The awards of the 9th STIFF travel around the world

The last day of the 9th Student International Film Festival was marked by the award ceremony where the winners of the best documentary, fiction, and animated films were announced. Between over 700 submitted and 40 selected films, the awards went to Russia, Poland, France, Singapore, Germany, Syria, and Israel.

Three-member juries of the 9th STIFF – for fiction, documentary, and animation, had their hands full choosing the best from each category in this year’s Student International Film Festival.

Documentary film juryJelena Androić, Jasmina Beširević, and Anja Matić awarded the film My Friend Alexander Grigorievich, directed by Pavel Zelenov (Russian Federation, 2022, St. Petersburg State Institute of Cinematography and Television) with the explanation: The award for the best documentary film goes to Pavel Zelenov for his film My Friend Alexandar Grigorievich. We selected this film for its nuanced portrayal of the Russian night, as well as the night of a person’s life. The film stands out in its timelessness, careful shot composition, unobtrusive approach and its warmth.

Special mention went to Light Years, directed by Monika Proba (Poland, 2021, Munk Studio – Polish Filmmakers Association) with the explanation: The special mention goes to Monika Proba for her film Light Years. The film stands out for its directing and its concise and clear dramaturgy. The director has superbly conveyed the main protagonist’s playfulness, which is also the theme of this year’s Festival, and she successfully portrayed the greatness of friendship.

Nadia Cvitanović, Tomasz Śliwiński, and Nina Damjanović decided the winner of the fiction film category. The award went to the director Anne-Sophie Bailly for her movie  The Midwife (France, 2021, La Fémis). The jury described the movie as surprisingly contemporary in showing the dynamics between women and men, although it is set in the medieval ages. The director managed to capture the atmosphere of the times. Great acting, cinematography, and rhythm fully immersed us in the story and kept us thinking about the film long after the screening.

Special mention went to the film Lili alone (China, Hong Kong, Singapore, 2021, Square Eyes), directed by Zou Jing with the explanation: Lili alone impressed how a minimalistic approach created such a strong emotional impact on the viewer. Although a local story, it has a universal meaning considering human dignity.

Martina Meštrović, Natko Stipaničev, and Laura Čulek decided on the animated film award. The award went to the film Have a nice Dog (Germany, Syria, 2022, Filmuniversität Potsdam, Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF, University of Film and Television) made by Syrian-german director Jalal Maghout. The award for the best-animated film goes to a film with a strong expressive visual style conveying all the weight of the war situation. The author skilfully portrays a lonely man and his fantasy of freedom. With no chance of escape, sharing the fate of millions of migrants, the individual drowns in a black-and-white labyrinth of collective madness, claustrophobia, and hopelessness.

Special mention went to the film Golden Margarite (Israel, 2021, Bezalel Academy of Art and Design), directed by Keren Karasik. The film Golden Margarite is a coming-of-age story of three young people in which the author skilfully plays with the contrast of youth, the lifeless city it lives in, and the city’s inhabitants who have given up on life. With the help of an interesting visual style, the film uses a clash of colors with the unforgiving grey surrounding, giving insight into the unique charm of growing up in such a harsh urban environment.

Each jury was formed of one former participant director, one film professional, and one student. Besides the jury awards, the festival visitors decided on the Audience Choice Award that went to the movie Howling by Bartosz Brzezinski (Poland, 2021., Warsaw Film School).

Ela Štefanec made the design of this year’s awards; a visual artist working in the field of sculpture, object, ambiance, and performance, winner of the Austrian Red Carpet Art Award, and independent artist and member of the Croatian Association of Fine Artists Rijeka. Student Ivana Kutni Mihić signs the visual identity of this year’s edition of the Festival, and Gea Rajić designs and implements it.

The 9th STIFF Festivaltook place from the 24th to the 27th of November in Rijeka’s Art-kino cinema and gathered numerous international guests, authors, film workers, and film lovers. Forty films were screened in eleven competition programs and five outside of competition; discussions with the authors completed the film experience, and an international exhibition, all GAME no PLAY, was opened. The workshop Arcade under the moderation of Kristine Kekice Paunovski, Petre Čargonje, and Natalije Stefanović at the Gallery SKC. The visitors had a chance to experience the world of games and imagination for four days.

Student International Film Festival – STIFF was produced in 2014 by Filmaktiv and the Student Culture Centre of the University of Rijeka (SKC) with the goal of presenting the best of current student and debutant film production in the world.

STIFF  is supported by the Croatian Audiovisual Centre — HAVC, the City of Rijeka, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, Stroom Den Haag, the “Kultura nova” Foundation,  and the National Foundation for Civil Society Development.