Punta sacra wins the Golden Sesterce at the Visions du Réel Festival
- Joining Italian director Francesca Mazzoleni’s film on the podium is the Finnish offering Anerca, Breath of Life by Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio
Despite unfolding entirely online, the 51st edition of the Visions du Réel Festival has managed to retain its characteristic convivial feel: the 134 films featuring in the various sections (and representing the larger part of the original selection) were viewed online 60,500 times, most of them reaching their capacity of 500 (virtual) viewers. The masterclasses delivered by Claire Denis (Maître du Réel 2020), Petra Costa and Peter Mettler were particularly well received and hugely exciting, despite the technical limitations and physical distance between participants. From Paris to Brazil and then north to Toronto, this year’s three guests of honour managed to share their experiences with the public, with the moderators (Emilie Bujès and Lionel Baier for Denis’s session) and with students from ECAL and HEAD, displaying great generosity and spontaneity. The conversations with directors, debates and masterclasses organised by the festival attracted no less than 4,500 viewers (participants), making full use of its temporary, virtual home.
In terms of the main competition (international feature films), the Italian Francesca Mazzoleni ultimately won over the jury, which was composed of her compatriot, producer Marco Alessi, as well as artistic director Frédéric Boyer and Swiss director Ursula Meier. Punta sacra [+see also:
interview: Francesca Mazzoleni
film profile] is a prime example of a non-fiction film which shines a light on a group of women on the margins of a community which is fast disappearing. On the second highest level of the podium (Nyon Region Jury Prize), meanwhile, we find Anerca, Breath of Life [+see also:
film profile] by the Finnish (father and son) directing duo Markku and Johannes Lehmuskallio. Having always busied himself with representing the Arctic Circle’s indigenous peoples, Markku Lehmuskallio this time involved his son in this meticulous, nigh-on ethnographic investigation into a mysterious, far off land and its traditions, dances and wounds. Alongside The Silhouettes, meanwhile, by Afsaneh Salari, the docu-fiction El Father Plays Himself [+see also:
film profile] by Mo Scarpelli (a co-production between Venezuela, the UK, Italy and the US) took home a jury Special Mention.
For their part, French films (one production and one co-production) shone bright in the International Burning Lights Competition, walking away with the Society of Coastal Hoteliers Jury Prize (for the most innovative long or mid-length film), thanks to the intriguing and apocalyptic mid-length work Pyrale by Roxanne Gaucherand, while the jury’s Special Mention went to The Disqualified [+see also:
film profile] by Hamza Ouni (Tunisia/France/Qatar).
In the National Competition, it was Sapelo [+see also:
film profile] by Nick Brandestini which scooped the prestigious SRG SSR Golden Sesterce, a captivating and sensitive film which, in the words of the jury, “immerses us in the luxuriant natural surrounds of an island which none of us have ever heard of”. In the same section, Cows on the Roof [+see also:
film profile] by Aldo Gugolz and Privé [+see also:
film profile] by Raphael Holzer claimed the SSA/Suissimage Jury Award and the Special Mention, respectively.
Another two French films distinguished themselves in the International Competition for Mid-Length Films and Shorts: Jungle by Louis Mootz (Silver Sesterce) and the co-production with Nigeria Trouble Sleep by Alain Kassandra. The Polish work An Ordinary Country by Tomasz Wolski, meanwhile, won the Clinique de Genolier Jury Prize.
In short, it was a truly special 51st edition which tested the potential of this festival’s online presence; a festival which is already looking forward to being reunited with its public, and this time in the flesh.
The winners are as follows:
International Feature Film Competition
Off the Road - José Permar (Mexico/USA)
International Burning Lights Competition
Canton of Vaud Silver Sesterce
The Other One - Francisco Bermejo (Chile)
Society of Coastal Hoteliers Jury Prize
Pyrale - Roxanne Gaucherand (France) (mid-length film)
International Competition for Mid-Length Films and Shorts
Jungle - Louise Mootz (France)
Clinique de Genolier Jury Prize
An Ordinary Country - Tomasz Wolski (Poland)
Trouble Sleep - Alain Kassanda (Nigeria/France)
Goblet Foundation Silver Sesterce for Best Short Film
My Own Landscapes - Antoine Chapon (France)
Bella - Thelyia Petraki (Greece)
Mémoire Vive Youth Jury Prize
On Hold - Laura Rantanen (Finland)
(Translated from Italian)
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.