“Land of the Enlightened” film wins Anonimul Trophy

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The film “Land of the Enlightened”, directed by Pieter-Jan De Pue, has received the Anonimul (Anonymous) Trophy at the festival’s closing gala that took place in Sfantu Gheorghe, in the Danube Delta, on Saturday evening.

The trophy, attributed following a public vote, was handed to assistant director Gregoire Verbeke by the director of the Anonimul Festival, Miruna Berescu.

“It is very special. It took a long time to create this feature film. I am happy when we share this film with people because, in the end, we make films for people,” said Gregoire Verbeke upon receiving the award. “I believe it is important that this type of festival exists, in order to offer us the occasion to show our independent films. We are trying to send messages regarding what it means to be human, what the right to a decent life is,” added the assistant director.

“The Land of the Enlightened” – a Belgian-Irish-Dutch-German-Afghan co-production – tells the story of a group of Afghan children from the Kuchi tribe who are digging for old Soviet mines and then sell the explosive material to other children. Muddling the border between documentary and fiction, the film is a visual exploration of a war-torn country.

Pieter-Jan De Pue traveled to Afghanistan for long periods of time and photographed the country and its people for organizations such as the Red Cross and the UN. The images he took appeared in publications, but also in museums and photographic exhibitions.

“The Land of the Enlightened”, his feature film debut, received the World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for Best Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival.

The Public’s Prize for best foreign short film was granted to the short “Eden Hostel”, directed by Gonzaga Manso. “For me, the public’s prize is the greatest prize I can receive,” said Gonzaga Manso on the Sfantu Gheorghe stage.

The Public’s Prize for best Romanian short film was granted to short “One night in Tokoriki” by Roxana Stroe. The prize was handed out by multiple Olympic champion Ivan Patzaichin. The latter showed appreciation for the event in Sfantu Gheorghe. “It is a festival that started to show the true value of this important culture that is film,” he declared.

The “Ovidiu Bose Pastina” Prize, offered by the Anonimul Foundation, was offered to the film “Hopptornet/Ten Meter Tower,” directed by Axel Danielson and Maximilien van Aertryck (Sweden). The prize was handed out by Iacob Pastina and the prize was granted for “out of the box visual approach and the simple narrative courage.”

The gala also emphasized the importance of an independent film festival such as Anonimul.

“The Union of Cinematographers will always stand together with a prestigious festival, with a festival that proposes something very interesting, namely independent cinema. Independent cinema is very hard to do, with many friends and less and less sponsors,” said Laurentiu Damian, the president of the Union, during the event on Saturday night.

The gala was completed by a concert by the Partizan band.

The Anonimul Festival took place over a week in Sfantu Gheorghe in the Danube Delta. The special guest of the event was director Park Chan-wook who received, at the opening on Monday, the Anonimul Trophy for his contribution to the beauty of universal cinematography.

The 13th edition of the Anonimul International Independent Film Festival – which will end on Sunday – is organized by the Anonimul Foundation and the FAMart Association, with support from the Ministry of Culture, the National Center for Cinematography, the Union of Cinematographers of Romania, the Tulcea Councy Council and the National Authority for Tourism.