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ZURICH 2021 Awards

The Zurich Film Festival honours three courageous portraits of women

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- A Chiara by Jonas Carpignano, Life of Ivanna by Renato Borrayo Serrano and The Fam by Fred Baillif each nab a Golden Eye

The Zurich Film Festival honours three courageous portraits of women
The winners of the 2021 Zurich Film Festival after the awards ceremony (© Tim Hughes/ZFF)

In addition to being European, the three films which triumphed in the Zurich Film Festival’s Fiction, Documentary and Focus competitions are also united in the need felt by their directors to depict the daily lives of modern day heroines, honest and pugnacious “women” who defy the conventions of the societies in which they live in order to uphold their own ideals.

The Golden Eye within the fiction film competition went to A Chiara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Carpignano
film profile
]
by Italian director Jonas Carpignano, a work which previously scooped the Europa Cinemas Label at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight. This third feature film by Carpignano - now a regular at the festival - tells the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who is confronted with the unforgiving world of the Calabrian Ndrangheta, which she courageously tries to “decode”. Presided over by German-Spanish actor Daniel Brühl, the jury was particularly struck by what they described as “a modern interpretation of traditional Italian neorealism”. The competition’s Special Mentions, meanwhile, were won by American movie Jockey, by Clint Bentley, and Iranian-French film Ballad of a White Cow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, by Behtash Sanaeeha and Maryam Moghhaddam.

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The competition dedicated to documentaries saw Life of Ivanna [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(produced by Russia, Norway, Finland and Estonia) hoisted onto the highest level of the podium, a film previously selected for a variety of international festivals, including Hot Docs and CPH:DOX. For four years, Guatemalan director Renato Borrayo Serrano followed the daily life of his protagonist: a courageous nomad travelling the Arctic tundra alongside her family. The jury was particularly impressed by the incredible perseverance demonstrated by the director, as well as that shown by his protagonist. Laure Portier’s poignant French-Belgian film Soy libre [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, which enjoyed its world premiere in Cannes’ ACID line-up, and Sweden’s Sabaya [+see also:
film review
interview: Hogir Hirori
film profile
]
by Hogir Hirori, which was presented at Sundance, both walked away with Special Mentions from this particular competition.

Switzerland basked in a moment of glory too, thanks to Fred Baillif’s rip roaring and sincere work The Fam [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fred Baillif
film profile
]
, which not only scooped the Golden Eye in the Focus Competition - dedicated to films hailing from Switzerland, Germany and Austria – but also earned itself the Ecumenical Film Award. Working hand in hand with his protagonists, who depict their own daily lives in a shelter for troubled youth, Baillif has crafted an authentic and captivating film which also won over the jury of the Berlinale’s Generation 14plus competition earlier this year (claiming the Grand Prize for Best Film). A Special Mention was awarded to Germany’s Behind the Headlines by Daniel Andreas Sager.

Staying with Switzerland, Dennis Stormer’s first film Youth Topia [+see also:
film review
interview: Dennis Stormer, Marisa Meier
film profile
]
, which was presented in a world premiere, walked away with the Audience Award, while Azor [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andreas Fontana
film profile
]
, which is the first work by Geneva’s Andreas Fontana, previously presented in a world premiere within the Berlinale’s Encounters line-up, was the recipient of the Emerging Swiss Talent Award.

Having attracted far more viewers than predicted, the festival concluded on a very positive note, as confirmed by artistic director Christian Jungen.

The list of winners is as follows:

Fiction Competition

Golden Eye
A Chiara [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Carpignano
film profile
]
Jonas Carpignano (Italy/France/Sweden/Denmark)

Special Mentions
Jockey – Clint Bentles (USA)
Ballad of a White Cow [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam (Iran/France)

Documentary Competition

Golden Eye
Life of Ivanna [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
  Renato Borrayo Serrano (Russia/Norway/Finland/Estonia)

Special Mentions
Soy libre [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
Laure Portier (France/Belgium)
Sabaya [+see also:
film review
interview: Hogir Hirori
film profile
]
Hogir Hirori (Sweden)

Focus Competition

Golden Eye
The Fam [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fred Baillif
film profile
]
– Fred Baillif (Switzerland)

Special Mention
Behind the Headlines – Daniel Andreas Sager (Germany)

ZFF Competition for Children

Jury Prize
The Wolf and the Lion Gilles de Maistre (France/Canada)

Other Awards

Audience Award
Youth Topia [+see also:
film review
interview: Dennis Stormer, Marisa Meier
film profile
]
– Dennis Stormer (Switzerland/Germany)

Science Film Award
All Light, Everywhere – Theo Anthony (USA)

Emerging Swiss Talent Award
Azor [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Andreas Fontana
film profile
]
– Andreas Fontana (Switzerland/France/Argentina)

Best Music in an International Film
Andrey Mordovsky – Black Label (Spain) (short film)

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(Translated from Italian)

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