MAMA – MOTHER by Abduazim Ilkhomjonov and Botir Abdurakhmonov from Uzbekistan, wins the International Contest of the 8th edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, the first contest in Europe organized and hosted by a University.
The “Volumina” Special Mention is assigned to the French animation ASTRALE by Bérénice Motais de Narbonne, while the “Levi” Prize for the best soundtrack goes to PARENTS CAME TO ME TO SRI LANKA by the Russian Vera Vodynski. To the Indian TS Prasanna the “Pateh Sabally” Prize for A(U)N.
The “Olga Brunner Levi” prize goes to UNTITLED by Alexander Puga and Monica Matute from the United States, while the winner of the Music Video Competition is the Kosovan OBORRI – SHINE YOUR LIGHT by Dritëro Mehmetaj.
During the closing ceremony the amazing shadow art performance by Simona and Carlo Truzzi took place.
Venice. March 25th 2017. The Uzbek short film Mama – Mother (Uzbekistan, 2017, 17’30”) by Abduazim Ilkhomjonov and Botir Abdurakhmonov, produced by the Uzbekistan State Institute of Arts and Culture, is the winner of the International Contest of the eight edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, the first festival in Europe entirely organized and host by a university, which, in this international contest, intends to map new cinema tendencies and discover new talents of the cinema schools from the entire world.
The jury, composed this year of three directors – the Italian Roberta Torre, the Japanese Hiroki Hayashi and the Polish Marcin Bortkiewicz – has assigned the International Contest prizes which consist of – with the exception of the Special Mention – prestigious artistic sculptures made of Murano glass, created by glass master Alessandro Mandruzzato, as well as the “Olga Brunner Levi” Prize and the Music Video Competition Prize.
The First Prize to the best short film of the Competition, given by Flavio Gregori, Deputy Dean to the Cultural Activities and Relations of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, goes to Mama – Mother by Abduazim Ilkhomjonov and Botir Abdurakhmonov with the following reason:
For the simplicity in the choice of meanings and expressions which help to show a tragedy which is impossible to show.
The two young directors, 23 and 26 years old respectively and at their first collaboration, sincerely greet the audience of the Auditorium with a video message. Their short film, Mama, is set in 1943 Uzbekistan, when the women of a village ready to harbor war orphans forced to abandon their houses because of the violent clashes on the Western Front. A woman, in mourning for the loss of her husband and son, dead during the fights, shelters and becomes the new mother of four war orphans, trying to fill the enormous void of her loss and heal her mourning with love.
The Jury also assigned the “Volumina” Special Mention, for the works that offers the best contribution to cinema as an art, the animated short film Astrale by Bérénice Motais de Narbonne (France, 2017, 12’) from the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs of Paris. The prize, handed by the member of the scientific committee of the Short, Keiko Kusakabe, consists of a prestigious photographic book about cinema produced by Volumina. The work of the young French director has been awarded with this reason:
To the courage of talking about a particular topic, which maintains its own limits, but which do not prevent family love.
Magda, the main character of Astrale, is a thirteen-year old girl who escape from her body during the night to become an astral projection. When she travels through her interior world, she meets different entities which lead her to ask herself questions about her identity, even the sexual one. So far as her ideas of love and sweetness seem not to match with what society expects from a girl like her, she feels like the monsters she meets during her journey, through which she will try to find her own equilibrium.
The “Levi” Prize for the best soundtrack (music, words, sounds), offered by the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation and assigned by a special jury composed by Luisa Zanoncelli, Roberto Calabretto, Massimo Contiero and Gabriele Roberto went to Roditeli prikhali ko mne na Sri Lanku – Parents Came to Me to Sri Lanka (Russia, 2017, 29’50”) by Vera Vodynski from the N.S. Mikhalkov Academy of Cinematography and Theatre Arts. The main character, Alex, blithely lives in Sri Lanka, wasting his parents money, totally involved in an heavenly world, sure that his life of comfort will last forever. His existence is brutally interrupted by the coming of his parents: their appearance indeed coincides with the mystic revelation of the local divinity Shamka and with a curious request for Alex. The prize, handed by the President of the scientific committee of the Levi Foundation, Luisa Zanoncelli, has been awarded with the following reason:
The Jury appreciated the artistic level of the final product and the originality of the concept. Among these: the professional use of folk and exotic instruments (such as the steel pan or the didgeridoo) to create music scores with no documentary connotations; a refined symbolism (the sound of a saxophone to evoke the sound of a snake charmer’s woodwind instrument, or the apathetic interpretation of Beethoven’s Für Elise as a symbol of the acceptance of the inevitable); finally, a peculiar taste for non-standardised sounds.
The “Pateh Sabally” Prize, in memory of the boy from Gambia who tragically passed away in January 2017 in the waters of Grand Canal, offered by the Municipality of Venice, Murano and Burano, has been assigned to A(U)N by TS Prasanna (India, 2017, 12’). The short movie tells the story of a photographer who, during a naturalistic itinerary, meets a native. When the first tries to take a photo of the latter, the camera is immediately confused with a weapon by the native and he then reacts aiming bow and arrows to the photographer. The native then begins to follow the photographer, curious to know more about that mysterious object. The prize has been handed by Giovanni Andrea Martini, President of the Venice Municipality, with the following reason:
A paradoxical and ironic situation states the will to overcome the traditional boundaries that separate us from one another and actualizes the need for a peaceful coexistence. This is Martin Luther King’s message: “I judge people by their own principles. Not by my own.” The photography is precise and accurate; silences are most eloquent.
The winner of the fifth edition of the “Olga Brunner Levi” Prize, a competition created by the Ugo and Olga Levi Foundation in collaboration with the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, was then awarded. The prize is dedicated to the best video clip by high school students from all over the world, having as a subject a female music performance or the relationship between female condition and music in history. The winner, awarded by a jury composed by Luisa Zanoncelli, Roberto Calabretto and Roberta Novielli, was the video Untitled by Alexander Puga and Monica Matute (USA, 4’26”), a film about experimental dance representing women, their fights and their beauty in an urban context. Massimo Contiero, member of the scientific committee of the Levi Foundation, awarded the prize with the following reason:
The woman’s determination and independence from male psychological supremacy is exalted with technical confidence through colours, sounds, narrative rhythm and voice-overs, with elegance and irony, and the energy of music and dance.
Finally, the winner of the Music Video Competition was announced. The competition is dedicated to music video made by cinema students from all over the world. The winner of the contest, superintended by Giovanni Bedeschi, was Oborri – Shine Your Light by Dritëro Mehmetaj (Kosovo, 2017, 5’38”), awarded by Robb Pratt with this reason:
This beautiful biography about the real life of a gypsy community in Kosovo lets the audience dive in unique atmospheres. The soundtrack, too, was a much appreciated surprise.
The Deputy Dean to Cultural Activities and Relations of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Flavio Gregori, opens the closing ceremony expressing his admiration to the success of a Festival which is growing year by year, underling how the quality of the films presented has achieved amazing levels. In the year of the 150th anniversary from the foundation of Ca’ Foscari University, the Short Film Festival has come to attract more and more international attention, coming to integrate itself progressively and even more harmoniously into the Venetian city life.
Before announcing the awards of the International Contest during the Closing Ceremony, the amazing shadow art live performance by Simona and Carlo Truzzi takes place. The couple are between the greatest performers of shadow art, the art of the Chinese shadows brought to its maximum expression. The figures that the two artists have been able to represent only through a canvas, a spotlight and their own hands, enchant the whole audience of the Auditorium: silhouettes of celebrities, from Elvis Presley, Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs, to great actors like Charlie Chaplin and Humphrey Bogart, are brought to life.
As usual, the ceremony ends with all the volunteer students of the staff on the stage. It is their great enthusiasm and an even greater professionalism that represent the heart of the Short Film Festival. They then have been joined by the Director of the Festival Roberta Novielli, for the final greetings and a goodbye. Until the next edition!