The award ceremony where the Neisse Fish sculptures created by the local artist Andreas Kupfer from Strahwalde were granted to the winners on Saturday evening. Here is an overview of all winners:
Neisse-Fish: Best Feature Film
The top prize of the festival, sponsored by the Saxon Ministry of the Sciences and Fine Arts with €10,000, the "Neisse Fish for Best Feature Film" was granted to Alaska by Max Gleschinski. The jury, comprised of German cameraman Frank Amann, Polish screenplay author and director Piotr Chrzan and the Czech actress Alena Doláková, had nine feature films to choose between; three each from Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. The jurors state: "The film takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of human experiences and feelings. Thanks to the talents of the filmmaker, we can watch the figures as they wrestle with the truth about themselves and the truth about their relationships with other people. The film is a wonderful proof that cinema, made for cinema, is not yet dead."
Neisse-Fish: Best Performance
The award sponsored by the city of Zittau, for best acting, goes to Linda Pöppel for her performance in "Tamara" by Jonas Ludwig Walter. In their statement of motivation, the jury highlights: "Linda Pöppel is absolutely authentic in the role of Tamara. She exposes herself emotionally but her performance is reduced, at places almost minimalistic. Instead of emotional exaggeration she offers embodied emotions and brilliant movements. She masters the entire film without any second of hesitation."
Neisse-Fish: Best Production Design
Antonín Šilar has been awarded the prize for best production design, sponsored y the city of Görlitz, for his work on the Czech feature film "Běžná selhání" (Ordinary Failures) by Cristina Groșan. "The production design elevates itself in its support of the intention of stage direction and film. The production designer challenges the dubious desire for perfection in his approach to architecture and design. The crowded constrictedness of the rooms creates the tangible experience of the characters' increasing discomfort and their resistance, and makes their outbreaks understandable. The film shows a Prague of glas, steel and concrete unlike we've ever seen before," states the jury.
Neisse-Fish: Best Screenplay
The Neisse Fish for the best screenplay, sponsored by the Liberecký kraj, went to Fabian Stumm for "Knochen und Namen" (Bones and Names), who also directed the film. With the prize, the jury honored the "... irony-laden unpredictability and non-obvious conversations, which we could listen to endlessly." Also in their statement, the jury expresses that "[t]he author of the film captures the surprising yet inescapable dynamic of human life." The Polish entry,
"Chleb i sól" (Bread and Salt) by Damian Kocur, has received special mention in the feature film competition.
Neisse-Fish: Best Documentary
The Polish entry "Lombard" by Łukasz Kowalski has received the award for best documentary film in the trinational competition with nine productions competing for the €5,000 prize sponsored by the local campaign "So geht sächsisch." The jury members, German director Ute Adamczewski, the Polish director Michal Kawecki and the Czech film production assistant Walter Nagy highlight with their statement: "With great perseverance the filmmakers of „Lombard/Pawnshop“ observe the economic and social microcosm of a retail business in trouble. It is due to the succinct and seemingly minimalist cinematic means with which the place, its people and their relationships are depicted, that we, as spectators have the chance to witness and mind the conditions in which many people are in today. It is precisely in this, that the film gives us an idea that we all are not only vendors and consumers in a world of goods, but that it is the way we deal with each other that counts and that solidarity is the most important currency in our world today."
Neisse-Fish: Best Short Film
The prize for the best short film has been awarded to the German entry "Volver al Sur" (Returning South) by Sofia Ayala. The film tells of a life-threatening undertaking: Two siblings carry their father's dead body over the border to the south, to bury him in their homeland. This prize, sponsored with €1,000 by the Student Council of the University of Applied Sciences Zittau/Görlitz, was decided upon by the German screeplay author Arndt Steper, the Polish filmemaker Katarzyna Wilk and the Czech screenplay author, filmmaker and curator Lucia Kajánková. In the competition there were a total of 34 films of many genres - from fictional to documentary to animated or experimental. In their statement on their decision, the jury says: "The award winner is a powerful and very atmospheric short film which skillfully transmits its moving message on all relevant cinematic levels."
Honorable mention in the short film competition went to the Polish entries "Gruby Melon" (Big Phat Party) by Kinga Pudełek and "Dzieci i Ryby" (Out of Water) y Gracjana Piechula.
The Saxon Film Association has given its Special Prize this year to the Polish feature film "Chleb i Sól" (Bread and Salt) by Damian Kocur. The prize honors a film selected from among the entire program which portrays in a special way the understanding for cultural and ethnic differences between different countries or the existing commonalities between them. In their statement, the jury expresses: "With his debut feature film, casted solely with amateur actors, the director successfully depicts the attitude towards life of young people in provincial areas and at the same time puts the consequence of intolerance into clear focus."
Audience Awards for Feature Film and Documentary
The audience's opinion was also included -- the audience favorite prizes for feature films from the program of the 20th Neisse Film Festival, sponsored by the local transport association (ZVON), went to the German feature film "Franky Five Star" by Birgit öller and the German documentary film "Drei Frauen" by Maksym Melnyk.
Audience Award Short Film
Favorite short film was the Czech entry "Wszystko w porządku, ziemniaki w żołądku" (Everything's Fine, Potatoes in Line) by Piotr Jasiński. The prize has been sponsored by the Sächsiche Zeitung newspaper.
All prizewinning films can be seen on Sunday at the KunstBauerKino in Grosshennersdorf, in the Kulturfabrik Meda in Mittelherwigsdorf, in Kronenkino Zittau and in CamilloKino in Görlitz.