The Bucharest International Film Festival announces the winners of its 19th edition
- Celine Song's Past Lives has scooped the gathering’s top prize only a few days after its theatrical release in Romania
The 19th edition of the Bucharest International Film Festival (BIFF, 15-22 September) has concluded with a gala that took place in the cinema in the Peasant Museum (one of the very few arthouse cinema venues left in Bucharest, now boasting a new projector and a new screen installed just weeks ago). During the event, Celine Song’s Past Lives (USA/South Korea) was crowned with the Grand Prix.
The Best Director Award went to Pham Thien An for Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell [+see also:
film profile] (Vietnam/France/Singapore/Spain), while Nick Pinkerton scooped the Award for Best Screenplay for Sean Price Williams’ The Sweet East (USA). Finally, the Jury's Special Mention went to Lila Avilés' Tótem [+see also:
interview: Lila Avilés
film profile] (Mexico/Denmark/France). Avilés's film will be released in Romania next February by the newest player in the local distribution market, August Film.
The jury of the 19th edition of the BIFF was presided over by Swedish film critic and former director of the Göteborg Film Festival Gunnar Bergdahl, and also comprised Romanian film directors Iulia Rugină and Catrinel Dănăiaţă, Elle Driver festivals manager Shaïma Issaa and Serbian film critic Dejan Petrović.
Besides its official competition, the gathering boasted a variety of sidebars – for example, Panorama, Romanian Authors, History and Cinema, and Youth Voice. The Romanian Authors sidebar played host to the first Bucharest screenings of Iulia Rugină’s Playback [+see also:
film profile] (soon to be competing in the Romanian Competition at the next Astra Film Festival), a documentary showing how Romanians had fun under the restrictive communist regime, and Liviu Mărghidan’s Refuge, a rare Romanian children’s film which will be released domestically in late November (see the news). Alexandru Solomon’s Arsenie. An Amazing Afterlife [+see also:
interview: Alexandru Solomon
film profile], which was met with an aggressive reaction from some local Christians after its release in early September, leading to the cancellation of some of its screenings by the local authorities for fear of protests, was also shown (without incident) in the Romanian Authors sidebar (listen to our podcast episode about the film).
The Bucharest International Film Festival is organised by the Charta Foundation and the Grigore Vasiliu Birlic Cultural Association, under the high patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Radu of Romania. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture and is organised in partnership with Bucharest City Hall through ARCUB - the Cultural Center of Bucharest.
Here is the full list of award winners:
Past Lives - Celine Song (USA/South Korea)
Nick Pinkerton - The Sweet East (USA)
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