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CANNES 2019 Critics’ Week / Awards

The Woodcutter Story wins the Next Step Award at Cannes

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- CANNES 2019: The project by Finland’s Mikko Myllylahti has taken home the first-ever Next Step Award handed out by the Critics’ Week

The Woodcutter Story wins the Next Step Award at Cannes
In the foreground: Mikko Myllylahti (left) and his producer Emilia Haukka (of Aamu Film Company); in the background: two of the three members of the jury (Rosa Attab and Mathilde Henrot) (© Pierre Caudevelle/SDLC)

Since 2014, the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week has taken its talents by the hand and led them from short film to feature via its Next Step programme. However, the workshop offered to the winners every year (see the news on the class of 2018) has now been enhanced by the addition of a competition intended to single out just one of them. And the Finnish project The Woodcutter Story by Mikko Myllylahti, produced by Aamu Film Company, has come out on top, winning the first-ever Next Step Award.

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Myllylahti has directed several short films, including Tiikeri (2018 Critics’ Week), which blends the bizarre with a certain dramatic weightiness. He also wrote the screenplay for The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Juho Kuosmanen
film profile
]
 by Juho Kuosmanen (which won the Un Certain Regard Prize in 2016). His debut feature-length project as a director, The Woodcutter Story, which is also involved in Cannes this year as part of the Cinéfondation Atelier selection (see the article), is a metaphorical fable in the guise of a black comedy, questioning the power of hope as a defence against obscurantism. It is a plea for a return to humanism, simplicity and nature.

In the course of five editions, 46 directors from 23 different countries have benefited from the support of the Next Step workshop. Three films are currently in post-production: Mes jours de gloire by France’s Antoine de Bary (see the news), 7500 by Germany’s Patrick Vollrath (see the news) and Bombay Rose by Indian animated film director Gitanjali Rao. In addition, two features are being showcased on the Croisette this year: The Bare Necessity [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Erwan Le Duc
film profile
]
 by France’s Erwan Leduc in the Directors’ Fortnight and Land of Ashes [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 by Costa Rican helmer Sofia Quiros Ubeda, which is in competition in the Critics’ Week.

(Translated from French)

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