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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Slovenia

Stories from the Chestnut Woods wins big at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorož

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- The Slovenian-Italian co-production won ten Vesna gongs, including Best Film and Best Director, in addition to the Audience and IRIDIUM Awards

Stories from the Chestnut Woods wins big at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorož
Some of the winners of the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film in Portorož (© Katja Goljat/Matjaz Rušt)

Coming to the Slovenian coastal town of Portorož straight from Toronto, where it world-premiered, Stories from the Chestnut Woods [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by director-writer-editor Gregor Božič and writer-producer Marina Gumzi charmed the audience, critics and the jury, taking home almost half of the awards at the closing of the Festival of Slovenian Film on Sunday 22 September.

The feature-film jury, comprising Rok Biček, himself a filmmaker (Class Enemy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Rok Biček
interview: Rok Bicek
interview: Rok Bicek
film profile
]
, The Family [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
), actor Živa Selan (My Last Year as a Loser [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Boban Jevtić, the ex-director of Film Center Serbia, presented the film with ten Vesna Awards – for Best Feature Film, Best Director, Best Male Actor in a Leading Role (Massimo de Francovich), Best Photography (Ferran Paredes Rubio), Best Original Music (Hekla Magnúsdóttir), Best Editing (Gregor Božič, Benjamin Mirguet, Beppe Leonetti), Best Production Design (Giovanna Cirianni), Best Costume Design (Katharina Jockwer, Mateja Fajt), Best Make-up (Barbara Morosetti) and Best Sound (Jan Vysocky, Julij Zornik). In addition, the movie won the Audience Award and the IRIDIUM Award, presented to the winner of the Vesna for Best Feature Film and comprising post-production services worth €5,000.

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The jury called Stories from the Chestnut Woods, a fairy-tale story set on the Yugoslav-Italian border in the years after World War II, a “perfected masterpiece”, employing “all elements of the film language in a thoughtful and subtle way, allowing for a highly emotive and aesthetic experience”. They also praised the director’s “unique poetics and original solutions” and Božič’s “expressive means of extraordinary maturity as an auteur as well as a craftsman”.

The Best Screenplay Award went to another story set on the Slovenian-Italian border, Rosa [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Katja Colja, Angelo Carbone), for a dynamic that “gradually, ever so slightly leads to a powerful emotive catharsis”; the Best Documentary Award was bestowed upon Daughter of Camorra [+see also:
trailer
interview: Siniša Gacić
film profile
]
by Siniša Gačić, for piercing “the most intimate layers of the human soul” and for its “superb editing, music and execution”; the Best Minority Co-Production Award was presented to the “bold and passionate” God Exists, Her Name is Petrunya [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Labina Mitevska
interview: Teona Strugar Mitevska
film profile
]
; and Best Short Film went to Paradise by Mitja Ličen and Sonja Prosenc, for a “lightness and brilliance” which “can be seen in all of its layers – the screenplay, photography, direction and acting”.

This year’s Festival of Slovenian Film presented 106 local movies, and organised several industry talks and meetings, as well as talks with film auteurs.

Here is the full list of award winners at the 22nd Festival of Slovenian Film:

Vesna Award for Best Feature Film
Stories from the Chestnut Woods [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Gregor Božič (Slovenia/Italy)

Vesna Award for Best Director
Gregor Božič - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Screenplay
Katja Colja and Angelo Carbone - Rosa [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Slovenia/Italy)

Vesna Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Liza Marijina - Half-Sister [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Damjan Kozole
film profile
]
(Slovenia/North Macedonia/Serbia/Croatia)

Vesna Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Massimo De Francovich - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jana Zupančič - Corporation (Slovenia)

Vesna Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Milivoj Roš – Oroslan [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Matjaž Ivanišin
film profile
]
(Slovenia/Czech Republic)

Vesna Award for Best Photography
Ferran Paredes Rubio - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Original Music
Hekla Magnúsdóttir - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Editing
Gregor Božič, Benjamin Mirguet, Beppe Leonetti – Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Production Design
Giovanna Cirianni - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Costume Design
Katharina Jockwer, Mateja Fajt - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Make-up
Barbara Morosetti - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Sound
Jan Vysocky, Julij Zornik - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Vesna Award for Best Documentary
Daughter of Camorra [+see also:
trailer
interview: Siniša Gacić
film profile
]
- Siniša Gačić (Slovenia/Italy)

Vesna Award for Best Short Film
Paradise - Mitja Ličen, Sonja Prosenc (Slovenia/Croatia)

Vesna Award for Best Minority Co-production
God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Labina Mitevska
interview: Teona Strugar Mitevska
film profile
]
- Teona Strugar Mitevska (Macedonia/Belgium/Slovenia/Croatia/France)

Vesna Award for Best Animated Film
Liliana - Milanka Fabjančič (Slovenia)

Vesna Award for Best Student Film
Alzheimer café - Martin Draksler (Slovenia)

Vesna Award for Best Original (Experimental AV) Work
Man with Shadow - Ema Kugler (Slovenia)

Vesna Awards for Special Achievements
Pumpkin on the Hot Roof of the World - Nejc Saje, Jeffrey Young (Slovenia)
Martin Turk - Good Day’s Work [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(Bosnia and Herzegovina/Turkey/Slovenia)

Audience Award
Stories from the Chestnut Woods - Gregor Božič

Other awards

IRIDIUM Award
Gregor Božič - Stories from the Chestnut Woods

Slovenian Art Cinema Association Award
God Exists, Her Name Is Petrunya - Teona Strugar Mitevska

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