During the fifteenth edition of the Ostend Film Festival, the winners within each competition were announced. 'Godland,' 'Le bleu du caftan' and 'Safe Place' were the absolute winners. 'Dalva,' 'Burning Days' and 'The Woodcutter Story' received a special mention from the juries.
The jury, consisting of filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael as chairman, actress and director Charlotte Vandermeersch, actor Matteo Simoni, screenwriter Malin-Sarah Gozin and D.o.P. Dries Delputte, was enchanted by the powerful look of Hlynur Pálmason’s ‘Godland’. Lead actor Elliott Crosset Hove and distributor of Imagine Tinne Bral were honored to receive the award.
What is striking about ‘Godland’ is the vintage 3:4 screen format. With stupendous scenes Pálmason honors his native land. For that we like to mention the Director of Photography Maria von Hausswolff and Frosti Fridriksson who did the Production Design. The story itself contains all the elements of an award winning movie: compelling, surprising and edgy. Moreover, "Godland" sheds new light on the Icelandic colonial past. The LOOK! jury had some fine words to motivate their choice.
‘Godland’ brings together everything the LOOK! competition embodies. A film in which craftsmanship becomes art. Form and content are one. With its stunning depiction of Icelandic nature, the sustained tension of the story, the brilliant actors, the original framework, shots that are daring in duration as well as in narration ... the jury couldn't stop talking about it. Truly a film that must be seen in the cinema!
The jury had a special mention for ‘Dalva’ by Emmanuelle Nicot, who came to present the film along with protagonist Zelda Samson. In the movie, 12-year-old Dalva is abruptly taken away from her father. At first she seems completely lost, but soon it dawns on her that perhaps the relationship with her father was not what it seemed to be for her after all. A gripping drama starring Caroline Guimbal as the Director of Photography and Catherine Cosme who did the Production Design. Hear what the jury had to say.
‘Dalva’ moved us deeply. It is a particularly honest, human narrative. An intimate and compelling movie that, despite its heavy subject matter, doesn’t feel heavy at all. The acting of the lead actress and the other young actors particularly touched us. We praise the way this debut is consistent, in everything. In its purity, in its form, without judgment and straight to the heart.
‘Godland’ (Imagine Film Distribution) and “Dalva” (O'Brother Film Distribution) appear in theaters March 22.
The COOP! competition - powered by Camalot - contained notable Belgian and Dutch co-productions raised to a higher level by international cooperation. 'Le bleu du caftan' directed by Maryam Touzani impressed and was declared the winner of the COOP!-competition. 'Burning Days' directed by Emin Alper received a special mention.
The jury, which included chairman Wim Willaert, filmmaker Sarah Lederman, documentary filmmaker and head of Professionals & Talent at the Netherlands Film Festival Sterre de Jong, loyal member of the preselection team Ann Clauws and actress Jade Olieberg, chose the collaboration between Morocco, Belgium, France and Denmark out of eight selected films. The Moroccan Oscar entry was overloaded with praise.
Unanimously, we choose the tenderness, love and delicate sensibility of “Le bleu du caftan”. Rarely does a director manage to visualize so poetically the many facets of genuine love and sorrow. In the carefully and timeless sketched arena of the medina, surrounded by colorful textiles and brilliant wires that we as viewers could feel through the screen, three souls showed us the pure essence of contact, intimacy and devotion, but also the sharp pain of loss and grief.
The film from distributor Cinéart will be released in theaters March 29.
The jury insisted on giving another special mention to ‘Burning Days’ by director Emin Alper.
The eternal struggle between climate and man, the tensions in a small community and the powerlessness in ourselves to acknowledge the darkness in all of us - the small village in Turkey showed us the current issues of the world, but also the pitfalls that come with a position of power and the perspective of the outsider with principles in a conservative, corrupt system.
From now on, you can also watch ‘Burning Days’ in theaters.
The COOP! competition was created with the support of audio-visual rental company Camalot.
Eight films - made by an emerging generation of filmmakers - were selected for the SOON! competition. Although this year's selection contained a lot of quality, there was one clear winner of the evening: 'Safe Place' by Juraj Lerotić. The jury, made up of director Cecilia Verheyden and the Young Talents with actress Taeke Nicolaï, screenwriter Una Kreso, Jean Janssens who can be seen in 'Arcadia' as well as Ellie de Lange, and young actress Steffi Mercie, declared the autobiographical feature film debut the winner of the SOON! competition.
The movie of Juraj Lerotić is a slow-unfolding rollercoaster, a road movie that gets a different final destination than the main character hoped for. Everything about this film is right. The deliberately chosen placement of the camera, the stylistic wide shots that enhance the helplessness and sense of smallness, the distance in one scene and proximity in another. Small dialogues that resonate and manage to tell an entire book in one sentence.
A second honorable mention that evening went to ‘The Woodcutter Story’ from Mikko Myllylahti.
We are strongly impressed with how the director has brought an entire team into his world. As a viewer, you feel the crew and cast have given their all and stepped into the narrative with full devotion. It’s incredibly impressive in this debut film. We laughed and cried while searching for the meaning of our existence. Everything about this film, from the music to the visuals, the sound to the actors' direction, feels right, and you get the feeling that this story could only be told in this way.
‘The Woodcutter Story’ is by far the most artistic film of the selection. The jury summed it up nicely as "a film to fall in love with."
Both movies will not have a release in the Belgian theaters. Ostend Film Festival will be the last chance to watch those features.
With the short film competition - supported by Amplo, Flow, Camalot en SBC - Film Festival Ostend gives new filmmakers a platform to present refreshing and aesthetic productions to the general public. Three professional jury members, with producer and creative director Anthony Van Biervliet, screenwriter Amina Hatimm and filmmaker and former winner of this competition Camille Ghekiere, rated the four selected short films. The winner was ‘Stier & Schorpioen’ by Rik De Bruycker and Jaan Stevens, a documentary about the remarkable collaboration between virtuoso drummer Lander Gyselinck and king of Brussels rap Zwangere Guy. The jury's motivation was laudatory.
The winning film is a sensitive portrayal of, as one of the main characters himself describes it, "Something that two people wanted to try together." We get a disarming portrait of a creative journey marked by humor, unruliness and camaraderie. The creators cap this accurately, giving us an insight into a process in which ego gives way to artistic creation.
Members of the press can also highlight their festival favorites. The Unie van de Filmkritiek (UFK) presents the UFK Press Awards every year. The jury consists of experts who watch films professionally and declare their ultimate favorite. This year, the UFK jury consisted of Linda Crivits (FILM), Erik Stockman (HUMO), Igor Vandenberghe (Krant van West-Vlaanderen, De Zondagskrant) and Marc Bussens (Enola, Humbug, Snapshots, FILM and president of the UFK).
The UFK elected ‘Le bleu du caftan’ as Best Movie.
Because it is a strongly emotional and excellently acted and photographed intimate portrait full of subtle gestures and penetrating silences in which the marriage of a Moroccan couple is reduced to its bare essence: loving each other until death do them part.