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FESTIVALS / AWARDS UK

Laila Pakalniņa’s Dawn triumphs at the second Calvert Journal Film Festival

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- Other victors included Eric Bednarski’s Warsaw: A City Divided, winner of the Prize for Best Documentary Feature, and Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen’s My Favorite War, crowned Best Animation Film

Laila Pakalniņa’s Dawn triumphs at the second Calvert Journal Film Festival
Dawn by Laila Pakalniņa

Yesterday, the Calvert Journal Film Festival announced the award winners of its second edition. The virtual festival, organised by the prestigious, London-based publication, unspooled over the course of two weeks (18-31 October) and screened 35 titles, with films from across six competition categories battling it out to be named Best Film in their individual section. A special Audience Choice Award was also given to one film from across all categories, including the out-of-competition special screenings section.

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The winning pictures were selected by an independent jury of renowned industry figures: Ukrainian producer Natalia Libet, Czech anthropologist and documentarian Pavel Borecký, New Zealand-born, Berlin-based film critic and curator Carmen Gray, Bosnian actor and educator Selma Alispahić, Kosovar filmmaker Norika Sefa, Lithuanian director Romas Zabarauskas, Latvian programmer Zane Balčus, Scottish film critic and journalist Amber Wilkinson, and Kazakh filmmaker Adilkhan Yerzhanov.

The Award for Best Fiction Feature was bestowed upon Laila Pakalniņa’s Dawn [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. The jury’s supporting statement praised how the veteran Latvian director “handles with subtlety and depth her ambiguity and wilfully elusive intentions”, and described it as “a very complex film, where one feels one is going through a range of emotions” as well as “a blend of culture, history, and political and social commentary, all wrapped up in a visually exquisite world that is as appealing as it is informative”. The Latvian-Estonian-Polish co-production centres on an idealistic young man living in a commune in Soviet Latvia, who rebels against his violent father. In doing so, he sets a series of events in motion that nobody could have predicted.

Next, the Prize for Best Documentary Feature went to Eric Bednarski’s Warsaw: A City Divided. In particular, the jurors appreciated how the picture “contextualises rare, archival found footage of the Warsaw Ghetto with personal testimony from survivors, and reflections on its modern-day legacy, to shed light on its place within the Holocaust, as well as Polish history”.

Meanwhile, Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen’s My Favorite War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen
film profile
]
was crowned Best Animation Film. According to the jury, the Latvian director managed “to bring the past to life and emphasise the emotional themes of the director’s personal history”, making “the subject of propaganda accessible for younger as well as older audiences”.

Here is the full list of this year’s award winners:

Best Fiction Feature
Dawn [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Laila Pakalniņa (Latvia/Estonia/Poland)

Best Documentary Feature
Warsaw: A City Divided – Eric Bednarski (Poland)

Best Animation Film
My Favorite War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen
film profile
]
– Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen (Latvia/Norway)

Best Short Film
History of Civilization – Zhannat Alshanova (Kazakhstan)

Best Experimental Film
Microcassette – The Smallest Cassette I’ve Ever Seen – Igor Bezinovic and Ivana Pipal (Croatia)

Best Student Film
The Vibrant Village – Weronika Jurkiewicz (Hungary)

Audience Choice Award
Rhythms of Lost Time – Anisa Sabiri (Tajikistan)

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