FNE at MECEFF: Poland's Little Rose Wins Best Film

By Iulia Blaga

    MEDIAS, ROMANIA:Jan Kidawa-Błoński's Różyczka/Little Rose won the Best Film Award at the firstCentral European Film Festival (www.meceff.ro) which wrapped in September 11 in the small Romanian medieval town of Medias.

    An audience of almost 5,000 people, a success for the small town, turned out for the first edition of the festival.

    While Romania already has numerous film festivals, MECEFF had two trumps from the beginning: it came with a clear plan, to show Central European films (with a competition of films that won national prizes in their original countries in 2010), and was hosted in a charming town, relatively unknown by the foreign tourists.

    The films came from Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Romania (unfortunately, negotiations with Slovenia failed). Films were screened in competition and also in a parallel section. This year's invited guest nation, Israel, sent a delegation of important films and guests. The festival honored Jiri Menzel with a six-film retrospective, and the Romanian documentary filmmaker Copel Moscu.

    One of the festival's highlights were the eight restored Yiddish long features produced between 1923 and 1938, sent by the National Center for Jewish Film (www.jewishfilm.org) at Brandeis University - Waltham, Massachusetts. The films were screened in the hall of the sinagogue of Mediaş, an old and beautiful building which had its last religious service 15 years ago.

    The international jury gave the Best Film Award to Jan Kidawa-Błoński's Różyczka/Little Rose (Poland). Romania's Florin Şerban received the Best Director Award for If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle/Eu când vreau să fluier, fluier. András Nagy received the Best Cinematography Prize, awarded by Kodak, for Szabolcs Hajdu's Bibliothèque Pascal (Hungary).

    Ursula Strauss received the Best Acting Award for In Another Lifetime/Vielleicht in einem anderen Leben by Elisabeth Scharang (Austria). The jury decided another award on the spot and gave a Special Prize to a film that wasn't in the competition, Valley of Strenght/Gei Oni by the Dan Wolman (Israel). Percy and Felix Adlon's Mahler on the Couch received the Audience Award.