18 Kilohertz is a winning frequency at the Warsaw Film Festival
by Ola Salwa
- The Polish gathering came to a successful close amidst intensifying COVID-19 restrictions, with Farkhat Sharipov's Kazakh film coming out on top
“I just realised that we had a red zone for dozens of years, between 1944 and 1989, and somehow we made it through,” said Stefan Laudyn, director of the Warsaw Film Festival, in a pre-awards video broadcast on Facebook. Laudyn was alluding to both the communist regime that held Poland in its grip and the current COVID-19 restrictions. The so-called red zone was introduced in Warsaw on the day the festival commenced, meaning that only 25% of the seats could be occupied. The gathering had chosen to hold a physical edition this year, with a rich programme and a limited number of foreign guests.
The event welcomed nine international juries (including a Young FIPRESCI jury, comprising participants in the FIPRESCI Warsaw Critics Project) and organised five competitive sections. The winner of the International Competition was Farkhat Sharipov’s 18 Kilohertz (Kazakhstan), a film set in 1990s Almaty (Kazakhstan’s capital city) and revolving around a group of teenagers who are trying to find their place in the world, while being tempted by the heroin that is flooding the streets of their hometown. The Best Director Award went to Czech maestro Martin Šulík for The Man with Hare Ears [+see also:
film profile] (Czech Republic/Slovakia), about a writer whose literary alter ego literally has animal ears. The International Competition jury also gave its Special Jury Award to Bogdan Farkas and Dragos Dumitru for their performances in the Romanian crime film Unidentified [+see also:
film profile], directed by Bogdan George Apetri.
In the 1-2 Competition, first and second features were battling it out for accolades. The winning film was Blindfold by Ukrainian director Taras Dron, while the Special Mentions were given to two other European productions: Spiral [+see also:
film profile] by Cecilia Felmeri (Hungary/Romania) and Mia Misses Her Revenge [+see also:
interview: Bogdan Theodor Olteanu
film profile] by Bogdan Theodor Olteanu, from Romania. More edgy films were selected for the Free Spirit Competition, where Tragic Jungle [+see also:
film profile] by Yulene Olaizola (Mexico/France/Colombia) emerged victorious. Eiji Han Shimizu’s True North (Japan/Indonesia) grabbed a Special Mention. Among the documentary features, the jury’s favourite was The Jump [+see also:
film profile] by Giedre Zickyte (Lithuania/Latvia/France/USA), and two American helmers, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, grabbed a Special Mention for On the Record.
The Short Films Competition jury – as usual – handed out the highest number of awards: for Best Animated Short (which went to Iran’s The White Whale by Amirhossein Mehran), Best Live-action Short (Poland’s Into the Night by Kamila Tabura) and Best Documentary (What if Nothing? by Monika Krupa, from Poland). On top of this, Ligie by Aline Magrez, from Belgium, won the Short Grand Prix.
The 36th Warsaw Film Festival ended on Sunday 18 October.
Here is the full list of award winners:
Warsaw Grand Prix
18 Kilohertz – Farkhat Sharipov (Kazakhstan)
Blindfold – Taras Dron (Ukraine)
Spiral [+see also:
film profile] – Cecilia Felmeri (Hungary/Romania)
Mia Misses Her Revenge [+see also:
interview: Bogdan Theodor Olteanu
film profile] – Bogdan Theodor Olteanu (Romania)
Free Spirit Competition
Short Films Competition
Short Grand Prix
Ligie – Aline Magrez (Belgium)
Best Live-action Short
Into the Night – Kamila Tabura (Poland)
Best Animated Short
The White Whale – Amirhossein Mehran (Iran)
Best Documentary Short
What if Nothing? – Monika Krupa (Poland)
Sulphur – Lana Vlady (Russia)
Ecumenical Jury Award
The Man with Hare Ears – Martin Šulík
The Asadas – Ryota Nakano (Japan)
My Fat Arse and I – Yelyzaveta Pysmak (Poland)
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