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GENEVA 2020

The GIFF splits its three principal prizes between all thirty of the films in competition

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- Forced to cancel its 26th edition on account of the health crisis, the Geneva Film Festival has discounted the option unspooling online

The GIFF splits its three principal prizes between all thirty of the films in competition
PR Chamsi Diba and artistic director Emmanuel Cuénod during the presentation of the 2020 GIFF programme (© Lucien Fortunati)

Left with no choice but to cancel its 26th edition (planned for 6 - 15 November) having discounted the option of a digital event, the Geneva International Film Festival (GIFF) is looking to send a strong message of support to filmmakers and other creators heavily impacted by the current pandemic: its aim is to reiterate the vital importance of cinemas as proponents of a unique and indispensable collective experience.

In agreement with the City of Geneva and the State of Geneva, the festival’s principal partners, the GIFF has divided equally the 10,000 Swiss francs usually awarded to the winners of its three Reflets d’Or awards between the thirty films selected in the various international competitions, consisting of feature films, immersive multimedia works and TV series. The only prize - consisting of 10,000 Swiss francs - to go to one particular title this year was the European Script Award (assigned by the GIFF for the very first time), which was created to support series and screenplays offered up by emerging writers hailing from all over Europe. The jury, composed of Swiss critic and journalist Nicolas Dufour, Romanian-Swiss director, screenwriter and producer Elena Hazanov and French critic and journalist Raphaël Nieuwjaer, deliberated online before finally singling out the series We Got This (co-produced by Sweden and the US), which was created by Schiaffino Mussara (who also co-wrote and starred in the work). The series expertly interweaves the humour of the north with American effectiveness and was described by the jury as a work of “radical originality”, both “light and inventive”.  The other two pre-selected series which lost out on this occasion were Denmark’s Glow by Milad Avaz and the Ukrainian work Hide and Seek by Simon Glasenko.

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Taking up the larger part of this 2020 edition was the Geneva Digital Market, a professional platform which is now in its eighth year and which unfolds as part of the GIFF. Unspooling entirely online for the very first time, the GDM hosted a total of 280 tailored meetings over a five-day period, which allowed digital creators, programmers, representatives of institutions and companies active in the digital field to make contact with one another and discuss a variety of issues. In collaboration with LucidWeb, a start-up based in Brussels and a WebXR specialist, this year saw the GDM put forward a new professional tool dedicated to audiovisual innovation: an XR Media Library composed of 30 immersive multimedia works, accessible via computers, mobile phones but also virtual reality headsets. One of the very first professional platforms of its kind, the XR Media Library epitomises the avant-garde nature of the Genevan festival.

Having arrived at his very last edition as artistic and managing director, Emmanuel Cuénod is now making way for Anaïs Emery, who co-founded and became the artistic director of the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in 2006.

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(Translated from Italian)

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