Sofia Exarchou’s Animal snags the Spirit of the Festival Award at the Cork International Film Festival
- It’s proven to be a very successful 68th edition for the Irish gathering, which welcomed over 16,000 viewers this year
It’s a wrap for the 68th edition of the Cork International Film Festival (9-26 November), the Emerald Isle’s oldest cinematic gathering. As is customary, this year’s award winners were announced at the Triskel on Sunday 26 November, ahead of the screening of the closing film, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers.
The Spirit of the Festival Award went to Sofia Exarchou’s Animal [+see also:
interview: Sofia Exarchou
film profile] (Greece/Austria/Romania/Cyprus/Bulgaria), which was world-premiered at Locarno earlier this year. In her sophomore feature, brimming with glitter and karaoke nights full of false notes, the helmer puts the Greek tourism machine in the spotlight with cruel honesty and imagination. The jury’s supporting statement reads as follows: “It was a robust discussion to find our winner, but ultimately, we were unanimous in awarding this prize to a film that moved all of the jury members with its precise depiction of the melancholy that grips the characters, each one more moving than the last. Sofia Exarchou’s impeccable direction plunges us into the heart of the daily lives of a group of seasonal performers working in a Greek seaside resort hotel, caught up in their excesses, drunkenness and sadness.”
Meanwhile, the Youth Jury Award went to “one of the gems from this year’s ACID at Cannes”, Ryutaro Ninomiya’s fourth effort, Dreaming in Between (Japan). The film stars Ken Mitsuishi as the lead actor and revolves around a life-changing situation that causes a high-school vice-principal to take stock of his life, and reassess the relationships he has with his family, friends and students.
“In the end, our winner might seem like an unconventional choice for the Youth Jury Award, seeing as it focuses on an older protagonist. However, we felt that the internal struggle of the character is something that anybody of any age can relate to. Whether you’re 25 or 55, everyone can understand the isolation that this film captures. The power of this movie is in its ability to make you reflect on your decisions, your regrets, and whether it’s too late to create the life you want,” went the Youth Jury statement.
Finally, the Award for Cinematic Documentary went to Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse and Quentin l’Helgoualc’h’s Knit’s Island [+see also:
film profile] (France). In it, a French documentary filmmaking team infiltrates the sprawling, entirely self-contained VR world of the titular video game in an attempt to understand its peculiar attractions. This is an online space populated by overtly religious cowboys, paranoid survivalists, anarchically brutal death squads and hippy farmers. In particular, the jury praised its “unique and innovative approach to storytelling”, which marks “a commendable and genre-pushing achievement in the documentary genre, showcasing the cinematic potential of the virtual realm”.
This year, the Rebel City-based festival welcomed over 16,000 people, thus marking a 40% increase on last year’s figures. A total of 230 films were screened in 14 different venues across Cork City and the county over the course of 18 days.
Here is the full list of this year’s award winners:
Spirit of the Festival Award
Animal [+see also:
interview: Sofia Exarchou
film profile] - Sofia Exarchou (Greece/Austria/Romania/Cyprus/Bulgaria)
The Girls Are Alright [+see also:
interview: Itsaso Arana
film profile] - Itsaso Arana (Spain)
Youth Jury Award
Dreaming in Between - Ninomiya Ryûtarô (Japan)
The Sweet East - Sean Price Williams (USA)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.