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Tromsö filmfestival 2010, report by Monica Hürlimann

The 20. Tromsoe International Film Festival took place from January 18 to 24, 2010 in Tromsoe, Northern Norway. The Don Quijote-Award of FICC, the International Federation of Cine-Clubs has been rewarded to „Whisper With The Wind“ by Shahram Alidi, Irak. Members of the FICC-jury were Monika Hürlimann (Kino Rosental, Heiden, Switzerland), Kai Arne Jenssen (Tromsoe Film Club, Norway) and Gert Weidenfeld (Die Fähre Filminitiative, Wuppertal, Germany).

Where does a film festival match better than with a place, where at this time of the year, daylight lasts only a few hours, approximately from nine o’clock in the morning until the early afternoon. No other temptations like summertime in Locarno with swimming in the lake and street cafés. The main attraction in Tromsoe at this time is the film festival. The atmosphere not far from the North Pole cannot be compared with any other place. How nice and cosy to sit down in the comfortable chairs of the warm cinema. Or to attend the numerous evening events, too. But the landscape is fascinating, unfortunately the northern lights could not be seen. Surprising for us that it was quite warm, there was only few snow and it was even raining two days. So the dog sleig ride I had been looking forward to, couldn’t take place.

However, back to the festival. The aim of Tormsoe International Film Festival is, to bring international films off the mainstream to Norway. And in fact, people are very interested. The festival management was proud of reporting 55'000 entries at the closing ceremony; a substantial number for a place with 66'000 inhabitants. On seven screens up to 50 films were presented daily. Already at nine o'clock in the morning the children from kindergarden gathered on the main square to watch the open-air film, presented on a screen made of snow and ice! The audience consisted mainly of Norwegian visitors but also many, filmlovers from abroad, international directors, actors, journalists, jury members and other guests from even as far as Australia met in Tromsoe.

The festival first prize „Aurora“ who guarantees the film distribution in Norway was awarded to „The door“ by Anno Saul, Germany. The „Peace film Award“ was won by „The Other of bank“ by George Ovashwili, Georgia/Kazakhstan. The „International press price FIPRESCI“ went to „10 to 11“ from Pelin Esmer, Turkey and the „Tromsoe Palm“, honouring films of the North, went to "Breathing Music" by Trond Eliassen, Norway. „One moment freedom“ from Arash T. Riahi, Austria/France/Turkey, was honoured with the public price, the „Silver Audience Award“.

It was not easy for our FICC jury to chose a winner from 14 competitive films of mainly high quality. The wide range of films from Romania, Russia, Hungary, Turkey, the USA, Iraq, Germany, South Korea, France and Italy was difficult to compare. And if, according to which criteria? Finally, from a narrower choice of four films we decided to award the Don Quijote price to "Whisper With The Wind" by the Iraqi director Shahram Alidi. We have chosen this film especially because it shows in a poetic and intense way without use of violent scenes, how in a society struck by suffering and death, hope prevails.

The festival not only consisted of films, but also workshops and seminars. Furthermore there was the special program "Films from the North" with short and documentary films and a Claire Denis retrospective. Unfortunately, there wasn’t time enough to watch many more films than those in competition. The Tromsoe film festival team took care of our team in an excellent and very friendly way. The almost village-character of the festival place, where at walking distance everything is accessible richly offered the opportunity to get in conntact with film-makers, journalists, guests and other jury members. We had a great time up in Tromsoe!

Further information on www.tiff.no.

Monika Hürlimann, Kino Rosental, Heiden Swiss member of the FICC-Jury 2010