when the funding for the festival was significantly decreased, the gathering decided not to invite filmmakers nor assemble juries, and instead established the Audience Award. This year, the viewers voted for another French film in the main competition, Macadam Stories [+see also:
film profile] by Samuel Benchetrit. In the Croatian shorts section, Split-born and -based filmmaker Šimun Šitum's Thin Air was the audience favourite.
In fact, FMFS started and developed as a decidedly audience-orientated festival, with packed screenings at the beautiful open-air venue near the Bačvice beach, and increasing attendance at its other venue, the Golden Gate cinematheque. This year, it also revived another open-air theatre on the roof of the old, defunct Kino Tesla cinema in the city centre, where the organisers screened short films and entry was free.
"With the experience we gained last year, we learned that we have an audience that supports our festival, and we have actually proven that a successful festival can be organised even without side events and a huge number of guests," says the gathering's director, Alen Munitić. "We made a step forward this year, and we tried to be as creative as possible and invest cleverly. Last year, we sold around 6,500 admissions, and this year the number jumped to 7,500."
Following the festival, the crew will now be on the road for the next 200 days, showing films on Croatian islands, where they have revived and reopened old cinemas and created a whole new audience. More about this will follow soon in Cineuropa's report on how FMFS became a distribution and exhibition outfit that gave a literal meaning to the terms "audience building" and "film literacy" in Croatia.
Here is the complete list of award winners: