On the Screen (MD 2020-3)
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On the Screen (MD 2020-3)

Nyon (Switzerland) 2020

At the 51st Festival Visions du réel Nyon (April 17 – May 2, 2020), the interreligious watched and discussed the 14 films of the competition for long films due the Covid-19 situation online and awarded its Prize of CHF 5’000, donated by the Swiss Catholic Church, the Reformed Churches in the French-speaking part Switzerland (CER) and its Media Department Média-pro, and the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, to the film Off the Road / Fuera del camino directed by von José Permar (Mexico/USA 2020).

Motivation: The director takes a head on approach, sometimes with the skill of a racing driver, to tackling all the issues faced by changing societies: the roots that define the identities of people and communities, the relationships between generations as well as men and women, the different social, economic and political categories, and the desert environment of Mexico’s Baja California, which plays host every year to a car race watched by thousands of fans. All of which is treated with humour and music for a project that will involve even more petrol heads.

Oberhausen (Germany) 2020

At the 66th International Short Film Days Oberhausen (13-18 May 2020) the Ecumenical Jury appointed by INTERFILM and SIGNIS awarded its Prize of € 1500, donated by the Catholic Film Work and the Protestant Church of Oberhausen, to Shepherds directed by Teboho Edkins (France, South Africa, Germany, 2020).

Motivation: The film shows the psychological drama of shepherds from Lesotho, some of whom were sentenced to nine years in prison for having stolen cows. This film caught the attention of the Ecumenical Jury for the originality of the theme, the love of a community of Lesotho for cows, for professionalism in photography direction and image aesthetics, the silences which invite the spectator to meditation.

The film shows the value of cows in the lives of members of this community. But it also draws public attention to the gap between the wrongdoing and the punishment.

In addition, the jury awarded a Commendation to Las muertes de Arístides / The Many Deaths of Arístides directed by Lázaro Lemus (Cuba, 2019).

Motivation: For the innovative, original and intimate approach to the subject of war, life and death. The animation of a silhouetted figure, journeying on a boat through the dark fuses with the frozen moments of time as we hear the letter of a young man that never returned home. His prayer for Olga centralises the film as hope, as a cry to God for the life of the other, as love outshining the depths of darkness. The film makes memory alive and breaks the time boundaries, transcending visually what cannot be described in words, and as such it is a work of pure cinema.

The jury awarded a second Commendation to Milenina píseň / Milena’s Song directed by Marie Lukáčová and Anna Remešová (Czech Republic, 2019).

Motivation: The creators of Milena’s Song reveal the theme of core spirituality in their movie. They depict a story of a cleaning lady who finds her own way of manifestation of faith while being in the shadow of institutional hierarchy. Her original prayer dance opens for the viewers her initial nature of believer referring to times of the early church fathers and reminding of cultural decentralization and non-hierarchical nature.

Furthermore, the Ecumenical Jury attributed Recommendations for two films in the Youth Film Competition: Warum Schnecken keine Beine haben / Why Slugs Have No Legs directed by Aline Höchli (Switzerland, 2019) and I’m Not Your F***ing Stereotype directed by Hesome Chemamah (Thailand, 2019).

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