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FESTIVALS Slovenia

Woman at War crowned at Ljubljana

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- Benedikt Erlingsson’s film has taken home the Kingfisher, while The Load and My Last Year as a Loser got Special Mentions

Woman at War crowned at Ljubljana
Producer Marianne Slot (centre) collecting the Kingfisher Award for Woman at War

Adding another trophy to its cabinet after recently scooping the LUX Prize (see the news), Benedikt Erlingsson’s sophomore feature, Woman at War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
film profile
]
, has triumphed at the 29th edition of the Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe). The jury, consisting of Klaus Eder, German film critic and the president of the international FIPRESCI association, Jurica Pavičić, Croatian film critic and screenwriter, and Slovenian producer Ida Weiss, underlined that the winning feature has achieved something rare in contemporary cinema, as it is “a fun and intelligent comedy that sure-handedly plays with film styles and conventions”. 

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Two of the movies in the Perspectives official competition (comprising ten titles, both first and second features) got Special Mentions. Urša Menart’s My Last Year as a Loser [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 was selected because the jury thought that the “filmmaker gives a voice to her own generation with a delicate mixture of drama and humour”, while Ognjen Glavonić’s The Load [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ognjen Glavonić
film profile
]
 was commended as a “politically brave and stylistically powerful film that deals with responsibility in a time of war”.

The jury (Igor Bezinović, filmmaker, Croatia; Tanja Hladnik, festival director, Slovenia; and Milan Stojanović, producer, Serbia) for the shorts competition handed Matria by Álvaro Gago Díaz the main award and singled out Dušan Kastelic’s animation The Box with a Special Mention. The FIPRESCI Award went to Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Wolfgang Fischer
film profile
]
, while Chloe Zhao’s The Rider was given the Kinotrip Award by the youth jury. Milko Lazarov’s Ága [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Milko Lazarov
film profile
]
 won the Dragon Award from the festival audience, with an average score of 4.66 out of 5.

In numbers, this year’s LIFFe looks like this: 97 features and 15 shorts from 52 countries around the world were shown at 291 screenings, 43 of which completely sold out. Around 43,000 tickets were issued this year. Also, this year’s edition welcomed 45 guests, including film professionals and jury members, and 39 screenings were followed by Q&A sessions. The screenings took place at six theatres in Ljubljana, and one each in Maribor, Celje and Novo Mesto.

Aside from the main competition, the movies were divided into several sections, such as Avantpremieres, Kings and Queens, Panorama of World Cinema, Extravagance (dedicated to provocative genre titles) and Kinobalon (which focuses on films for children). This year’s Focus programme, called East-Northeast, shone the spotlight on the recent cinematic output of the former Soviet countries in the Baltic and Central Asian regions. There were also two retrospective programmes: one was a tribute to Christian Petzold, and the other was dedicated to the Czech New Wave. They both took place in the Slovenian Cinematheque.

Here is the complete list of award winners:

Kingfisher
Woman at War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
interview: Benedikt Erlingsson
film profile
]
 - Benedikt Erlingsson (Iceland/France/Ukraine)

Special Mentions
My Last Year as a Loser [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 - Urša Menart (Slovenia)
The Load [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ognjen Glavonić
film profile
]
 - Ognjen Glavonić (Serbia/France/Croatia/Iran/Qatar)

Best Short
Matria - Álvaro Gago Díaz (Spain)
Special Mention
The Box – Dušan Kastelic (Slovenia)

FIPRESCI Award
Styx [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Wolfgang Fischer
film profile
]
- Wolfgang Fischer (Germany/Austria)

Kinotrip Award
The Rider - Chloe Zhao (USA)

Dragon (Audience Award)
Ága [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Milko Lazarov
film profile
]
- Milko Lazarov (Bulgaria/Germany/France)

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