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Grosshennersdorf - 29 April 2021
On the 18th of May, the 18th Neisse Film Festival was to begin in the Three-Country-Corner on the Neisse River. Due to the current Corona situation, however, the Festival will not be able to take place as planned. The films which have been selected and a portion of the accompanying program will now be shown or take place from 16-19 September.
"The organisation of the Neisse Film Festival with more than 20 venues in three countries is a challenge even under normal circumstances," explains Ola Staszel of the three-person festival leadership team. "In light of the ongoing pandemic, closed cinemas and an unpredictable development in the coming weeks," she continues, "a solid preparation and certain - and safe - film screenings and events is at the moment not possible, not even in the originally-planned alternatives such as open-air events. For these reasons we and our partners and sponsors have decided to postpone this year's festival program to a later date, in September."
The Neisse Film Festival has been presenting current feature films, documentaries and short films each May in the three-country-region including Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. What began with the idea of showing films in three countries has developed into a cultural "bridge" for film fans and arthouse cinemas from these neighbour countries, and has become an important meeting point for national and international film-makers and representatives of the film business. The program, drawing from all three countries and more, traditionally offers three competitions and various thematic film series, which in particular give a glimpse into interrelationships of various sorts between the peoples of eastern Europe and their cinematic treatment of the past and present, and also presents events such as concerts, readings, exhibitions and parties.
On 18 May, the original opening day of the festival, the festival organizers will announce the exact program which you can expect in September. Current information is available online at www.neissefilmfestival.net.
Großhennersdorf/Ebersbach, 26 September 2020
It is Sunday tomorrow, and also the last day of the 17th Neisse Film Festival in the three-country-corner on the Neisse River. In the corona-induced special "Wild Edition" this year, the trinational film festival has presented approximately 60 films in three competition categories and further special-topic films, as well as an accompanying program of exhibitions, film discussions and concerts at 15 locations in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The Neisse Fish awards created by Strahwalde's artist Andreas Kupfer were presented to the winners on Saturday evening at the Award Ceremony in the Filmtheater Ebersbach.
Michael Kretschmer, Minister-President of the state of Saxony and a patron of the Neisse Filmfestival, pointed out in his greeting that this festival is unique, one-of-a-kind. He goes on to say, "Here you find a program which has been created in close cooperation between Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany and takes up current societal topics in a special way. It is good that the challenges around the climate change and structural change are in focus this year. These topics have namely been pushed aside a bit during the pandemic, out of the center of focus in public debate. I appreciate it therfore very much, that the festival organizers have had the courage to develop a corona-conform concept so that the event can take place even in this year."
The "Three-Country Film Prize" of €10,000 for the best feature film, endowed by Saxon's Minister of Science, Culture and Tourism, went to the German submission "Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwenk. The jury, made up of German film director Philipp Eichholtz, Polish set designer Jagna Dobesz and the Czech director Václav Kadrnka have had to choose from between nine films, three each from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. "All the characters in "Jiyan" feel real, like real people," according to the jurors in their statement. They continue: "That makes this drama about two refugees in Berlin so heart-rending, captivating and sad. The film portrays the current humanitarian crisis via original, suggestive, courageous and uncompromising cinematics. It is a film that gives you something to think about long after the credits have run. Süheyla Schwenk and her team have created a small masterpiece. We wish a large audience for this masterpiece."
Süheyla Schwenk was also awarded the prize for the best production design in her work "Jiyan"; this award is sponsored by the city of Goerlitz. The deciding factor for this jury was, "... the masterful combination of realism with elements of the emotional production design; this combination is somehow magical while at the same time giving the impression of a documentary film."
The award for best acting, endowed by the city of Zittau, has been awarded to Milan Ondrík and František Beleš for their moving portrayal of father and son in "Nech je svetlo" (Let There Be Light) by Marko Škop (SK/CZ). The jury points out in particular the challenge faced in simultaneously presenting suspense and intimacy in crisis situations. This was accomplished extremely well by both actors. The Neisse Fish for best screenplay, sponsored by the District of Liberec, goes to the Czech-Slovak film "Vlastníci" (The Owners) by Jiří Havelka, who also wrote the screenplay. Last autumn this comedy, superbly cast and of intimate theater character, was a surprise success in Czech cinemas and has already been awarded the Český lev or Czech Lion, the Czech film prize, three times.
"Sólo" by Artemio Benki has been awarded the prize for best documentary film, endowed with €5,000 by "So geht sächsisch.". The film is a universal and touching film protrayal of a charismatic protagonist whose inner conflicts are at war with his artistic calling. The jury – Ondřej Kamenický, director of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival; film critic and programmer Ingrid Beerbaum and Adam Papliński of the platform "Pitch the Doc" – emphasize in their statement: "It is the simple, universal stories that move us the most. After a long period of social isolation in a psychiatric clinic, a talented young man and artist attempts to fight his way back into normal life. The director accompanies him in a sensitive way, without unnecessary pathos or sensationalism, in his fight to reintigrate himself in society and follow his creative obsession. With deep respect for its protagonist, the film strikes a ginger balance between close observation and human sympathy."
Honorable mentions in this category go to "Wieloryb z Lorino" (Whale from Lorino) by Maciej Cuske (PL) and "Zustand und Gelände" (Status and Terrain) by Ute Adamczewski (DE).
The prize for best short film goes to the Czech entry "Dcera" (Daughter) by Daria Kashcheeva. In this film, a young woman remembers an event from her childhood, when she found a dead bird. She sought comfort from her father in vain, he had no time for love and compassion... The decision on this award which has been endowed by the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Goerlitz Student Council, was made by the Germanactor, musician and filmmaker Jürgen Heimüller, the Czech curator Jana Čížkovská and the Polish filmmaker Michał Hytroś, who won last year's short film prize on the Neisse. The jury on the film: "Contemporary computer animation has a very strong voice – not only in this year's film selection, but in European short film production in general. We have decided to reflect this fact in our decision and to award this prize to an animated film. In her film “Tochter”, Daria Kashcheeva takes us with her into a very special world. Raw paper maché figures in fragile, handmade settings tell the story of a touching conflict between father and daughter, a refreshing alternative to the childish, stylized, high-gloss pictures in American blockbuster cinema. With sophisticated camera work and playing intensively with blurred pictures, Kashcheeva breathes intimate life into the scenes, which takes us into the memories of a childhood full of uncomfortableness, misunderstandings and voicelessness. In particular voicelessness – in the entire film, not a word is spoken. Instead, the excellent sound design causes us to long ever so more intensively for a word of comfort. A film that does more than give wings to our imagination."
An honorable mention in the short-film category goes to Nawojka Wierzbowska for "Bajka na niespokojny sen" (Nighttime Story for Not-Peaceful Sleep).
The Saxon Film Union (Filmverband) has granted its Special Prize this year to the film project "Pan Müller - hier geblieben!" (Pan Müller - stay here!) by Patrick Weißig. The film looks at the life of Jan Müller, born 1936 in Georgswalde, today Jirikov (CZ), and who can bear witness first-hand to the changes in a region. The voting for the audience favorite will continue until Sunday evening this year in light of Corona-related restrictions. The audience favorites will then be notified and the Neisse Fish delivered to the winners.
The 18th Neisse Film Festival will take place from 18-23 May 2021.
Three-Country Film Prize of Saxon's Minister of Art for the best feature film (endowed by the Saxon Ministry for Science, Culture and Tourism): "Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwen (DE) - endowed with €10,000
Best acting (endowed by the City of Zittau): Milan Ondrík and František Beleš for "Nech je svetlo" (Let There Be Light) by Marko Škop (SK/CZ) - endowed with €1,000
Best production design (endowed by the City of Goerlitz): "Jiyan" (Life) by Süheyla Schwen (DE), production design: Süheyla Schwen - endowed with €3,000
Best screenplay (endowed by the District of Liberec): "Vlastníci" (The Owners) by Jiří Havelka (CZ/SK), screenplay: Jiří Havelka - endowed with €1,000
Best documentary film (endowed by So geht sächsisch.): "Sólo" by Artemio Benki (CZ/FR/AG/ATL) - endowed with €5,000
Honorable mention in the documentary film category: "Wieloryb z Lorino" (Whale from Lorino) by Maciej Cuske (PL) and "Zustand und Gelände" (Status and Terrain) by Ute Adamczewski (DE)
Best short film (endowed by the Student Council of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz): "Dcera" (Daughter) by Daria Kashcheeva (CZ) - endowed with €1,000
Honorable mention in the short film category: "Bajka na niespokojny sen" (Night-time Story for Not-Peaceful Dreams) by Nawojka Wierzbowska (PL)
Clips from all prize-winning films can be downloaded here:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/q8dhvhyki590919/AABqj4HXT3gR7vpjFis9byQna?dl=0
Impressions from the award ceremony are available here:https://www.dropbox.com/sh/p9d70z5vjwsthm0/AAC0DUONEpJBPNhDnOCcIl9ha?dl=0
Pic. 1 (Andreas Friedrich, Ola Staszel, Antje Schadow)
(© Hannes Rönsch)
Pic. 2 (Antje Schadow, Andreas Friedrich, Ola Staszel)
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