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FINÁLE PLZEŇ 2020 Awards

Let There Be Light shines at Finále Plzeň

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- The 33rd edition of the Pilsen-based festival has wrapped, awarding the best domestically produced oeuvres in the process

Let There Be Light shines at Finále Plzeň
Czech co-producer Petr Oukropec, of Negativ, clutching the Golden Kingfisher for Best Feature or Animated Film for Let There Be Light (© Finále Plzeň)

This year’s previously postponed edition of the Czech annual showcase of domestic cinema and audiovisual works, Finále Plzeň (see the news), managed to wrap successfully before the country entered a state of emergency owing to a new spike in coronavirus cases. After the festival provided an in-depth overview of domestic production from the past 2019-2020 season and offered a sneak peek at upcoming theatrical releases with a slew of premieres, the annual film gathering wrapped with its awards ceremony.

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The country’s nominee for the Oscars, Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Václav Marhoul
film profile
]
, Ondřej Provazník and Martin Dušek’s senior-starring revenge road movie Old-Timers [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Martin Dušek, Ondřej Provaz…
film profile
]
and Michal Hogenauer’s English-language feature debut, the social thriller A Certain Kind of Silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michal Hogenauer
film profile
]
, all locked horns for the Golden Kingfisher Award, but Marko Škop’s family drama Let There Be Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marko Škop
interview: Milan Ondrík
film profile
]
eventually came out on top. "We decided unanimously. The film fascinated us with its great sense of humanity and with the way it tackles the undertone of nationalism. In our opinion, this is an important and relevant topic that we should be examining today," noted the jury.

In the documentary category, where Viera Čakányová’s FREM [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Viera Čakányová
film profile
]
was up against Martin Mareček’s Over the Hills [+see also:
trailer
interview: Martin Mareček
film profile
]
and Greta Stoclassa’s Kiruna – A Brand New World [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Solo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Artemio Benki
film profile
]
by producer and filmmaker Artemio Benki, who passed away earlier this year, won the Best Documentary Award. The jury complimented the film as "a beautifully intimate and delicately depicted portrait of a talented pianist who is trying to come to terms with reality and handle the journey from a psychiatric hospital back to his life. This documentary transcends typical cinematic approaches in regard to mental health issues."

The best television or internet project in the serials category was deemed to be the internet thriller #martyisdead, inspired by real cases of cyberbullying and made for an e-commerce company’s online television platform. "It tells its true, cautionary story in a creative and extremely compelling way, and in a format that perfectly matches the nature of the subject. It raises awareness of cyberbullying and shows how chillingly easy it is for teenagers to become a victim or a perpetrator," said the jury about the series, which has already won for Best Web Series in Central and Eastern Europe at the 2019 Serial Killer international festival of TV and web series, and recently became the first Czech series to be nominated for an International Emmy Award. The producers have already announced a follow-up series, #annaismissing, which will focus on the topic of child abduction with the intention of shooting and selling illegal videos.

Czech Television’s psychological drama Without a Trace from the television series How Not to Screw Your Life, directed by Vít Karas, won the Best Film and Miniseries Award in the television and internet project category. The student short-film competition saw strong contenders in the critically acclaimed and award-winning stop-motion flick The Daughter by Daria Kashcheeva, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf’s animated work SH_T HAPPENS. However, Karolína Peroutková's The Call of the Wild ultimately took home the accolade.

Here is the list of all award winners at the festival:

Golden Kingfisher for Best Feature or Animated Film
Let There Be Light [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marko Škop
interview: Milan Ondrík
film profile
]
– Marko Škop (Slovakia/Czech Republic)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Documentary
Solo [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Artemio Benki
film profile
]
– Artemio Benki (Czech Republic/France/Austria)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Television or Internet Project in the Serial Production” Category
#martyisdead: S1: E8 #truestory – Pavel Soukup (Czech Republic)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Television or Internet Project in the Film and Miniseries” Category
Without a Trace – Vít Karas (Czech Republic)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Student Short Film
The Call of the Wild – Karolína Peroutková (Czech Republic)

Student juries from the University of West Bohemia

Golden Kingfisher for Best Feature or Animated Film
Owners [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
– Jiří Havelka (Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Documentary
Kiruna – A Brand New World [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Greta Stoclassa (Czech Republic)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Television or Internet Project in the “Serial Production” Category
The Sleepers, Episode 4 – Ivan Zachariáš (Czech Republic)

Golden Kingfisher for Best Television or Internet Project in the “Film and Miniseries” Category
The Cage – Jiří Strach (Czech Republic)

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