I wasn’t able to make the final day of the festival on Sunday but a press release reveals that the winner of the first European Features Competition was Volcano directed by Rúnar Rúnarsson, who received €3,000. I’m happy to concur with the judges and this was the winner I expected. It’s a fine film and the director deserves support – perhaps someone will now distribute the film in the UK? My only slight concern is that Volcano is in some ways a ‘typical’ festival prizewinner and sometimes it would be good to see the prize go to an animation like Arrugas (which did receive a ‘special mention’), a road movie like Avé or even a quirky satire like Adalbert’s Dream.
The winner of the Shine Shorts Competition was the German film Kinderspiel (Child’s Play) by director Lars Kornhoff. I wasn’t able to see the shorts in this competition so I can’t comment but David Wilson, Director of Bradford City of Film, said: “The winning film, Kinderspiel, was chosen due to the quality of the production. The film was really well shot and the jury thought it was very well acted. There was a real tenderness to the film and a plot line full of surprises. The music score was also noted for its writing and production and the way it worked with the film.”
I enjoyed my visits to the festival this year, managing six days in all. I haven’t posted on everything I saw and there are still two to come, but I might delay these as they are both due to open later this month. For the record, Ismaël Ferrhouki’s Les hommes libres was my favourite film of the festival and one of the films of the year so far. I also very much enjoyed the new version of Faust by Alexander Sokurov.I was grateful to get the chance to see Belle de jour again, on a 35mm print that although a bit scratchy on the reel changes looked good with excellent colour. (Belle de jour was part of the celebration of Pierre Clémenti’s film work.) I think that there are also postings from Rona and Keith to come.
So, congratulations to co-directors Tom Vincent and Neil Young for establishing a new competition and overseeing what appeared to be a successful transition of BIFF into a new era. Thanks too to Rachel McWatt for organising my press tickets. It will be interesting to see how this year’s festival comes through its evaluation and what then awaits us next year.