Astra Film Festival has announced the winners of the 2016 edition: the Excellency Award went to director Cristi Puiu!

    Dumitru Budrala Dumitru Budrala

    On Saturday, the 22 of October 2016, the Gala Awards of Astra Film Festival 2016 took place at Thalia Hall in Sibiu, during which the award winning films of the 23rd edition were announced. Forty films were included in the four competitive sections: OutStanDox, Central and Eastern Europe, Romania and DocSchool.

    The films in the Astra Film Festival competition were judged by a jury consisting of 12 prominent professionals from the international film industry: Alexander Weiss, Barbara Orlicz-Szczypula, Claire Aguilar, Cristi Puiu, Ileana Bîrsan, Julia Teichmann, Martichka Bozhilova, Michael Stewart, Nick Bradshaw, Sara Garcia, Veton Nurkollari and Vlad Petri.

    The OutstanDox award was granted to the film Changa Revisited (directed by Peter Biella) for its rich simplicity, elegant editing and the ability to discover the universal in a certain place in the whole wide world.

    The Dazzling Light of Sunset (directed by Salome Jashi), a film that depicts the life of a small community through the eyes of a television reporter, made by a director who proposes a creative cinematic aesthetic and puts on screen amazing image compositions, was the jury’s choice for Best Central and Eastern Europe documentary award. In the same competitive section, the film Abdul & Hamza (directed by Marko Grba Singh) received The Special Jury Mention. The film brings a hot issue of contemporary world to the fore, namely migration, through a mix of reality and fiction in a fluid editing building an inovative piece of filmmaking.

    A Mere Breath (directed by Monica Lăzurean-Gorgan) – Best Romanian documentary award at Astra Film Festival 2016 follows for seven years the dynamics of a family from Copșa Mică: while the father is asking God for help so that his youngest daughter would cure of her progressive illness, withn the family there are transformations which irreversibly change the relations between them.

    The Romanian documentary award for best direction went to Botond Püsök for the film Angela. The close relationship between the director and the protagonist give us the opportunity to enter the intimate space of a young Roma woman who struggles to meet the expectations of the community in which she lives and to be herself at the same time. The trap of manipulation, so frequent in films about the Roma minority, is carefully avoided.

    The award for best student documentary – Best DocSchool Award was won by the films 1 Building and 40 People Dancing (directed by Miki Polonski) for the mature and assumed directorship, approach, characters, images and soundtrack, representing the cinematic picture of the relationship lodger-lodging space.

    For the ingenuity of the approach of a current global issue transported to the micro level of a local community, the jury offered the Award for original approach in a Docschool film to Those (directed by Krizstina Meggyes).

    In its 23 years of existence, AFF was often home for films and events about the most controversial and unsettling realities of our world, thanks to the efforts of filmmakers who dedicate years to immerse into and understand unknown or improperly known areas of society.  Astra Film has the honour to offer the Special Award to Liviu Tipuriță for his film The New Gypsy Kings, for theeffort of a dedicated filmmaker, for his contribution to gain access and to present the little known backstage and story of MANELE singers  from Romania.   

    Astra Film Festival has had the honour the offer the Excellency award to the filmmaker Cristi Puiu, for his outstanding contribution to world cinema.Mr Puiu is not by chance a long-time friend and collaborator of this festival and the of documentary cinema: ”there is only one cinema –he says, the term fiction and documentary are just administrative labels”. The entire motivation can be read here. His film Sieranevada opened this years edition of the festival and it is Romania’s entry for the 2017 Oscars for best foreign film.

    The awarded films can be seen again on Sunday, the 23 of October 2016, at 12:00 pm at Auditorium Hall, at 1:00 pm at Thalia Hall, and at 2:00 pm at Astra Film Cinema. Also on Sunday at 7:00 pm at Thalia Hall the film Sieranevada will be screened, and between 9:00 am and 11:00 pm, in the dome theatre in Piața Mare, the audience in Sibiu has the opportunity to view 360 degree films.

    The full programme on Sunday: http://astrafilm.ro/program-orar.aspx?day=7 

    Official promo: https://youtu.be/fSPshWltgt0