On Saturday evening at the ceremony in Görlitz, the Neisse Fish were awarded to the winners at the 21st Neisse Film Festival. The sculptures, created by the Strawalde artist Andreas Kupfer, went to the winners in three competitions and the audience favorites.

Neisse Fish: Best Feature Film

The main prize -- the 10,000 Euro "Neisse Fish: Best Feature Film" award sponsored by the Saxon Ministry for Culture and Tourism -- went to the Polish entry "Tyle co nic" (Next to Nothing) by Grzegorz Dębowski. The jury, consisting of the German director, dramatic advisor and scriptwriter Olaf Held; the Polish director and scriptwriter Iwona Siekierzyńska; and the Czech festival director, film director and author Vavřinec Menšl had to decide between nine feature films, three each from Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. "A highly political and unfortunately far to seldom-seen perspective of people in great hardship. Caught between the requirements set in Brussels, by people who often do not know the actual local conditions, and life in the villages, a small community is on the verge of splitting apart... The film follows this societal split with precise camera and editing. It however also shows the hope for a better future for people who feed us all and thus should not be something we are indifferent about," find the jurors.

Neisse Fish: Best Performance

The award sponsored by the city of Zittau, for best acting, goes to Magdalena Cielecka and Marta Nieradkiewicz for their performance in the Polish entry "Lęk" (Anxiety) by Sławomir Fabicki. In its motivational statement, the jury praises how "the road movie draws its enormous persuasiveness from the interaction between the two main female characters. Their clashes and convergence as two sisters who have very little time left to prepare for the final goodbye is very persuasive and moving in a way that sticks with the viewer. They give each other the space to fill out their respective characters and are each both lead role and supporting role."

Neisse Fish: Best Production Design

Michal Lošonský has been honored for his work on the Slovakian-Czech feature film "Moc" (Strength) by Mátyás Prikler, being granted the Best Production Design award sponsored by the city of Görlitz. As the jury states, "Gray is the set of the film in which it's all about power and influence. This fits the imagery perfectly, while also not distracting unnecessarily from the ensemble's work. Very much along the lines of Berthold Brecht, the distortion of the scenery creates a strong focus on the narrative and the political explosiveness of the film."


Neisse Fish: Best Screenplay

The Neisse Fish for best screenplay, sponsored by the Region of Liberec, went to Klaudiusz Chrostowski for "Ultima Thule", which he also directed. The jury recognizes with this decision the minimalism of the film, which can be attributed to the script as well: "Leaving things out and telling only as much of what is important as is necessary for the viewer not to lose connection with the central theme of the film. Doing without dialogues and describing inner moods in imagery is a great art and unfortunately very rare in the sea of films that explain everything twice. This makes the film "Ultima Thule" so special."


Neisse Fish: Best Dokumentary Film

The Polish entry "Skąd dokąd" by Maciek Hamela has been granted the award in the amount of 5,000 Euros sponsored by the regional campaign "So geht sächsisch" for the best documentary in the trinational competition, in which nine films competed. The film shows the first days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and follows people who are fleeing in a dusty van. In their statement the jury, consisting of the German film director Cem Kaya, Czech producer and film director Veronika Janatková and the Belarussian director currently living in Poland, Andrej Kuciła, highlight the fact that "Through the close-up filming of passengers squeezed into the van and the focus on their stories as well as their experiences in the armed contflict, we viewers experience directly the terrible ramifications of war and destruction. The film is an emphatic reminder of what happens in every war, and a moving appeal to humanity and solidarity."

The Special Mention in the documentary film competition goes to the German entry "Landshaft" by Daniel Kötter.

Neisse Fish: Best Short Film

The award for best short film has gone to the German entry "The Silence of 600 Million Results" by Sophie Lahusen. The film is about a young woman and a question: pregnant -- abortion yes or no? Without seeing her face, her phone screen becomes a mirror of her personality. Emotional and funny voice messages, google searches or photos allow us to participate directly as she goes through her decision-making process. The decision for this award sponsored by the Student Council of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz with 1,500 Euros was made by Christoph Merg, German outfitter, set-decorator and rerquisites specialist ; Kateryna Ruzhyna, Ukrainian documentary film director living in Prague; and Ireneusz Grzyb, Polish film director, scriptwriter and editor. In their statement the jurors express how "the film shows the alienation today in communication while at the same time accepts this reality, which we are all equally subject(ed) to. It opens new perspectives on story-telling, and does this in an appropriate way."

Special Mention in the Short-Film Competition goes to the Czech entry "Ice Break" by Elvira Dulskaya.

Special Award

The Saxon Film Association (Filmverband Sachsen) has awarded the Special Award of the festival this year to the Polish documentary "Skąd dokąd" (In the Rearview) by Maciek Hamela. This prize honors a film, selected from among all films in the program, which is dedicated in particularly to the understanding of cultural and ethnic differences of various countries or the commonalities which exist. In their motivation statement the jury states: "How can you not talk about war and at the same time show it? How can you reach people with enormous emotions when these people are already tired from constant news about the war? The author of this film has managed to move the audience, to elicit tears and at the same time to give hope. Sometimes even an impulse to act."

Audience Awards for Feature and Documentary Film

The viewers' opinions have also been incuded: the audience favorite awards for full-length feature films shown at the 21st Neisse Film Festival, sponsored by the ZVON regional transportation company, went to the German feature film "Rohbau" by Tuna Kaptan and the German documentary "Echoes in Borderland" by Lara Milena Brose.









Audience Award Short Film

The audience's favorite short film is the Polish entry "Na żywo" (live broadcast) by Mara Tamkovich. This prize is sponsored by the city of Zgorzelec.