The Golden Apricot Festival wraps its 18th edition with wins for Pebbles, Downstream to Kinshasa and Taming the Garden
- The major Armenian film gathering, which took place from 3-10 October instead of its usual July dates, saw Paul Schrader receive the prestigious Parajanov Thaler
The 18th Golden Apricot International Film Festival, which this year, owing to post-pandemic complications, took place from 3-10 October instead of its usual July dates, drew to a close with a concise and elegant awards ceremony at the “Ararat” Museum of the Yerevan Brandy Company. Hungarian helmer Kornél Mundruczó was this year's jury chair, deciding on the awards together with the other members: French producer François D’Artemare (of production company Filmes do Tejo), director of the Krakow International Film Festival Krzysztof Gierat, Russian film critic Larisa Malyukova and Armenian composer Robert Amirkhanyan.
After weighing up the ten contenders in the International Competition, the jury singled out the Indian emotional drama Pebbles, written and directed by Vinothraj PS, handing it the Golden Apricot trophy. The Silver Apricot was awarded to Dieudo Hamadi’s documentary Downstream to Kinshasa [+see also:
film profile] (Congo/France/Belgium), while a Special Mention went to A New Old Play [+see also:
film profile] by Qiu Jiongjiong (Hong Kong/France).
The FIPRESCI Award – which, starting from this edition, is named after Dutch film critic Peter van Bueren, who passed away in 2020 – was bestowed upon the poetic and political documentary Taming the Garden [+see also:
interview: Salomé Jashi
film profile] by Salomé Jashi (Switzerland/Germany/Georgia). The jury focusing on the Regional Panorama, consisting of film critics Alexander Melyan (Armenia), Dominic Schmid (Switzerland) and Mike Naafs (Netherlands), described the film as “a surreal journey through a seemingly familiar landscape, where the unexplained and inexplicable mechanisms of capitalism, vanity and a misguided sense of natural perfection rob a whole countryside of its trees, which are then transported via different schemes form their original space towards a mysterious destination. The film leaves its viewers almost as bewildered, and perhaps also as amused, as the stoic workmen charged with the task of uprooting and transporting these majestic trees.”
The Apricot Stone Regional Short Film Competition jury consisted of Ukrainian actress-producer Romanna Lobach, French-Armenian visual artist and creator of this year's festival posters Vahram Muratyan, and festival manager Philippe Jalladeau, from France. They gave the Golden Apricot to World by Christine Haroutounian (USA/Armenia) “for its creativity in the cinematographic narration, framing and editing, which suggests a subtle relation between the characters”. The Silver Apricot in the same competition was taken home by Storgetnya by Hovig Hagopian (France/Armenia) because of “its refined directing inside a real décor that gives a deep dimension to real characters”, while the Special Award, named after Genadzi Melqonyan, went to Handstand by Ovsanna Shekoyan (Armenia), “for its promising point of view and mysterious atmosphere”.
The festival gave honorary awards to three special guests: Paul Schrader received the Parajanov Thaler for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema, while jury president Kornél Mundruczó and Israeli director-screenwriter Nadav Lapid, whose latest film, Ahed’s Knee [+see also:
interview: Nadav Lapid
film profile], opened and closed the festival, received the Special Prize Master Awards.
The GAIFF Pro Award of 1 million AMD (approximately €1,800) for a work in progress was given to Shoghakat Vardanyan’s documentary project 14 89 by the industry jury, including film critic Pierre Simon Gutman, film director Andreas Struck and aforementioned producer François D'Artemare. However, Vardanyan refused to accept the award on personal and political grounds. The film focuses on the disappearance of the director’s brother, who was a soldier during the latest escalation of the unresolved conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region in 2020; therefore, she preferred not to receive governmental support.
Here is the full list of award winners at the 18th Golden Apricot International Film Festival:
Golden Apricot for Feature Film
Pebbles - Vinothraj PS (India)
Silver Apricot for Feature Film
Downstream to Kinshasa [+see also:
film profile] – Dieudo Hamadi (Congo/France/Belgium)
A New Old Play [+see also:
film profile] – Qiu Jiongjiong (Hong Kong/France)
Taming the Garden [+see also:
interview: Salomé Jashi
film profile] - Salomé Jashi (Switzerland/Germany/Georgia)
Golden Apricot for Regional Short Film
World – Christine Haroutounian (USA/Armenia)
Silver Apricot for Regional Short Film
Storgetnya – Hovig Hagopian (France/Armenia)
Genadzi Melqonyan Special Prize for Regional Short Film
Handstand – Ovsanna Shekoyan (Armenia)
Special Prize Master Awards
Parajanov Thaler for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema
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