Letter to a Pig wins at the 16th Kustendorf Film and Music Festival
- The short film directed by Tal Kantor has received the Golden Egg at the annual gathering in the scenic Serbian village
The 16th edition of the Kustendorf Film and Music Festival has wrapped after running for five consecutive days (25-29 January) in the scenic location of Drvengrad, Serbia, which was specifically built to be used as the set for Emir Kusturica’s Life Is a Miracle. Once again this year, the event gathered young filmmakers from all over the world, who had a chance to showcase their works and interact with the guests at the festival.
The international jury, comprising Italian director Susanna Nicchiarelli, Serbian actor Slavko Štimac and Israeli producer, director and screenwriter David Noy, decided on the award winners this year. The main award, the Golden Egg, was bestowed upon Letter to a Pig by Israeli filmmaker Tal Kantor, which, “with inventive visual imagery and clever storytelling, […] leads the viewer through the consciousness of a young schoolgirl – as a means of processing and deconstructing the trauma of the unimaginable. It leaves the audience with a deeper sense of human compassion.”
The Silver Egg was given to Snow in September, written and directed by Mongolia’s Dulmaa Purev-Ochir, who, according to the jury, “utilising a masterful array of skills, […] confidently presents a gentle story of the turmoil facing a teenage relationship, capturing those elusive moments of emotion that resonate strongly long after the film ends”. Meanwhile, the Bronze Egg was won by Hungarian writer-director Anna Gyimesi and her film Affricate: “With bold choices both in screenwriting and in mise-en-scène, the film cleverly centres on an over-protective mother, wonderfully performed by the lead actress. The surprising twists in the plot lead to a sense of freedom that is often lacking in the constraints of life.”
The jury also wished to give a Special Mention to Serbian director Aleksandra Lazarovski for her film Of More than Living, as she “guides a well-cast ensemble of actors to tenderly depict the subtle intricacies of personal conflict that the characters face”. Furthermore, Emir Kusturica himself announced the winner of the Most Poetic Film, which was Timur Murodov’s Cassette, and the Audience Award went to Breeze by Hamidreza Ghasemi.
Finally, the Vinko Filač Award for Best Cinematography was decided on by director of photography Vladan Radović and camera professor, visual-effects expert and visual artist Ivan Šijak, and it was given to Evan Maragkoudakis for his work in On Xerxes' Throne. It was deemed to be “a film which mostly communicates with the audience through the film photography and extraordinary use of the camera”.
Here is the complete list of award winners at the 16th edition of Kustendorf:
Letter to a Pig - Tal Kantor (Israel/France)
Snow in September - Dulmaa Purev-Ochir (Mongolia/France)
Affricate - Anna Gyimesi (Hungary)
More Than Living - Aleksandra Lazarovski (France)
Breeze - Hamidreza Ghasemi (Iran)
Evan Maragkoudakis - On Xerxes' Throne (Greece)
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