The ninth Zagreb Film Festival was closed tonight with the gala award presentation before a packed audience in Europa Cinema. In the past week, numerous viewers had an opportunity to see ninety films in five different Zagreb venues and thus become acquainted with both latest and cult feature and documentary production from all over the world.
The closing ceremony and award presentation took place in the usual relaxed atmosphere with festival director Boris T. Matić and executive director Hrvoje Laurenta running the show. The jury members and winners of this year's ZFF awards spoke to the audience, too.
The first award that was given was the one of Palunko Screenwriters' Workshop. Twelve young screenwriters took part in it this year under the mentorship of Dalibor Matanić, Danilo Šerbedžija and Tomislav Zajec. Special mention went to Sanja Đurić and Hrvoje Marin and the winner was Lana Brčić for her script for 'Glass Jar'.
Tin Žanić, whose film 'Komba' was declared winner in the Checkers Program, received the award from Jukka-Pekka Laaks, a member of the jury. Thanking for the award, director Tin Žanić pointed out that there would be no film without his great film crew and he dedicated the film to them. Best Film Award in Checkers Program is sponsored by Bug Magazine and includes a motor scooter.
Golden Pram for Best Documentary Film and the accompanying cash award of EUR 1,000 went to the film 'At the Edge of Russia' by Michał Marczak. The director addressed the audience over video link, thanking for the award and apologizing for not coming to collect it.
Special mention in the documentary program went to Saša Ban for his film 'Land of Knowledge'. Chris McDonald explained the award on behalf of the jury: 'The documentary jury would like to give special mention to a film which was a well executed telling of a socially engaging story that documented young citizens' passion for direct democracy.' Receiving the recognition, Ban expressed particular gratitude to his film crew, just like Žanić.
Golden Pram for Best Short Film and a cash award in the amount of EUR 1,000 went to Ilker Çatak and Johannes Duncker for their film 'When Namibia Was a City'. Using video link, the directors addressed the audience which they had had a chance to meet at the premiere of their film in Zagreb. Johannes Duncker thanked the audience, jury, organizers and all Zagrebers for the great time in Zagreb and Ilker Çatak dedicated the award to his family and his father in particular, expressing his gratitude to them.
Christopher Goodwin explained why the jury gave special mention to 'The Exchange', a film by Eran Kolirin: Having left Zagreb already, Eran Kolirin also spoke to the audience via video link. In his specific, deconstructive and off-center manner, he thanked the festival, audience and jury.
The winner of the main award was pronounced by Peter Suschitzky. He said: 'We struggled to find a winner in this selection in which a number of films were very strong and affecting. 'Michael' is a difficult and deeply disturbing film about a human being that no one can like, a pedophile, whose apparently banal life is described with chilling irony yet without any artificial dramatic emphasis. A perfectly realized and profoundly terrifying portrait of evil'. On behalf of director Markus Schleinzer, the lead actor Michael Fuith received Golden Pram Award and the amount of EUR 4,000. Accepting the award, Fuith expressed his gratitude and said: 'I still cannot understand all this... It is a great honor. Now I finally know we have done a great job'.
At the end of the gala, the organizers expressed their gratitude to the festival crew, City Of Zagreb, Croatian Audiovisual Center, MEDIA Program, festival partner T-Com and other sponsors and, particularly, to the audience.
After the ceremony, the audience had an opportunity to watch the latest David Cronenberg film, 'Dangerous Method'. The film was shown to honor the member of the jury, the acclaimed director of photography Peter Suschitzky, who has been working with Cronenberg for 25 years.
Selected films from all ZFF programs will still be shown on Sunday in Europa and Tuškanac Cinemas and in the Museum of Contemporary Art.