Extra Ordinary wins big at the NIFFF
by Giorgia Del Don
- Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern’s comedy horror triumphs at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival, taking home two of the most sought-after awards
After nine days of intense emotions, the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) is finishing its journey to the confines of fantastical worlds and its exploration of the very best of fantasy film from around the globe. Despite fierce competition, it was the crazy comedy with phantasmagorical overtones Extra Ordinary [+see also:
film profile] which came out on top. Directed by Ireland’s Enda Loughman and Mike Ahern and strutting home with the prestigious H. R. Giger "Narcisse" Award for Best Film (which includes prize-money of 10,000 Swiss francs courtesy of the city of Neuchâtel) and the no less coveted RTS Audience Award, Extra Ordinary looks set to be one of this year’s cult films. The 2019 international jury was composed of French producer Anaïs Bertrand, German director Katrin Gebbe, Swedish producer Piodor Gustafsson, Spanish screenwriter Fernando Navarro and Swiss filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe.
Meanwhile, French-educated Algerian director Amin Sidi-Boumédiène and his work Abou Leila [+see also:
film profile] (presented in a world premiere during Cannes’ Critics’ Week and distributed in Switzerland by Outside the Box), and the American Carlo Mirabella-Davis with his movie Swallow [+see also:
film profile] - two aesthetically powerful and thematically whacky films which truly challenge the concept of fantastic film - bagged themselves the Silver Méliès Award for Best Fantastic European Feature Film and the NIFFF International Critics’ Award respectively. While Abou Leila sends its protagonists on an introspective journey in the desert and to the very confines of madness, the protagonist of Swallow finds freedom inside his own body. Both are explorations of the mind and its paradoxes, and neither are short on originality.
From the crazy hilarity of Extra Ordinary, going by way of the horribly topical violence of Abou Leila, right up to the radical and repulsive beauty of Swallow, the NIFFF looks to reward the refreshing and creative audacity demonstrated by the very best of the fantastic genre. In further confirmation of this tendency, the international jury also paid tribute to the eclectic production design team comprising Miguel Llansó, Anna-Liisa Liiver, Aitor and Fran Almuedo for the craziness verging on hysteria on show in Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway [+see also:
interview: Miguel Llansó
On the Swiss side, it was the project by Malou Briand and Raphaël Meyer (Box Productions), Les enfants terribles, which emerged triumphant from the Fantastic Web Contest III pitching session, organised in partnership with RTS. The film will enter into production this summer and is set to world premiere at next year’s NIFFF.
Equally noteworthy is the historic signing of the SWAN Pledge for gender equality and inclusion in film festival programming. The NIFFF is the first fantastic film festival to sign up to this vital pact, which is yet another sign of this daring festival’s open mindset, as it gets ready to celebrate its twentieth edition next year.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Imagine the Future Prize for Best Production Design
Miguel Llansó, Anna-Liisa Liiver, Aitor and Fran Almuedo – Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway [+see also:
interview: Miguel Llansó
film profile] (Ethiopia/Spain/Estonia)
Award for Best Asian Film
The Fable - Kan Eguchi (Japan)
RTS Audience Award
Extra Ordinary - Mike Ahern, Enda Lougham
H. R. Giger “Narcisse” Award for Best Short Film
Dispersion – Basile Vuillemin (Switzerland)
Silver Méliès Award for Best Fantastic European Short Film
Dispersion – Basile Vuillemin
Taurus Studio Award for Most Innovative Swiss Short Film
Hand in Hand – Ennio Ruschetti (Switzerland)
(Translated from Italian)
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