THE NORTHEAST WINDSNikoloz Bezhanishvili • Georgia • 2022 • 94 min
In Niderkoloz Bezhanishivili’s The Northeast Winds is an absorbing, assured and intimate study of a party of elderly Communists, committed to the memory of Stalin in the town where he was born. Treading a fine line in its portrait of men and women whom the winds of history have passed by, this film is at once unblinking and tender, depicting its characters with steely empathy, as neither heroes, villains or victims. What emerges through patient observation and artful editing is a poignant film about belonging, loneliness and collective identity.
LOVE IS NOT AN ORANGEOtilia Babara • Belgium, France, Netherlands, Moldavia • 2022 • 73 min
Through twenty years of video letters we follow the fate of a country that gains independence but loses its mothers. Thousands of Moldovan women have left their country to seek their fortune abroad: an epochal theme and an unacknowledged story, which the found footage film illustrates with acuteness and sensitivity, alternating images and greetings of those who left, with images and greetings of those who remained. Especially the children, protagonists of a thousand virtual hugs, caught in their tender looks and full of sadness. Sometimes we see sincere greetings, other times playful and theatrical greetings, constructed by adults, in the difficult attempt to stem an abysmal distance from the bodies of distant mothers.
ADIEU SAUVAGESergio Guataquira Sarmiento • Belgium, France • 2023 • 93 min
The jury were unanimous in selecting Adieu Sauvage as the best film in the ‘New Voices’ category.
This was a cinematic, touching film with many layers; the filmmaker’s personal journey of enquiry into his own identity opens up into a story about the legacies of colonialism. This movement between the personal and the historical is handled with intimacy and charm and humour. At the heart of the film is a developing friendship between the filmmaker and his ‘guide’; this trusting, mutual friendship is a testimony to the filmmaker’s uncomplicated, mission – a mission to learn about ‘others’ in order to better understand himself.
The film is a journey, a journey undertaken with humility and clarity – beautifully filmed and beautifully told – and like all good journeys it involves transformation, and the jury appreciated the chance to have shared the filmmaker’s discoveries about a disappearing culture that is at the heart of his own DNA.
EARTH'S SWEET KISSGautier Gumpper • France • 2023 • 108 min
This film presents a very subtle metaphor to us about the beauty of life born out of struggle and the desire to preserve the integrity of the individual.
Embracing formal limitations, this is a film that skilfully and slowly unfolds a narrative situated on the edges of society. With dignity and a poetic transformative power, this finely tuned work deploys all of the most cinematic tools to create intimacy with the voiceless.
AMARDiana Gavra • Romania, Spain • 2023 • 125 min
With courage and determination this debutant filmmaker builds a relationship of trust and intimacy with her protagonists in order to bring us close to a group of people for whom theft is -as they describe- “a way of life”. Without judgement or sensationalism -and allowing people the space to frankly express their complicated lives - this film skilfully reveals the people behind the stereotypes.
DANCING AT MY PARENTS' WEDDINGAndreea Chiper • Romania • 2023 • 23 min
The filmmaker's playful investigation of archival material invites us to rethink family histories, crumbling relationships and the meaning of life as it's shaped by defining moments and people. We would also like to commend the filmmaker for making a first film that demonstrates originality, ambition and attention to detail in the way she uses images from the past to tell stories about the present.
We are delighted to give the Best Film award to a film that really captivated our imagination through the inventive use of personal footage in a journey towards self-discovery..
PTITSAAlina Maksimenko • Poland • 2022 • 30 min
The film captures the profound bond between her and her mother within the walls of their home. Set during quarantine, this double portrait evolves into a powerful contemplation on mortality and delves into the intricate emotions that surface when faced with inevitable endings: of life, of friendship, of life together.
LETTERS TO ORSKAndreas Boschmann • Germany • 2023 • 83 min
The jury decided to award a special mention to a courageous narrative in which the director embarks on a journey to explore his family’s repressed trauma. This utterly personal film reflects the collective and timeless sagas of migration and people’s struggle to accept the unacceptable blows of destiny and carry on living their fragile lives with hope and compassion. The film that receives this special mention is “Letters to Orsk” by Andreas Boschmann.