Holiday wins the 18th New Horizons
by Vassilis Economou
- The debut feature by Swedish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf left Wrocław with the Grand Prix, while the audience voted for An Elephant Sitting Still by Chinese director Hu Bo
Swedish filmmaker Isabella Eklöf was the big winner at the 18th New Horizons Film Festival, which this year ran from 26 July-5 August in Wrocław. Eklöf’s debut feature, Holiday [+see also:
film profile], snagged the Grand Prix in the New Horizons International Competition at the closing ceremony held on 4 August. Earlier this year, the movie had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, taking part in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
The jury – headed up by German director-cinematographer Fred Kelemen, and including German filmmaker Valeska Grisebach (last year’s Grand Prix winner with Western [+see also:
interview: Jonas Dornbach
interview: Valeska Grisebach
interview: Valeska Grisebach
film profile]), Polish directors Anna Jadowska and Michał Marczak, and specialist in international film marketing and creative producer Claudia Landsberger – mentioned in their verdict: “In an unsentimental and unsettling way, Holiday reveals the mechanisms of conformism and dependence as seen through the eyes of a chameleonic main character manoeuvring through a world encompassed by greed. Firm, flawless and convincing direction.” It is worth noting that seven out of the 12 films in competition were directed by women.
This year, New Horizons set a record attendance level, and the Audience Award was bestowed upon An Elephant Sitting Still by Chinese director Hu Bo, who died last year. A letter by Béla Tarr, one of Bo's film teachers, was read out during the ceremony: “Hundreds of Chinese directors got in touch with me, but when I met him, I knew: he's the one! […] In his eyes, you could see his extraordinarily strong personality. […] Although we have lost him, his films will remain with us forever.”
Finally, for the first time, the Zuzanna Jagoda Kolska Prize was awarded to the youngest filmmaker at New Horizons, Zuzanna Grajcewicz, for her short film Cut-out. The award’s goal is to “encourage filmmakers to tell their stories using the language of their own sensitivity and to persevere down the uncertain road of artistic development”. The award is financed by actress Grażyna Błęcka-Kolska and film director Jan Jakub Kolski, in remembrance of their daughter Zuzanna, who lost her life in a car accident four years ago.
In New Horizons’ industry section, Polish Days, which is co-organised with the Polish Film Institute, Grzegorz Zariczny’s sophomore feature, which was screened in the works-in-progress section, won the Post-production Award from ColorOffOn Film. The main Aeroplan Studios Award (comprising a 50% discount on film recording) went to the project Patagonia by Agnieszka Zwiefka, which is in development, and I Never Cry by Piotr Domalewski received a Special Mention and a closed screening of the finished movie in the Di AERO Theater. The scholarship from EAVE was awarded to Agnieszka Dziedzic from Koi Studio.
Here is the complete list of winners at the 18th New Horizons Film Festival:
An Elephant Sitting Still - Hu Bo (China)
Zuzanna Jagoda Kolska Prize
Cut-out - Zuzanna Grajcewicz (Poland)
Post-production Award by ColorOffOn Film
Simple Things - Grzegorz Zariczny
Aeroplan Studios Award
Patagonia - Agnieszka Zwiefka
I Never Cry - Piotr Domalewski
Agnieszka Dziedzic (Koi Studio)
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