The Whaler Boy walks away with the 2020 GdA Director’s Award
- VENICE 2020: Philipp Yuryev’s film has been crowned the champion of the jury composed of 27 European viewers, while 200 Meters bagged the Audience Award and Oasis scooped the Europa Cinemas Label
It’s Russian filmmaker Philipp Yuryev’s first work, The Whaler Boy [+see also:
interview: Philipp Yuryev
film profile], which has walked away with this year’s GdA Director’s Award at the 17th edition of Venice’s Giornate degli Autori. The story of the young whale hunter on the Bering Strait who falls in love with a webcam girl and dreams of escaping to America triumphed over the two other finalist films, Residue by Merawi Gerima and Conference [+see also:
interview: Ivan I Tverdovsky
film profile] by Ivan I. Tverdovskiy, which were selected from among the ten works competing in the Giornate section this year.
“The jury felt that The Whaler Boy by Yuryev was the best cinematic effort, bringing together both the dramatic and the comic genres while maintaining a strong aesthetic vision”, reads the explanatory statement produced by the jury, which is composed of young viewers participating in the 27 Times Cinema project – one for each country of the European Union – and is presided over by the Israeli director Nadav Lapid. “This first work of the director’s is a coming-of-age tale portraying a world that has never before been explored with such cinematographic precision and wisdom. His decision to avail himself of non-professional actors lends the film great authenticity and the jury felt that this film deserved recognition”.
The GdA Director’s Award is worth €20,000, half of which will go to the director while the other half will be entrusted to the film’s international vendor to help with The Whaler Boy’s subsequent circulation.
The winner of the BNL Audience Award, meanwhile, chosen by the viewers of the Giornate degli Autori line-up, is 200 Meters [+see also:
interview: Ameen Nayfeh
film profile] by Ameen Nayfeh. This story of a family divided by the West Bank Barrier bagged 68.9% of the vote, closely followed by Rodrigo Sepúlveda’s Tengo Miedo Torero (67.9%) and Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio’s The Stone Breaker [+see also:
interview: Gianluca and Massimiliano D…
film profile] (57.2%).
Similarly triumphant, Oasis [+see also:
interview: Ivan Ikic
film profile] by Ivan Ikić has walked away with the Europa Cinemas Label, an award dedicated to European productions and co-productions and consisting of a financial contribution towards the film’s distribution and promotion, not to mention the ongoing exhibition of the winning work in cinemas signed up to the network. “Oasis is sensitive and profoundly moving, but it also offers a harsh and brutal view of the lives and loves of a group of youngsters living with disabilities in a state-run day-care centre in Serbia”, reads the jury’s explanation. “The director treats his non-professional actors in a sensitive and entirely respectful manner, and, in exchange, he obtains realistic and particularly intense performances. The script’s structure is perfect, and the film’s cinematography offers up magnificent, memorable images”.
Last but not least, the SIAE Award for Creative Talent has been handed to Elisabetta Sgarbi for her documentary presented in a Special Screening within the GdA line-up, Extraliscio - Punk da balera [+see also:
interview: Elisabetta Sgarbi
film profile]: “A story about people, a music legend, a tale about cultural roots which manages to be modern, emotional and full of life thanks to its wonderful protagonists and its director who succeeded in reviving a modern-day fairy tale, as well as its characters and land”.
The winners of Venice’s Giornate degli Autori 2020 are as follows:
(Translated from Italian)
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