FNE at IFF Bratislava 2013: Slovenia Sweeps Awards with Class

FNE at IFF Bratislava 2013: Slovenia Sweeps Awards with Class Class enemy (Razredni sovražnik), dir. Rok Bicek

BRATISLAVA: Faced with the question of to be or not to be, the 15th Bratislava IFF decided to be, albeit in a reduced form, to the clear delight of the Slovenian director and actors of Class Enemy which won three main awards at the closing ceremony on 10 November 2013.

Once in a great while is there a surprising and moving moment in an awards ceremony. Film representatives are prominently seated in the audience, having been flown in at the last minute, or convinced to extend their stay by an extra night. And that was in part the case with Rok Bicek, director of Class Enemy (Triglav Film) who arrived in Bratislava in time for the closing ceremony, accompanied by actor Igor Samobor who was receiving the Best Actor Prize. Bicek was there to receive the FIPRESCI Prize. The team was clearly unprepared to hear the film announced as the winner of the Grand Prix as well, and made a triumphant march to the stage, hands clasped high in victory.

Along with the awards handed out at the art house cinema Kino Nostalgia, the first digitalized city cinema, came impassioned speeches from presenters, including Macedonian actress/producer Labina Mitevska who appealed to the prominent Slovak politicians in the closing night audience to support the festival.

Indeed, it was no secret that two months before the festival, it was uncertain whether it would be held at all, after the main sponsor pulled out. But with help from the Slovak Audiovisual Fund  the festival presented a slimmed-down version, moving it from its mall-based multiplex location to a growing network of art house cinemas in the capital city. Festival director Nenad Dukic told FNE that a smaller selection of films had a positive effect on the festival, since he was able to eliminate the second tier films that are needed to fill out a larger programme.

The festival was also a moving homecoming of sorts for American poet James Ragan, whose Slovak heritage is explored in Flowers and Roots (Arina). Ragan told FNE that the ovation and full house at the film’s premiere had him in tears. Ragan also headed up the main jury.

Slovak based international company Film Europe partnered with the festival by providing screening space in its newly opened Kino Film Europe cinema, as well as with the presentation of the Film Europe award in recognition of a Slovak film personality who has contributed to the recognition of Slovak filmmakers abroad. The prize went to Tana Pauhofova who starred in the HBO mini-series and film Burning Bush directed by Agnieszka Holland.

The complete list of winners follows:

Best Film: Class Enemy (Slovenia), dir. Rok Bicek

Best Director: Yuri Bykov for The Major (Russia) and Bobo Jelcic for A Stranger (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Best Actress: Anna Odell in The Reunion (Canada)

Best Actor: Igor Samobor in Class Enemy

Best Documentary Film: Stories We Tell, dir. Sarah Polley (Canada)

Best Short Film: Animals I Killed Last Summer, dir. Gustav Danielsson (Sweden)

FIPRESCI Prize: Class Enemy

Student Jury Award: The Reunion