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18. International Film Festival) 18. - 24. 11. 2011 "etiuda & anima" by Christl Grunwald-Merz, Germany

To the FICC Jury belonged – besides myself from Germany - Reka Szalkai from Hungary and Tomasz Kurus from Poland. Reka was our spokeswoman. She presented very well our verdicts at the press conference and during the closing ceremony.

Besides this she articulated her and our astonishment about some „hierarchical“ regulations concerning the status of our jury. Although we were kindly welcomed and taken care of during the whole festival, for which we were very grateful,  there were still some circumstances which made us feel a bit „unimportant“.

We had to judge among 33 shortfilms (fiction and documentary) and 19 animation films, all productions from film schools. They came from Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, Canada, Germany and quite a few other countries. Some regions – like for example  Hungary and Scandinavia - were not represented in the competition.

Seen from the technical side all films were perfect. Less convincing were occasionally the dramaturgy and a sequence of scenes which did not always help the audience to understand immediately the narrative.

We did not consider the students' animation films priceworthy – their directors are - by the definition of the selection we had to judge upon - still „learning“, and that was visible. Whereas the complete anima programme showed also films with „Oscar“-ambitions. We honoured the deep social and – particularly - the human relevance of the shortfilms.

The high quality and the broad variety of themes made it difficult for us to find unanimously a just solution for the price – we could have given the „Don Qujote“ to some more films. But we agreed after long discussions upon the following verdicts:

The Don Qujote goes to LES ENFANTS DE LA MER (The Children of the Sea)
Director: Annabel Verbeke
Production: Filmschool RITS, Belgium 2010, 27 min.

The film is about obedience of children. How this obedience is achieved we see in several scenes, especially when the children get dressed as marines. Is this an issue only for Belgium? Will it appear in other „civilized“ nations as well?

Furthermore we gave a special mention to:
KLATWA (The Curse)
Director: Tomasz Sliwinski
Production: Warszawska Szkola Filmowa, Poland 2011, 6'45“, Documentary

We chose the film because of its deeply humane content. Without any unnecessary scenes or sequences the director created a sad but beautiful poem without any dialogue. After the projection one could feel deeply grateful for the fact of healthy born children.

and to:
URODZINY (Birthday)
Director: Maciej Sobieszczanski
Production: Mistrzowska Szkola Rezyserii Filmowej Andrzeja Wajdy (Andrzej-Wajda-Masterschool for Film Directors), Poland 2011, 25', Fiction

It is a contemporary story set in everyday life in modern Poland. Although it also applies to other postcommunist countries as well. It is a funny, enjoyable experience, which leads to a lot of existential questions. The great acting makes us believe in every bit of the perfectly well written dialogues.

Personal remarks: We thought also the following films could have deserved our price: The Czech fiction film „Marathon“ shows a young couple taking part in a competition for a 24-hours dancing competition. It is very well made – particularly the contrasting effect of Edgar Elgar's glamorous march from „Pomp and Circumstances“ when the dancers are breaking down. It is a perfect illustration of the madness of people strifing for the Guinnes World Record, but – it's fun! Unfortunately it did not get a price from any of the juries.

The Polish documentary „3 Days of Freedom“ (3 dni wolnosci)is heartbreaking: a man being taken – afer 28 years in prison – to the other side of the barriers. You can hardly believe that it is not fictional. Director Lukasz Borowski got the „Grand Prix of the Festival – The Golden Dinosaur“ (and 2500€).
There were quite a few films treating old people with health problems and who will take care of them – and how it will be done. „Pia Madre“ from Mexico got the „Silver Dinosaur“. „Decrescendo“ from Poland got a Honorary Diploma. „Ultima donna“ from Switzerland did not get a price but we liked it very much: it made very clear that daughters are not always the best persons to care for their parents – slightly related to „Pia madre“...

We liked the way „Teheran Kitchen“ showed reality (visually)and the carefully avoiding straight-forwardness in the interviews. It also got a Honorary Diploma.

„Audition“ from Israel got the Bronze Dinosaur: its theme is the unwritten tabou of physical contacts between Jewish and Palestinian inhabitants of the country...