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GENEVA 2022 Awards

Saint Omer wins the Reflet d’Or for Best Feature Film at the GIFF

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- Having wrapped its 28th edition, the Swiss festival is reaffirming its avant-garde position and desire to blend formats

Saint Omer wins the Reflet d’Or for Best Feature Film at the GIFF
Actress Kayije Kagame with the Reflet d’Or for Best Feature Film won by Alice Diop’s Saint Omer, during the festival’s closing ceremony (© Kenza Wadimoff)

Having closed with a screening of The Whale by Darren Aronofsky, the GIFF (Geneva International Film Festival) offered its public a rich overview of contemporary audiovisual creation over its ten-day running. Climbing atop the highest podium of this 28th edition is Alice Diop’s Saint Omer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alice Diop
film profile
]
, which won the Best International Feature Film (Reflet d’Or) Award. According to the jury president, Iranian director Mani Haghighi, who was sadly unable to travel to Geneva following the unjustified removal of his passport by the Iranian authorities, Diop’s work "manages to explore a multitude of explosive themes beneath a calm and mesmerising surface". He further added that "the film’s directorial approach is a masterly lesson on precision, and each acting performance deserves its own award. Watching it, I was reminded on numerous occasions of the genius of The Passion of Joan of Arc by Carl Theodor Dreyer".

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Over the course of the closing ceremony, the various juries rewarded five powerful works venturing off the beaten track: the afore-mentioned Saint Omer; Le temps des framboises (Reflet d’Or for Best Series), a Canadian series created by Florence Longpré, Philippe Falardeau and Suzie Bouchard, which is an ode both sweet and powerful to the fragility of existence; Eurydice, A Descent into Infinity, created by Céline Daemen (the Netherlands - Reflet d’Or for Best Immersive Work), which invites viewers to follow Eurydice in her endless descent into Hell and offers audiences a poetic space of breath-taking mystical beauty; Les aveugles, an immersive play adapted from Maurice Maeterlinck’s text and created by Julien Dubuc and the INVIO Collective (France) (Future Is Sensible Award); and Lost Luggage, created and written by Belgium’s Tiny Bertels (European Script Award).

This year’s guests of honour, who delivered fascinating masterclasses to the public, included Denmark’s Nicolas Winding Refn (Geneva Award), who also presented a Swiss premiere of his Netflix series Copenhagen Cowboy [+see also:
series review
trailer
interview: Nicolas Winding Refn
series profile
]
; France’s Alexander Astier, who revolutionised the world of French series by way of the mega-cult work Kaamelott (Film&Beyond Award); and the Swiss collective who create ethical and militant pornographic films OIL Productions (Tales of Swiss Innovation).

For this 28th edition of the event, the GIFF decided to reduce the number of works on the agenda, without forasmuch renouncing its position as an avant-garde and multi-format festival prioritising direct contact with its public. In this respect, Managing and Artistic Director Anaïs Emery maintains that "the GIFF’s converging programme offers up a unique approach to audiovisual cultures. The festival and its market are participating in a more all-encompassing redefinition of the 7th art". She also highlights the link between the Genevan festival and the Swiss creative industry, for whom the GIFF offers "a concrete experience of the artistic and industrial stakes and opportunities brought about by the evolution of image technology".

Amongst the various other discoveries unearthed in this year’s festival - which drew in crowds of enthusiasts - was the ambitious immersive work Evolver by the London-based studio Marshmallow Laser Feast, which was presented in a European premiere having world premiered at the Tribeca Festival.

The list of winners is as follows:

Reflet d’Or for Best Feature Film
Saint Omer [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Alice Diop
film profile
]
– Alice Diop (France)

Reflet d’Or for Best Series
Le temps des framboises – Florence Longpré, Philippe Falardeau and Suzie Bouchard (Canada)

Reflet d’Or for Best Immersive Work
Eurydice, A Descent into Infinity – Céline Daemen (the Netherlands)

Future Is Sensible Award
Les aveugles – Julien Dubuc and the INVIO Collective (France)

European Script Award
Lost Luggage – Tiny Bertels (Belgium)

Geneva Award
Nicolas Winding Refn

Film&Beyond Award
Alexandre Astier

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(Translated from French)

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