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FESTIVALS Austria

Ivan crowned Best Feature Film at LET’S CEE

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- It’s a wrap for the sixth edition of the LET’S CEE Film Festival, with 11 awards handed out in the gathering’s main cinema venue, the Urania

Ivan crowned Best Feature Film at LET’S CEE
Eliane Umuhire with her Award for Best Performance for her role in Birds Are Singing in Kigali (© Daniel Auer/LET’S CEE)

The sixth edition of the LET'S CEE Film Festival has come to a close, and a total of 11 prizes were given out at the awards ceremony. The jury tasked with picking the best feature film, comprising Austrian actress Edita Malovčić, the chairman of the Foreign-language Film Committee of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Serge Rahklin, and producer Sandra Schuppach, awarded Ivan [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janez Burger
interview: Maruša Majer
film profile
]
 by Slovenian director Janez Burger, calling it “brave, profound, painful and beautiful”. The award comes with €5,000 and €50,000 in services provided by Boyana Film Studios.

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When the War Comes [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Czech director Jan Gebert, about adolescents who spend their free time in paramilitary camps belonging to the “Slovak Recruits” association, which sees its goal as “preserving national values”, was the recipient of the Best Documentary Award, worth €1,500. In an emotional and political statement, the jury, consisting of Austrian author and journalist Antje Mayer-Salvi, filmmaker and curator of the Jewish Film Festival in Vienna Doris Kittler and documentary filmmaker from Uzbekistan Askold Kurov, addressed the parallels between the current political situation in certain European countries and the events depicted in the film: “These days, right-wing and radical right-wing parties are winning elections all over Europe. This was also recently the case for Austria. Their leaders are not bald-headed Nazis, but young, good-looking, charismatic, smart, slick ‘achievers’. They have a broad knowledge of the media and know exactly how to present themselves – always apposite to what is required at that time – just like our protagonist, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

Best Film in the Promising Debuts category was Secret Ingredient [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blagoj Veselinov
interview: Gjorce Stavreski
film profile
]
 by Macedonian director Gjorce Stavreski, which is thus continuing its successful run at international festivals after its premiere at Tallinn Black Nights back in November 2017. “Together with his cast and crew, the director presents a believable character who finds a special cinematic recipe to repair a broken relationship from the past and finds a new path for himself,” stated the jury, made up of co-chairwoman of the Austrian Directors’ Association Jenny Gand, Croatian author and actor Janko Popović Volarić and Austrian film critic Marian Willhelm. Another Macedonian movie that took home an award was Goran Stolevski’s short Would You Look at Her, and the newly established Cineplexx Distribution Award, worth €20,000 in services, went to the Serbian-US production Ederlezi Rising [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the feature debut by Lazar Bodroža

The audience chose two films as their clear favourites: the Austrian short The Story of a Polar Bear That Wanted to Go to Africa by Mo Harawe and the Georgian feature Dede [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Mariam Khatchvani. They each received a €1,000 cash prize. The “Star of Urania” Lifetime Achievement Award went to Kira Muratova and Márta Mészáros.

Here is the complete list of winners:

Feature Film Competition

Danny Lerner Award
Ivan [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Janez Burger
interview: Maruša Majer
film profile
]
 - Janez Burger (Slovenia/Croatia)
Special Mention
Men Don’t Cry [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alen Drljević
film profile
]
 – Alen Drljević (Bosnia/Slovenia/Croatia/Germany)
Directions [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stephan Komandarev
film profile
]
 – Stephan Komandarev (Bulgaria/Macedonia/Germany)

Best Documentary
When the War Comes [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Jan Gebert (Czech Republic/Croatia)
Special Mention
Over the Limit [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
 – Marta Prus (Poland/Germany/Finland)

Promising Debuts

UNIQA Promising Debut Award
Secret Ingredient [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Blagoj Veselinov
interview: Gjorce Stavreski
film profile
]
 - Gjorce Stavreski (Macedonia)
Special Mention
Tower. A Bright Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jagoda Szelc
film profile
]
 – Jagoda Szelc (Poland) 
Filthy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Tereza Nvotová
film profile
]
 – Tereza Nvotova (Czech Republic/Slovakia) 
Meda or the Not So Bright Side of Things [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Emanuel Pârvu
film profile
]
 – Emanuel Parvu (Romania)

Short Film Competition

VdFS Kurzfilmpreis
Would You Look at Her – Goran Stolevski (Macedonia)
Special Mention
The Best Fireworks Ever – Aleksandra Terpinska (Poland)
Hide and Seek – Benő Gábor Baranyi (Hungary)

Cineplexx Distribution Award
Ederlezi Rising [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Lazar Bodroža (Serbia/USA)
Special Mention
Directions – Stephan Komandarev
Secret Ingredient – Gjorce Stavreski

Audience Award – Best Feature Film in Competition
Dede [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 – Mariam Khatchvani (Georgia/Qatar)

Audience Award – Best Submitted Short Film
The Story of the Polar Bear That Wanted to Go to Africa – Mo Harawe (Austria) 

Best Performance
Eliane Umuhire – Birds Are Singing in Kigali [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Joanna Kos-Krauze
film profile
]
 (Poland)

Best Short Made During the LET’S CEE Talent Academy
Dangerously Good… - Rea Lest (Estonia), Nastja Kotnik Minik (Slovenia), Anton Skrypets (Ukraine), Naima Noelle Schmidt (Austria)

“Star of Urania” Lifetime Achievement Award
Kira Muratova
Márta Mészáros

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