Magazine article Screen International

Poland's 'The Last Family' Wins in Vilnius

Magazine article Screen International

Poland's 'The Last Family' Wins in Vilnius

Article excerpt

Polish filmmaker Jan Matuszynski's The Last Family has continued its successful festival run by being named best film in the New Europe - New Names competition at the Vilnius International Film Festival (23 March - 6 April).

Matuszynski's feature debut - which is being handled internationally by New Europe Film Sales - had its world premiere at last year's Locarno Film Festival and received the special jury award at the Sofia International Film Festival as well as four prizes at the national Polish Film Awards last month.

The competition's international jury of Gothenburg Film Festival's programmer Freddy Olsson, Russian film critic and programmer Boris Nelep and Fipresci president Alin Tasciyan presented its best director prize to the Bulgarian directorial duo Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valcahnov for their second feature Glory which also picked up the CICAE Art Cinema Award.

Moreover, the acting awards went to Mia Petricevic for her performance in Hana Jusic's Quit Staring At My Plate (also handled by New Europe Film Sales) and to the local Lithuanian actor Marius Repsys for his main role in Andrius Blazevicius's debut The Saint, which also earned him the votes for best Lithuanian actor from the festival audience.

Local hero

Meanwhile, Lithuanian documentary filmmaker Audrius Stonys was the toast of the evening after his latest film Woman And The Glacier, about a Lithuanian scientist studying climate change on a glacier in central asia for the past 30 years, was voted as best Lithuanian dilm by the festival audience and received best film honours in the Baltic Gaze competition.

Stonys was also one of the prize-winners at the festival's industry event, Meeting Point Vilnius (MPV), where his latest documentary project (co-directed with Kristine Briede) Baltic New Wave, about the Baltic school of poetic documentary and its creators, was selected for the Vilnius IFF Goes To Cannes initiative.

Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa was named best director by the Baltic Gaze international jury of Japanese producer Atsuko Ohno, Canadian-Romanian programmer Andrei Tanasescu and Italian film critic Giona A. Nazzaro for his documentary Austerlitz, while the acting awards went to Russia's Petr Skvortsov (The Student) and Sámi actress Lene Cecilia Sparrok (Sámi Blood).

The ceremony also saw the festival audience's award for best lithuanian actress go to Gabija Jaraminaite whose recent credits have included the TV miniseries Tokyo Trial and the forthcoming local feature film projects, the World War II drama Ashes In The Snow and the comedy Miracle, which were both presented in the MPV's Coming Soon showcase.

In addition, the festival audience voted for Paolo Genovese's comedy Perfect Strangers, the second most successful local film in Italy last year, as its favourite film from the programme of Vilnius' 22nd edition.

Industry platform

Seven new projects from the three Baltic states were joined at this year's Coming Soon showcase by a line-up of new talents from other parts of Central and Eastern Europe - from Slovenia through to Georgia - including Horizons by Serbia's Svetislav Dragomirovic and The Infinite Garden by Bulgaria's Galin Stoev.

While some foreign guests expressed reservations about the wisdom of MPV casting its net further afield since the primary reason for coming to Vilnius is to see the latest films from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, the spotlight on five documentary projects from neighbouring Belarus included Alexander Mihalkovich's Babushka. Lost In Translation about his grandmother trapped in Crimea to Maksim Shved's The Art Of Censorship about the Belarussian regime's drive against graffiti being humorously reinterpreted as a new street art phenomenon. …

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