‘The Load’ Wins Best Film at 16th ZFF

The winning film of the 16th Zagreb Film Festival is The Load by Serbian director Ognjen Glavonić. “In the film, which deftly navigates politically complex grounds with exacting form and content, the horrors of war redefine the seeming banality of everyday life. Dreams of the future exist against all odds in the exquisite and humane debut by Ognjen Glavonić,” explained the jury awarding The Load with the Golden Pram Award for Best Feature Film. The jury was comprised of director Juho Kuosmanen, director Maja Miloš and actress Deborah Kara Unger.

The jury also awarded a Special Mention to the film Manta Ray, by Thai director Phuttiphong Aroonpheng. In this visually stunning ontological meditation, familiar motifs transport us into unfamiliar territory. Guileless and bold, hypnotic and visceral, the debut feature by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng marks a truly unique new voice in cinema,” stated the jury.

The Golden Pram Award for Best International Short Film went to the film Gaze, directed by Iranian Farnoosh Samadi. “The film is an excellent example of the “less is more” approach. This is an observation of the intrusion into personal space in the contemporary violent world,” states the explanation of the jury comprised of: György Mór Kárpáti, director, screenwriter and last year’s Best Short Film winner at ZFF; Jelena Mišeljić, producer and programming director of Herceg Novi – Montenegro Film Festival and director Matija Vukšić.

The jury awarded a Special Mention to the film Tremors, by Polish director Dawid Bodzak, saying “The mystery and tension of teenage nature is told through oneiric and powerful cinematography. The dreamlike setting is turned into nightmarish reality of adolescence.”

The same jury awarded the Golden Pram for Best Croatian Film in the Checkers Program to the film White Room, by Mladen Stanić. “White room is a gentle story about brotherhood and mourning, completed by excellent performances of two actors. With this prize, the jury would like to encourage the future work of this talented director,” stated the jury.

A Special Mention in the Checkers Program was awarded to the film Cherries, directed by Dubravka Turić. The jury felt that “this is a complex coming of age story with the weight of a feature-length film.”

The PLUS Award for Best Youth Film goes to Keep Going, by Belgian director Joachim Lafosse. The winner was decided by a jury of high school students from Zagreb comprised of Lucija Brašnić, Klara Jovanov, Rene Rehak, Dominik Sečen and Lea Vukmanić. “After spending five days in the comfortable seats of the cinema we hold dear, with our stomachs full and a smile on our face, we have reached a unanimous decision. The winner of this year’s PLUS program is the film Keep Going, directed by Joachim Lafosse; a film whose rhythm and the landscapes of Kyrgyzstan give an insight into the relationship between a mother and her son. The director skillfully included key qualities supported by the PLUS program, such as universality, quality and approachability. His use of music is praiseworthy and it adds a particular lightness of accessibility to this atypical western, while the visual components offer plenty of free space for individual interpretation. In conclusion, this film that is strong in its narrative and economic in terms of its production, makes us aware that, in order to solve the problem of immigrants and Zambian witches, we first have to resolve the problems with the ones closest to us, and ourselves,” stated the jury.

The jury composed of representatives of professional film associations, Bojana Burnać (HDFD), Jasna Nanut (DHFR) and Marina Andree Škop (HRUP) decided to award the Golden Bicycle Award for best film in the program Together Again to the film Leave No Trace, by American director Debra Granik. “We saw six films in the program Together Again, one of which touched us right in the heart and made us think. In a subdued way, this subtle drama speaks about a war veteran’s inability to fit into the society and resume a normal life, and the moving relationship with his daughter, which evolves but also persists, giving us hope that the human race will also persist. The film uses original cinematic language to inspire the viewers to question themselves and the world we live in,” explains the jury.

The audience’s favorite was the film Woman at War, by Icelandic director Benedikt Erlingsson. Based on popular vote, the film is awarded the HT Audience Award for Best Feature Film.

As part of the Industry Youth! Pitching forum, the award for best student project goes to Boran Stojkov and Dušan Efremov, from the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Skopje, for their project How I Learned to Play Chess. The award consists of image and sound postproduction as well as the film poster design.

The sponsor of the money prizes for Best Feature Film (4.000 EUR), Best Short Film (1.000 EUR) and Best Youth Film in the PLUS program (500 EUR) is Addiko Bank. The money prize for Best Film in the Checkers Program (10.000 KN) is provided by the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild.