After four days of brilliant student films from all over the world, the 5th International Student Film Festival STIFF will be closing on October 21st in “Art kino”, Rijeka.
A total of 44 films, of which 19 fiction, 16 animated and 9 documentaries; coming from 22 countries around the world, have competed for prizes in each of the categories. The selection committee for fiction film Toma Zidić, Ely Chevillot and Sajra Subašić awarded the film Horizon (Giancarlo Sanchez, Netherlands) as Best Fiction Film. “The film was noticed for an unobtrusive display about how it is important to cure traumas and the struggle till we realize that, through a character that was built out in detail and in many layers, a character with whom we felt happiness, sadness and with whom we exploded in the end as we realized that a long – lasting trauma cannot be hidden under the water just like that but that we need to talk about it. It is a complex story about family relations, friendship and colleagues, about the will to succeed and the inner demons that we do not need to fight, but to understand and embrace in order to reach that success. Yet all the elements were put together by well paced editing in a simple way which allows you to stay in the story till the end and long after the film is finished.”
The same selection committee specifically awarded the film Nothing New under the Sun (Damian Kocur, Poland) “because of its very special way to question the audience. It plays with the watcher’s judgement upon the main character, leading him/her to think of him as a naive person, then as a mean boy, then as a complex human being. It depicts us how someone can change, both from internal and external aspects, as he is in different contexts, with different people, read differently and with a different amount of power. As it’s telling us about masculinity with a specific approach, it’s also dealing with identity and identification in a strongly clever way. It’s very well directed, and it leaves the audience with a lot to think about, both on social and ethical perspectives.”
The selection committee for documentary film: Zoran Krema, Maximilian Feldmann, and Betty Stojnić have awarded the film Looking at Others (Dennis Stormer, Romania) as Best Documentary Film. The explanation begins by citing Susan Sontag: “Photographs objectify: they turn an event or a person into something that can be possessed.“ „Self-aware, tactful, yet sincere, Looking at Others channels the charisma of its protagonists into a film which challenges the relationship between the observer and the observed. The Roma sisters, Klara and Margareta, resist the objectification spoken of by Sontag, turning the power dynamic around and forcing the viewer to self-consciously reflect on their own expectations of the Other. The film doesn’t give simple answers – it rather elaborates the blessing and curse of consumer capitalism building bridges between different cultures, as well as commodifying authenticity and selling experience, no matter how superficial. Still, Stormer’s film resists the temptation to demonise any one individual, preferring a nuanced and delicate approach. For its success in humanising and de-objectifying its subjects, as well as allowing them to return the Gaze, the STIFF jury enthusiastically awards Looking at Others with the title of Best Documentary.”
The selection committee for animated film: Matea Milić, Noemi Ribić, and Elena Apostolovski, were “bombarded with the perfect interpretation of the present”, and have awarded the film I’m Not a Robot (Lina Tsivian, Israel) as Best Animation Film.
A special recognition was given to the film Count Your Curses (Lorène Yavo, Belgium) “for a fantastic screenplay in which nothing is superfluous and everything that seems apparently seems fresh”.
UPDATE: During the festival, the audience also voted for the best film. The audience awarded Croatian documentary by Lidija Špegar, “Where to go?”.