Preceding the final screening in CIFF2023, The Holdovers at The Triskel this evening, we were delighted to announce the Feature Film Award Winners at the 68th CIFF. Congratulations to all.
And the winners are…
Cork International Film Festival Youth Jury Award
Dreaming in Between (Nigekireta Yume)
Directed by Ninomiya Ryûtarô
A life-changing situation leaves a high school vice principal taking stock of his life and reassessing the relationships he has with family, friends and students.
One of the gems from this year’s ACID Cannes, Ryutaro Ninomiya’s fourth film is a gentle study of a flawed middle-aged man, featuring a subtly brilliant performance from veteran actor Ken Mitsuishi (Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage Trilogy) as the protagonist Shuhei, contemplating his future whilst reflecting on his past. A beautiful, quiet film which will affect you as much with what is not said as what is.
Youth Jury comments:
“First off, all five films on the programme provided a unique experience from five different cultures, but we would like to give an honourable mention to one. Suffice it to say, we weren’t long narrowing the winner down to two films, but the jury had a very difficult time deciding between them. Our runner-up was unequivocally the crowd-pleaser of the programme. Its irreverent sense of humour and a compelling performance from leading lady Talia Ryder allowed the film to look at a saturated subject matter with fresh eyes. So please show your appreciation for The Sweet East.
In the end, our winner might seem like an unconventional choice for the Youth Jury Award, seeing as it focuses on an older protagonist. However, we felt that the internal struggle of the protagonist is something that anybody of any age can relate to. Whether you’re 25 or 55, everyone can understand the isolation that this film captures. The power of this film is its ability to make you reflect on your decisions, your regrets, and whether it’s too late to create the life you want.
A visual delight, with an emotional leading performance, the winner of the 2023 CIFF Youth Jury Award is Dreaming in Between (Nigekireta Yume) directed by Ninomiya Ryûtarô.”
The Sweet East
Directed by Sean Price Williams
Lillian runs away whilst on a school trip, and so begins a journey through the mental psyche of the United States of America. Lillian’s excursion navigates her through encounters with punks, woke hipsters, white supremacists and Islamic radicals, placing her at the centre of their worlds whilst she floats through seemingly unaffected.
Boasting a superb cast (Talia Ryder, Earl Cave, Jacob Elordi), The Sweet East is a whirlwind of a road movie and a 21st-century fairytale, and the directorial debut from cinematographer Sean Price Williams.
Gradam Na Féile Do Scannáin Faisnéise / Award for Cinematic Documentary
Directed by Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, Quentin l’Helgoualc’h
A French documentary filmmaking team infiltrate the sprawling, entirely self-contained VR world of Knit’s Island in an attempt to understand its peculiar attractions. This is an online space populated by overtly religious cowboys, paranoid survivalists, anarchically brutal death squads, hippy farmers and all manner of human fantasy.
Knit’s Island immerses the audience entirely within this VR world, challenging ideas of what is fiction and what is reality, at a time when COVID had made the planet feel very unreal.
“This film’s unique and innovative approach to storytelling marks a commendable and genre-pushing achievement in the documentary genre, showcasing the cinematic potentials of the virtual realm. Seamlessly blending fiction and non-fiction, the filmmakers invite the audience into a fantastical, but quietly familiar digital world, forcing us to question the boundaries of “reality”. With inventive cinematography, Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h’s absurd but deeply human film highlights both the cruelty and beautiful sense of community to be found in this new online space.”
Gradam Spiorad Na Féile / Spirit of The Festival Award
Directed by: Sofia Exarchou
Animal brings us among the animators in an all-inclusive tourist resort. The team of dancers, singers and entertainers prepares for the upcoming season and we slowly get to know all the characters, including Kaila, natural leader of the group. As the summer heats up the make-up and facades begin to melt.
In her second feature, Exarchou puts the Greek tourism machine in the spotlight with cruel honesty and imagination, filled with glitter and karaoke nights full of false notes.
“We were all so honoured to serve on the Spirit of the Festival Jury and have the opportunity to see six truly thought-provoking & singular debuts & sophomore features. It was a robust discussion to find our winner but ultimately, we were unanimous in awarding this prize to a film that moved all the jury members with its precise depiction of the melancholy that grips the characters, each one more moving than the last. Sofia Exarchou’s impeccable direction plunges us into the heart of the daily lives of a group of seasonal performers working in a Greek seaside resort hotel, caught up in their excesses, drunkenness, and sadness.
A hard-hitting film about the dark side of the tourism industry & those that work in it. Dimitra Vlagkopoulou’s performance is masterful and truly engrossing. Animal, directed by Sofia Exarchou wins the prize for its heart, tears and glitter, & we can’t wait to see what Sofia does next.
We also want to give an honourable mention to Itsaso Arana for her beautifully intimate & affecting debut The Girls Are Alright.”
The Girls are Alright (Las Chicas Están Bien)
Directed by: Itsaso Arana
Actress Itsaso Arana’s beautiful and moving debut tells a story of four actresses and a writer spending a week in a secluded country house rehearsing a period play. They are chatting about friendship, love, theatre and death. Getting artistic inspiration from their own lives and looking for similarities between life and art. The Spanish drama was written and directed by Arana (we saw her last year in You Have To Come And See It) and premiered at IFF Karlovy Vary.