The Festival of Slovenian Film jury decides not to give out its grand prix
- The move is a reaction to the government blocking already-approved production funding; awarded films include Don't Forget to Breathe, Antigone - How Dare We! and Paradise – A Second Life
The national Festival of Slovenian Film, which traditionally takes place in Portorose, was held live in Ljubljana this year, from 6-11 October. However, the awards ceremony on Saturday night was overshadowed by the jury's decision not to give out the grand prix, the Vesna Award for Best Feature-length Film, or the gongs for Best Director, Screenplay, Lead Actress, Make-up or Animated Film.
The jury, consisting of directors Katja Colja and Siniša Gačić, film critic Matic Majcen, film theorist and lecturer Polona Petek, and actress Maja Sever, said in a statement: “If the purpose of the jury is usually to choose the best from among good, if not excellent, works, this year we were faced with a very limited selection of films, as a result of conditions that discourage the funding of new projects as well as the completion of ongoing ones. This unexpectedly raised a set of entirely different questions, questions that had more to do with the role and value of the Vesna Awards as the most important prizes for cinema in Slovenia. In some of the categories, no prizes could be given out at all, as there simply were not any films that could give what the awards were asking for."
The members of the jury were referring to the fact that since the new, right-leaning government came to power in March, it has used the COVID-19 situation to block funding for productions and film events approved under already-signed contracts and to stop this money from reaching the Slovenian Film Centre. The government introduced extraordinary regulations which allow it to channel the funds entirely at its own discretion.
Last week during the festival, professionals gathered around the informal Film Initiative organised a panel on the situation and presented a short film entitled “Who Stopped Slovenian Cinema?”, in which various filmmakers, producers, actors and crew members warn and urge the state to enable the cash flow and to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy. The video is now being widely shared on social media in the territory.
While the top award - which could go to either a fiction or a documentary film - wasn't given out, eventually, the jury opted to give the Best Feature-length Fiction Film Award to Martin Turk's Don't Forget to Breathe [+see also:
film profile] and the Best Documentary Feature Award to Jani Sever's docudrama Antigone - How Dare We! [+see also:
film profile] The former also garnered the Best Cinematography Award for Croatian DoP Radislav Jovanov Gonzo, and the latter earned Primož Bezjak the Best Lead Actor Award and Miloš Kalusek Best Editing, while it also scooped the FIPRESCI Award.
Here is the full list of the awards handed out at the Festival of Slovenian Film:
Vesna Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Katarina Čas - Paradise – A Second Life (Slovenia/Italy)
Vesna Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Gojmir Lešnjak - Let Him Be a Basketball Player 2 (Slovenia)
Vesna Award for Best Cinematography
Radislav Jovanov Gonzo - Don’t Forget to Breathe
Vesna Award for Best Editing
Miloš Kalusek - Antigone – How Dare We!
Vesna Award for Best Production Design
Niko Novak - Paradise – A Second Life
Vesna Award for Best Costume Design
Polonca Valentinčič - Paradise – A Second Life
Vesna Award for Best Documentary
Antigone – How Dare We! - Jani Sever
Vesna Award for Best Short Film
Bits - Áron Horváth Botka (Slovenia)
Vesna Award for Best Minority Co-production
Apples - Christos Nikou
Vesna Award for Best Student Film
Playing - Lun Sevnik (Slovenia)
Vesna Award for Best Original AV Work
Vesna Goodbye - Sara Kern (Slovenia)
Vesna Award for Special Achievement
Breakthrough - Dejan Babosek (Slovenia)
Gmajna - Sebastian Korenič Tratnik (Slovenia)
Vesna Audience Award
Breakthrough - Dejan Babosek
Antigone – How Dare We! - Jani Sever
Sharpening the Gaze Award
Gmajna - Sebastian Korenič Tratnik
Playing - Lun Sevnik
Best Short Film About the COVID-19 Lockdown
What Day Is It? - Luka Marčetić (Slovenia)
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