Organizing film societies worldwide...


Tromsø International Film Festival, January 18-23.2011, report by Grzegorz Pienkowski, Poland

Pal and Pienkowski, FICC jury Tromsø 2011
This year Tromsø International Film Festival motto was: “Frozen land – moving pictures”. It was the truth only in second part: air temperature was about minus one Celsius degree, not so much snow, this was ending of polar night (first sunbeams comes on January 23rd, at the last day of festival) – and atmosphere of showings and all Festival was really warm and nice. We have the daylight from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so most of festival time longs in polar darkness – but we can’t complain: warm and comfortable cinemas and brilliant work of staff make all the guests, visitors and audience grateful admirers of this film feast. We have an perfect festival program with the great films from all the world.

Jury members has to watch in competition twelve films from: UK (“The Arbor” by Clio Barnard),  France (“Venus noire” by Abdellatif Kechiche, “Hands Up” by Romain Goupil), USA (“Exit Through the Gift Shop” by Banksy), Italy (“Malavoglia – The House by the Medlar Tree” by Pasquale Scimeca). Russia (“How I Ended This Summer” by Alexei Popogrebsky and “The Truce” by Svetlana Proskurina), Germany (“In the Shadows” by Thomas Arslan and “Three” by Tom Tykwer) , Canada (“Incendies” by Denis Villeneuve), South Korea (“Poetry” by Chang-dong Lee) and Bulgaria (“Shelter” by Dragomir Sholev). But it was not all: we have also retrospective of Aleksandr Sokurov films, documentary and actor’s films from all the world (“Horizons”, “Films from the North”, “Thai Focus”, “Horison East”), interesting workshops, seminars, every-day-meetings in numerous cafe’s and restaurants and very nice open-air filmshows on snow-screen for children (every day at 9 a.m.) and adult filmlovers (at evenings).

We have also historical special screenings: “Lost Horizon” of Frank Capra, “The 400 Blows - Le Quatre Cent Coups” by Francois Truffaut, and – cream of the cream – reconstructed full version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”, illustrated with live music concert. On opening ceremony was new Norway film “Mountain” (Fjellet), magnificent full-length debut of Ole Glaever - boy from Tromsǿ.

Day was so short to be everywhere; and jury members must coming  - first of all -  to jury shows. Members of every jury must see every day four - five films, so we have free time only in the night - after end of evening screenings and meetings.


FICC Jury members are: Norwegian young and beautiful girl - Guro Vrålstad (Tromsǿ Film Society), from India - Ratan Krishna Pal (Cine Circle, Chilamkur) and from Poland signed below Grzegorz Pienkowski (CineClub “AFiT”, Academy of Film & TV in Warsaw). We decided to give “Don Quijote” Prize to INCENDIES (Denis Villeneuve, Canada). As we say in our statement: “It is an outstanding tale of twins settled in Canada, travelling to the Middle East in keeping with the wishes of their dead mother. They come across complicated family relations in a region full of hate. They return to Canada with an understanding of life in their homeland. A powerful film with a rare combination of the study of life and  the effects of hate and war.” We have a possibility to reward second film as a special mention : HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER (Alexei Popogrebsky, Russia) “for its gripping tale of human behavior in an isolated arctic terrain”.


Other prizes going to:

The Aurora prize of NOK 100 000 (to the distributor who brings the film to Norwegian audiences, furthering the festival’s goal to broaden the appreciation of artistically challenging films; the prize is awarded by Tromsǿ International Film Festival) goes to: POETRY (Chang--dong Lee, South Korea). From the jury statement: The Aurora prize winner 2011 is a film about seeing what is beautiful and at the same time being able to see that which is not.  The element of brutality in this seemingly quiet story gradually materializes, as the main character comes to terms  with reality. The  film is about daring to face the truth, without despairing.

The FIPRESCI prize (the international film critic award)  goes to: HOW I ENDED THIS SUMMER (Alexei Popogrebsky, Russia). From the jury statement: “for its outstanding contribution to contemporary film art.


The Norwegian Peace Film Award (awarded by Tromsǿ International Film Festival, Center for Peace Studies at the University of Tromsǿ and the Student Network for Peace) prize goes to: HANDS UP (Romain Goupil, France). From the jury statement: “In the past months there have been many examples in the news of how one person can inspire others to take action.  We have seen it here in Norway, in Burma and Tunisia. The peace film jury has selected a film that shows how one small group of people took action that changed an entire community. In this  case, these people were children.  The film shows the injustice of the current asylum politics through the eyes of a young Chechen girl and her friends. Refusing to accept the cynicism of the adult world, they manage to make a change through peaceful resistance. With delicate cinematography and well--‐cast actors, this engaging story balances violence and fear with love and solidarity. The movie shows how children can imagine solutions that adults can only dream of. This film reminds us that the front lines of today’s conflicts may be next door and this is where we all have the power to make a difference.”


THE TROMSǾ PALM (awarded to the best short or documentary from the “Films from the North” program) goes to: HOW TO PICK BERRIES (Elina Talvensaari, Finland). From jury statement: “This film has intelligently approached a political topic that is specific to the Arctic region. The filmmaker combines the elements of photography, music and editing into a true piece of art with a very important message. A real and refreshing documentary at its best.”


TROMSǾ AUDIENCE AWARD (the people’s own award; everyone can submit their opinion on the movies that they watch by casting their vote during the festival) goes to: BLACK SWAN (Darren Aronofsky, USA)


On closing ceremony festival management have proudly announced 57.000 festval entries in the town that have 66.000 inhabitants; as Guro have said us, filmfan’s are coming to Tromsǿ from all the Norway, Sweden and Finland. It is a real film holiday to all cinema people on the North.

It is only a few words about Tromsǿ Film Festival; best way to feel the taste of this film holiday is to come here – to magnificent, hospitable place of superb nature and beautiful people, who know how to make an amazing meeting for filmfan’s from all the world.

Tromsǿ Film Festival is a superb time to meet real film art !

                                                                                                          Grzegorz Pieńkowski


Further information on www.tiff.no