Simon Rieth’s Summer Scars scoops the Narcisse for Best Film at this year’s NIFFF
- Presided over by the immense Joyce Carol Oates, the International Competition jury were spellbound by this “remarkably original [film] exploring an intimate bond between brothers”
The 21st edition of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) closed with great fanfare, having attracted upwards of 50,000 festival-goers, an attendance record which testifies to the loyalty of viewers, the latter’s need to return to the big screen and the strong emotions that the NIFFF inspires in them.
Following the festival’s nine-day run, the 160 films it screened, and a considerable contingent of guests, the International Competition jury came down on the side of the brilliant and mysterious movie Summer Scars [+see also:
interview: Simon Rieth
film profile] by French director Simon Rieth (who scooped the H.R. Giger Narcisse Award for Best Feature Film), alongside Blaze by Australian artist and filmmaker Del Kathryn Barton (earning the Imaging The Future Award, and a jury Special Mention alongside Summer Scars), which is a dreamlike fable revolving around a girl who bears witness to an abominable crime. The public, meanwhile, chose to crown Italian director Gabriele Mainetti’s Freaks Out [+see also:
interview: Gabriele Mainetti
film profile] - a movie charting the wacky adventures of four superpower-endowed circus freaks who are thrust into Nazi-occupied Rome - with the RTS Audience Award (in the International Competition).
Composed of French journalists Gérard Delorme, Judith Beauvallet and Nicolas Martin, the International Critics Jury was won over by Youssef Chebbi’s French-Qatar-Tunisian co-production Ashkal [+see also:
film profile], which recounts a police inquiry unfolding in an abandoned area of Tunis at the beginning of the revolution. The Silver Meliès for Best European Fantastic Feature Film, on the other hand, went to Men [+see also:
film profile] by British director Alex Garland, a movie previously presented in a world premiere during a Special Screening held within Cannes’ 2022 Directors’ Fortnight. It tells a horrific tale following in the footsteps of Harper, who has been widowed by a violent husband and who has taken refuge in the countryside in the (vain) hope of finding peace.
Now at its 21st edition, the ever-intriguing NIFFF also treated attendees to an incredible conversation with the legendary American novelist Joyce Carol Oates, as well as (in terms of European films) an eagerly awaited world premiere of Year of the Shark by the talented Boukherma brothers, and that’s in addition to the rich and hefty Scream Queer retrospective, which is dedicated to showcasing the LGBTIQ+ community in genre films and which also welcomed British singer Oliver Sim (of The xx). Helming the festival for the very first year, Pierre-Yves Walder was thrilled to see that, once again, “Neuchâtel has spent a week at the intersection of global imaginations”.
The full list of prize-winners is as follows:
Imaging the Future Award for Best Production Design
Blaze - Del Kathryn Barton
Denis-De-Rougemont Youth Prize
Hypochondriac – Addison Heimann (USA)
New Cinema from Asia Competition
Audience Award for Best Asian Film
Demigod: The Legend Begins – Chris Huang Wen-chang (Taiwan)
Short Film Competition
R. Giger Narcisse Award for Best Swiss Short Film
Les héritières – Avril Lehmann (Switzerland)
Avant 3 nuits - Minna Prader (France)
Silver Méliès Award for Best European Fantastic Short Film
Mr. Pete & The Iron Horse – Kilian Vilim (Switzerland)
Blaise Cendras High School Youth Award
Avant 3 nuits - Minna Prader (France)
Audience Award for Best Short Film
Moshari – Nuhash Humayun (Bangladesh)
(Translated from French)
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