On the Screen (MD 2024/1)
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On the Screen (MD 2024/1)

Leipzig (Germany) 2023

At the 66th International Film Festival for Documentary and Animated Film (8-15 October 2023), the Interreligious Jury, appointed by INTERFILM and SIGNIS, awarded its Prize of € 2.250, donated by the VCH-Hotels Germany together with VCH-Hotel Michaelis in Leipzig as well as the Interreligious Round Table and the Oratorium Leipzig to Kumva – Ce qui vient du silence (Kumva – Which Comes from Silence) directed by Sarah Mallégol (France, 2022).

Motivation: The jury appreciates the film’s main topic, as silence not only gives rise to terrible memories of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, but also to the need for new generations to live together in dialogue and with respect.

Summary: Quietly and discreetly, the French director Sarah Mallégol follows a group of thirty-something protagonists who survived the 1994 Rwanda genocide as children. They have no memory of the events – neither those whose fathers were murdered nor those whose parents were responsible. A confrontation begins: focused conversations between generations which, captured by a gentle camera, are meant to cautiously break the long silence – in order to be able to understand, process and mourn.

Members of the 2023 Jury: Barbara Guggenheim (Germany); Chantal Laroche-Poupard, (France); Bojidar Manov (Bulgaria); Mohammad Rezaeian (Switzerland).

Warsaw (Poland) 2023

At the 39th Warsaw Film Festival (6-15 October 2023), the Ecumenical Jury, appointed by INTERFILM and SIGNIS, awarded its Prize for a film in the International Competition to Kein Wort / Not a Word (Germany, France, Slovenia, 2023) directed by Hanna Slak.

Motivation: The successful conductor Nina is living in Munich with her teenage son. Lars closes himself off in his grief because a friend burned to death. Nina doesn’t want to believe that her son is involved in the tragedy. Neither can talk about it, but spend a few days on an island. After a long silence they find their communication. The movie is about mother love, difficulties of generations, of communication, mourning and finding together in rough surroundings.

Members of the 2023 Ecumenical Jury: Anna Karapetyan (Armenia); Thomas Kroll (Germany); Christine Ris (Switzerland), President.

Lübeck (Germany) 2023

At the 65th Nordic Film Days Lübeck (November 1-5, 2023), the INTERFILM Jury awarded the Church Film Prize, endowed with €5,000 by the Evangelical Church District Luebeck-Lauenburg, to the film Paradiset Brinner (Paradise is Burning) directed by Mika Gustafson (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Italy, 2023).

Motivation: They live in involuntary anarchy and their living conditions are precarious and chaotic. In order to survive, they create their own small community and invent rituals that create a sense of belonging and try to overcome the chaos. For the Jury, the film shows that rituals are part of the immanent human condition and diminish the vulnerability of life.

Members of the 2023 Jury: Melanie Pollmeier, Switzerland (President of the Jury); Mia Lund Rao (Denmark); Arnis Šablovskis (Latvia); Ulrike Scholderer (Germany).

Cottbus (Germany) 2023

At the 33rd FilmFestival Cottbus – Festival of East European Cinema (7-11 November 2023), the Ecumenical Jury, appointed by INTERFILM and SIGNIS, awarded its Prize to Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry directed by Elene Naveriani (Georgia, Switzerland, 2023).

Motivation: The film tells the story of a strong, independent woman in the middle of her life, with poetic images and rich colours. The way Etero finds her very own happiness, the bodies that do not correspond to any external beauty, and the unexpected turn of events encourage us to stay true to ourselves, far from conventions.

Synopsis: Etero has no family, and that is precisely why he has eyes for so much else, for example the beauty of blackbirds. But then an accident awakens a longing in her never felt before. Unexpectedly, she falls passionately in love and is suddenly faced with the decision of entering into a relationship or maintaining her independence. Etero must rediscover her feelings and needs to find her own path to happiness.

Members of the 2023 Jury: Brigitta Rotach, Switzerland; Beáta Kézdi, Hungary.

Mannheim-Heidelberg (Germany) 2023

At the 72nd International Film Festival Mannheim-Heidelberg (16-26 November 2023), the Ecumenical Jury, appointed by INTERFILM and SIGNIS, awarded its Prize, endowed with €2500 by the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) and the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), to the film Una sterminata domenica (An Endless Sunday) directed by Alain Parroni (Italy, Germany, 2023) – still photo from the film below.

Motivation: Three teenagers on their own in a desperate search for affection embark on a wild trip through the Eternal City. The film is both a road movie and a coming-of-age story. The teenagers instinctively ask themselves the important questions about the meaning of life. Disorientation and frustration drive them to a real warning shot. Visual allusions to archaic biblical images give the film a multi-layered meaning. The birth in the final scene opens up new perspectives for the three of them.

Members of the 2023 Jury: Markus Leniger, Germany (President of the Jury);  Lotta Lundberg, Sweden; András Petrik, Hungary.

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