The jury of the 20th New Horizons International Film Festival awarded the Grand Prix to The Metamorphosis of Birds (A Metamorfose dos Pássaros) directed by Catarina Vasconcelos. The festival audience additionally chose the film by the Portuguese director as the best of 12 in-competition titles.
The awards go to a cinematic-essay that distills hypnotic images from memory and constructs tender words in the imagination that have the power to control time - to tame the past and heal the future. For a visual love letter to all our mothers, in that which is intimate and private draws us into its poetic space, becomes something personal and universal through the power of metaphor and the aura of fairy tales. For a humanistic and natural treatise on cultivating human ties and the ties connecting man with nature, reminding us that they interpenetrate in an organic and timeless way, and that we, like birds, seas and trees, are one of the many components of the Universe. For a work that gives comfort and brings hope, which we all need so much now — this is how the jury of the following judges justifies its verdict: Dorota Lech (programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival), Krzysztof Skonieczny (director), Monika Strzępka (theater director), Klaudia Śmieja (film producer) and Greg Zgliński (director, screenwriter, cinematographer).
The Grand Prix winner receives a cash prize of EUR 15,000.
The jury also decided to award a special distinction to the film The Trouble with Being Born, directed by Sandra Wollner.
During the closing gala we also learned the winners of the 11th American Film Festival.
Traditionally, the audience was the AFF jury, selecting their favorite films. The Surrogate directed by Jeremy Hersh was the favorite of the 13 features in the Spectrum section. The winner receives a $10,000 prize.
Audiences gave the most votes to Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks For Me directed by Abby Ginzberg from among 11 films in the American Docs section. The winning film receives a $5,000 award funded by BNY Mellon.
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Prof. Małgorzata Dajewska from the Faculty of Ceramics and Glass at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wrocław designed the four competition statuettes (Grand Prix, Audience Award, Spectrum, American Docs).
This year, for the first time, scholarships were awarded to the male and female directors of short films presented in the Shortlist section. One scholarship was awarded to Anna Kasińska, director of the film Synchronization for a film that is a woman, in which every element of the presented world becomes consistently her affirmation. The second scholarship was awarded to Antonio Galdamez, director of the film Noamia for his impressive filmmaking and the courage to speak about what is hidden and inconvenient.
The scholarship recipients were selected by the New Horizons Association Team, and OKRE funded each winner a scholarship worth of PLN 5 000.
For the third time, the festival is awarding the Zuzanna Jagoda Kolska Award for the youngest artist taking part in New Horizons.
The award, which this year went to Suzanne Lindon, the director of the film Spring Blossom (Seize printemps) shown in the festival program, is a gesture of support for the author's talent.
According to the funders of the prize, the goal of the award is to encourage filmmakers to tell stories in the language of their own sensitivity, to persevere on the uncertain artistic road of development. The Zuzanna Jagoda Kolska Award is, above all, a warm and vivid remembrance of Zuzanna's now-absent voice. We want to reward courage. To support youth. To provide an opportunity for development. To believe that every bit of help carries goodness onward. To remember Zuzia.
The award is granted by the Zuzanna Jagoda Kolska Foundation and is funded by Grażyna Błęcka-Kolska, Jan Jakub Kolski, Ted Leszczyński and Julia Crystal Factory from Piechowice. Sebastian Pietkiewicz designed the statuette provided to the winner.