The astra film festival 2021 has announced its winners

    Us Against Us (Andra Tarara, Romania), Night Nursery (Moumouni Sanou, Burkina Faso), Wolves at the Border (Martin Páv, Czech Republic) and Milkless (Lidia Ilie, Romania) are the big winners of AFF2021.

    Best directors: Olga Lucovnicova („My Uncle Tudor”) – Romania Section and Maja Novaković („Then Comes the Evening”) – DocSchool Section

    Ten awards were offered at the Astra Film Festival at the end of eight days in which the audience had the opportunity to participate in 200 cultural events. The jury, made up of cultural personalities from Romania and abroad, had to evaluate 41 films entered in the four competition sections - most of them presented in Sibiu in national or world premiere. The best film of the Romania Section was awarded to `Us against us` (directed by Andra Tarara - Romania, 2021).

    Cel mai bun film noi impotriva noastraCel mai bun film_noi împotriva noastră - The best movie_Us against us

    The award for Best Director of the Romania Section was given to Olga Lucovnicova, author of the film `My uncle Tudor` (Belgium, Hungary, Portugal - 2021). The best documentary in the New Voices in Documentary Cinema Section was awarded to a production from Burkina Faso, `Night Nursery` (directed by Moumouni Sanou, 2021). The best documentary of the Central and Eastern Europe Section was awarded to `Wolves at the Border` (directed by Martin Páv - Czech Republic, 2021). The production `Milkless` (directed by Lidia Ilie - Romania, 2021) was awarded best documentary of the DocSchool Section.

    The 28th edition of the Astra Film Sibiu festival will remain in the memory of the participants due to the quality of the films and the discussions generated by them, the addressed topics which were of the greatest importance for the times we live in and the messages transmitted through the screenings, the special `Lifeboats` programme, and the Ride-in @AFF and People and Bears campaigns.

    "We have reached the end of a series of screenings on the Astra screens, projections among windmills, debates, concerts and special events. We are grateful to the members of the jury, who joined our efforts to evaluate the films of this edition, one in which the mastery of the documentary profession shines, and I thank all the guests in the film industry, who contributed significantly to the success the DokTank program, helping young documentary filmmakers to develop new non-fiction film projects, and transmitting the secrets of the profession to new generations of documentary filmmakers ", said Dumitru Budrala, the founding director of the Astra Film Festival in Sibiu.

    The Romania Section, two awards and a special mention

    Best film of the Romania Section was awarded to `Us against us` (directed by Andra Tarara - Romania, 2021). The jury appreciated "appreciated the collaborative work of two filmmakers from different generations, and the communication they achieved, father and daughter, through the medium of film."

    The award for Best Director of the Romania Section was given to Olga Lucovnicova, author of the film `My Uncle Tudor` (Belgium, Hungary, Portugal - 2021), `for the artistically organic way the director used her camera to explore her childhood memories and her traumatic relationship with her uncle. The camera's close-ups powerfully juxtapose intimate details of a seemingly idyllic past with the shock of the revealing conversations with someone who played such an important although not very welcome role in her early life`.

    The jury also awarded a Special Mention to the film “Occasional Spies” (directed by Oana Giurgiu - Romania, 2021) `for the originality the director re-enacted an unknown chapter of 2WW blending the personal with the wider historical context. In narrating the deeds of a group of young volunteers the director achieved to demonstrate the courage and the idealism that is needed for such great acts of heroism`, said the three members of the jury (Dimitris Kerkones - programmer at Thessaloniki International Film Festival; Cecilia Felméri - director and professor at the Faculty of Directing of Sapientia University in Cluj; Costi Rogozanu - writer and journalist).

    New Voices in Documentary Cinema Section. The big prize goes to Burkina Faso.

    The best documentary in the New Voices in Documentary Cinema Section was awarded to a production from Burkina Faso, `Night Nursery` (directed by Moumouni Sanou, 2021).

    The jury’s motivation: `A very well-made African documentary, made by an emerging African filmmaker that allowed us to see a very far away reality, yet one that seemed very close to our own, and that reflects on post-colonial issues. A reality portrayed with a lot of honesty, sensibility and compassion – without any obvious interference from the director, nor from the camera.  Given this is the New Voices Competition, we felt it’s even more appropriate to give the award to a first-time filmmaker, encouraging him to keep thriving in telling unique compelling stories`.

    A Special Mention was also given to “For Your Comfort and Your Safety” (directed by Frédéric Mainçon - France, 2021), due to the original subject `that has never been tackled before and for the way the film managed to give a voice to the unseen faces guarding our museums. Last but not least, we have appreciated the contrast between the fine contemporary art and the meaningful stories of the people guarding them and us`, said the members of the jury (Laura Mușat - film producer, editor in chief of Films in Frame, founder of ADFR; Ana Grgic - researcher specializing in Balkan and Eastern European cinema; Mihai Andrei Leaha - audio-visual researcher, anthropologist, filmmaker and educator, living in Brazil).

    Two awards for the Central and Eastern Europe Section

    The award for best documentary of the Central and Eastern Europe Section was given to `Wolves at the Border` (directed by Martin Páv - Czech Republic, 2021). The jury’s motivation: `Martin Pav skilfully crafts a story that explores themes of ecological and environmental change, distrust of outsiders, and how polarized opinions and entrenched perspectives undermine opportunities for understanding and collaboration (…) The film is a well-made piece of documentary cinema produced by a talented director on topics relevant to contemporary Central and Eastern Europe yet relatable to audiences everywhere.`.

    The film `Nun of Your Business` (directed by Ivana Marinić Kragić - Serbia, Croatia, 2021) was awarded a Special Mention because it `sheds light on an often-hidden world under forms of apparent normality, such as love between women in convents. She creatively incorporates narrative resources of fiction and animation film into the language of the documentary`.

    The jury of the Central and Eastern Europe section was made up of Joan Gonzàlez - Director of DocsBarcelona, executive producer, filmmaker and editor; Smith Shane - Program Director at Hot Docs; Constantin Pârvulescu - principal researcher in film and media studies at the Babeș-Bolyai University in Cluj.

    Promising films in the DocSchool Section. Three of them received awards

    The production `Milkless` (directed by Lidia Ilie - Romania, 2021) was considered the best documentary of the DocSchool Section. `We liked its simplicity, its intimacy, and the creative way of telling a multi-layered generational story. It captures the emotional cost of migration in the European Union. It has at its heart the inevitability of change`, says the jury.

    The award for Best Director of the DocSchool Section was given to director Maja Novaković - `Then Comes the Evening` (Serbia, Bosnia, 2021). `The jury awards the Best Director to an observational film that captures a tender relationship in a timeless world in a very cinematic way. We loved the way in which the director uses small details and gestures to tell the story of both loneliness and connection with nature`, said the members of the jury.

    The DocSchool Section was also awarded a Special Mention for the `Dear Darkness` film (directed by Samuel N. Schwarz - Germany, 2021). `The film explores the experience of blindness in a visual, imaginative way, opening a window to a different way of experiencing the world`, was the motivation of the three members of the jury (Monica Sebestyen - producer, director of Cinema ARTA Cluj, co-founder, and co-director of the UrbanEye Film Festival; Letenyei László - film producer and professor of cultural and visual anthropology at Budapest Business School; Liviu Tipuriță - director and film producer in Great Britain).

    Strong message for responsibility

    The event was also attended by Alexandra-Maria Bocșe, State Counselor-Climate and Sustainability Department, who presented the High Patronage diploma awarded to Astra Film Festival. The diploma was received by Csilla Kato, the Artistic Director of the Festival.

    The most important film event of the autumn ended with a strong message for responsibility towards planet Earth, an idea that was reflected in one of the main themes of the festival - the Climate Collapse Alert. The message was sent through the special Lifeboats programme, and through the People and Bears and the Ride-in @AFF campaigns (500 people responded to the invitation of the organizers and came by bike to the film screenings).

    But the Astra Film Festival does not end here. Until September 19th, at 11:59pm, AFF Online presents 43 titles from the official selection. Programme and tickets, here: https://www.astrafilm.ro/ro/despre-aff-online

    Organized by: Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation.

    With the support of: The Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography, The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu, The Austrian Cultural Forum, The Filmmakers Union.

    Co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the City Hall of Sibiu and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.

    The Astra Film Festival takes place under the High Patronage of the President of Romania.

    Sponsors: HBO, DPD România, Materom Autohaus, Cinelab, Ursus, Nod Pub, The Refresh, Kulinarium, Sonne Restaurant Cafe 

    Media partners: TV5 Monde, Rock FM, Radio România Cultural, RFI România, Hotnews, News.ro, Newsweek, Spotmedia, Scena9, Avantaje, Liternet, Cineuropa, Film New Europe, Movienews, All About Romanian Cinema, Films in frame, Urban,ro, Turnul sfatului, Sibiu 100%, Tribuna, Ora de Sibiu, Știri de Sibiu, Capital cultural, Zile și nopți, Revista Transilvania, Hermanstaedter

    Communication partner: PiArt Vision