The Festival is continuing online until the 30th of October
The jury of the 29th edition of Astra Film Festival announced the winners of this year’s international documentary film festival in Sibiu in a fulldome show, which took place in Piața Mare. The best film of the Romania Section is the production “The Chalice. Of sons and daughters“, by Cătălina Tesăr and Dana Bunescu. And the award for best director, in the same category, was offered to Adina Popescu and Iulian Manuel Ghervas, the authors of the film “Eagles from Țaga“. The distinction of the Best Documentary Film of the Central and Eastern Europe section was awarded to the production “Pawnshop” (Poland, 2022), directed by Łukasz Kowalski. The Best Non-Fiction Film in the New Voices of the Documentary category is “Too close“, directed by Botond Püsök. The award for Best Director, in the DocSchool Section, was won by Eric Esser (“Family Love – My Grandpa, National Socialism and Me“). The jury considered the best film of the DocSchool section to be “A Place in the World” by Emilie Beyssac Cywinska.
The winners, directors from Romania, Germany, France, Slovakia and Poland, were all present at the Awards Gala. AFF2022 continues online until October 30th, time during which the public anywhere in Romania will be able to see 41 films from the festival’s official selection. Details here: https://www.astrafilm.ro/astra-film-online
“We decided to hold the Astra Film Festival Awards Gala in the Dome, precisely because our festival has continuously reinvented itself and we are always looking to the future. The presence of over 20 thousand children at Astra Film Junior and the quality of the productions made by the young documentary filmmakers give us confidence that this future will be a good one. I am glad that Astra Film Festival has more and more friends and that we can talk about a large and knowledgeable audience of non-fiction films“, said Dumitru Budrala, director-founder of Astra Film Festival, who showed that during these days, more than 340 cinematographic events, most of them premieres, could be seen in Sibiu.
As every year, there were four competition sections: Romania; Central and Eastern Europe; New Voices of the Documentary; respectively the DocSchool Section. Productions awarded at AFF2022 are directly eligible for the European Film Academy Awards.
The jury of the “DocSchool” Section, dedicated to films produced by universities from all over the world, composed of film critic Flavia Dima and documentary author Emel Celebi, from Istanbul, awarded one mention and two prizes.
The documentary film “Arsencik’s First Birthday” (Romania, 2022), by Valentin-Rareș Fogoroș, was awarded with Mention. “We would like to acknowledge a timely, courageous film that puts the “document” in “documentary” – a testimony of a tumultuous historic moment, painted both with urgency and immanence, as well as great empathy, care, and involvement“, was the motivation of the jury.
The Best Director Award, in the DocSchool Section, was won by Eric Esser (“Family Love – My Grandpa, National Socialism and Me” – Germany, 2022) “for an essay film that bravely explores an uncomfortable personal history and the path to uncovering it with both vulnerability and sincerity, as well as with great intellectual and narrative skill“, the jury members pointed out.
At the same time, the jury considered the best film of the DocSchool section to be “A place in the world” (France, 2021), by Emilie Beyssac Cywinska, i.e. “a tender, warm family portrait that unfolds with incredible ease, naturalness, and affection, subtly revealing the larger historical forces that are at play within the smaller scale of day-to-day life.”.
The films of the “Romania” competition section were judged by professor Constantin Pârvulescu and director Ana Vlad, who also awarded a mention and two prizes.
Thus, Raluca David (“Waves on dry soil” – Romania, 2021) received a special mention “for its artistic ability to create complex situations and emotions with simple means For the subtlety of its storytelling. For the originality of its subject, character, and presentation of the expat condition. For proposing evocative visual contrasts between worlds and lifestyles”
The jury considered that the Best Director award in this section belonged to Adina Popescu and Iulian Ghervas, the authors of the film “Eagles from Țaga” (Romania/Slovakia, 2022), “for its stylistic rigor and the memorability of its protagonist. For its exploration of marginal typologies with compassion, attention, and humor. For showing how perseverance can turn failure into success. For its ability to convince viewers that tenaciousness can draw a straight line on any surface“.
The laurels of the Best Documentary film of the Romania section were received by Cătălina Tesăr and Dana Bunescu for the production “The Chalice. Of sons and daughters” (Romania, 2022) “for its stylistic virtuosity, the scope of its research, and the depth of its anthropological effort. For building a bridge of understanding between cultures, opening toward a world that often remains hidden behind commonplaces. For its ability to create a dramatic and emotional story about the family and the condition of women. For exploring the values of a culture caught between modernity and tradition“.
Central and Eastern Europe Section
Critic and curator of performing arts Iulia Popovici and Georgian professor Giorgi Gogiberidze awarded a mention to Alexandra Gulea (“Flying Sheep” – Romania, 2022) “for a daring cinematic exploration and the exquisite visual approach, the special mention goes to an undeniably interesting work”.
The distinction of the Best Documentary Film of the Central and Eastern Europe section went to the production “Pawnshop” (Poland, 2022), directed by Łukasz Kowalski, “for presenting in an interesting and humorous way the endeavors of the owner and employees of an improbable pawnshop business in search to strike a blow, in a disenfranchised community where the only valuables are personal histories of despair. Through its intelligent directing, attention and understanding of characters, „The Pawnshop” turns the story into a topic of global relevance about life and aspirations in between failure, survival and the promised capitalist success.”
New Voices of Documentary Film Section
The Jury of the “New Voices of Documentary Film” Section, Ivana Mladenović and anthropologist Michael Stewart, decided that the best non-fiction film of this category is “Too close” (Romania, 2022), directed by Botond Püsök, “for a film that shows a heroine who struggles to hold her family together in a life nearly crushed by a stigma that she most cruelly cannot avoid internalising; for a film that uses the simplest cinematic devices to bring to the screen a chilling story of survival.”
About Astra Film Festival
Astra Film Festival Sibiu, launched in 1993 as an innovative project, is one of the most important non-fiction film festivals in Europe, and was included by the European Film Academy on the list of festivals that have the right to make direct nominations for European Film Awards.
Astra Film Festival is placed under the High Patronage of the President of Romania and is organized by Astra Film, CNM Astra and the Astra Film Foundation, with the support of the Sibiu County Council, The Ministry of Culture, The National Center of Cinematography. The Consulate of the Federal Republic of Germany in Sibiu and The Filmmakers Union. The event is co-financed by the Sibiu Local Council through the Sibiu City Hall and by the European Union through the Creative Europe Program.