• 24 March 2024


The short film Artumo jausmas – Closer (Lithuania, 21’) by Augustė Gerikaitė, produced by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre is the winner of the International Competition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival, the first film festival in Europe entirely organized and managed by a university. The Festival has been developed in a “widespread” format throughout the city of Venice, with screenings taking place at the Auditorium Santa Margherita – Emanuele Severino as well as in other six partner venues, museums and cultural institutions. The Festival is brought to you in collaboration with Fondazione di Venezia, and the support of many partners, such as Avani Hotels, the Italian on-demand short film platform WeShort, the oldest prosecco production company Carpenè-Malvolti, Cinit – Italian Cineforum, Municipality of Venice – Murano – Burano, National Museum of Cinema in Turin, the Conservatory “Arrigo Pedrollo” in Vicenza and two festivals: Giornate della Luce in Spilimbergo and the South Italy International Film Festival in Barletta.

Along with the awarding of prizes, the Closing Ceremony of the Festival was enriched by the musical performance of Musicafoscari, the musical project of Ca’ Foscari that has been active since 2010 and is directed by Daniele Goldoni, who together with an ensemble of young musicians, provided the soundtrack for the short film One Week (1920, 19’) by Buster Keaton.

The International Jury, composed by Italian director Antonietta De Lillo, her Iranian colleague Ghasideh Golmakani and American professor and short film expert Cynthia Felando, has awarded the main prizes of the International Competition. These prizes were created using prestigious Murano glass by the master glaziers of the CONSORZIO PROMOVETRO MURANO, manager of the Veneto Region brand Vetro Artistico ® Murano, a landmark consortium that brings together some of the main glass factories of Murano and Venice.

The First Prize for the best short film in the Competition, presented by juror Cynthia Felando to the director herself, went to Artumo jausmasCloser by Augustė Gerikaitė, with the following motivation: The movie is, from beginning to end, an original. The script presents a complex love story that takes the characters from the start of their unusual romance through its unpredictable twists and turns. In its brief running time, the film demonstrates the rewards and possibilities that can be achieved using only one location, few characters, and rich details. This movie is extremely clever and keeps us guessing until the end.

A messy apartment, the news announcing rising rents, a divorce certificate hanging on the wall, a few post-it notes dictating the rules for peaceful coexistence— these are the elements that introduce the viewer to the situation of the two protagonists in Closer. The marriage between Bernard and Silvija is indeed over, but, as is often the case, it does not mean that the feelings are too. Director Augustè Geraikitè, alternating between past and present, succeeds in revealing all the sweetness of a love story forged on the frailties of loneliness while at the same time wryly ironizing with pulp humor on the sexuality and jealousy of a husband who wistfully believes he can start over.

The Jury also awarded the Special Mention “WeShort”, for the work that offers the best experimentation in cinematic languages to one of the two Italians in the competition, Angela Norelli’s We Should All Be Futurists made for the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome. The award, presented by one of the guests of this edition, Johanna Quinn, was given with the motivation: This compilation film with its existing film footage is inventive, and the images selected by the filmmaker are brilliant, creative and political. The entire storytelling process and the story’s development ingeniously challenge stereotypes about women from the past. There is a sense of irony and paradox too in the clever ways the film presents a woman’s point of view without showing the woman herself in favor of showing many women. Overturning the feminist slogan “we should all be feminists,” the short film offers an ironic and playful reversal of the futurist cult of the machine and technological progress, instead focusing on the rediscovery of the female body and pleasure. It is the voices of friends Rosa and Giorgina that lead the viewer through an original collage of sequences, taken from early silent cinema, combined with Tchaikovsky’s waltz and Marinetti’s words, with a hilarious outcome.

The Special Mention “National Cinema Museum”, for the work that makes the strongest contribution to cinema as an artistic expression, went to the first Kyrgyz short film in the history of the festival, Romeo by Tynystan Temirzhan, from Kyrgyzstan Turkey Manas University. The award was presented by the festival Scientific Committee member Keiko Kusakabe with the motivation: Each of the formal and storytelling elements in this movie are orchestrated perfectly. Its offbeat love story is delightful, and the kids’ performances are altogether excellent. Although the story of Romeo and Juliet may be a familiar one, the characters’ relationships are fresh and surprising throughout. In the end, the story, characters, and finely crafted details are irresistible. 

The young protagonist of Romeo undertakes a journey of introspection into the primordial feeling of love, which arises from spontaneity and is nourished by small challenges, first of which is conquering his Juliet. In a reality filtered by emotion, the aridity of Kyrgyzstan is transformed into a terrain overflowing with life, bringing out the pure sensations and emotions of youth. Director Tynystan Temirzhan returns to his past, curating the smallest of details in a new version of Romeo and Juliet that celebrates both the courage of the heart and the desire to live a life in the name of art.

The prize for the Best Screenplay in the Competition was awarded by a specific jury, composed of Domenico Scimone, Eduardo Fernando Varela and Alessandro Loprieno, who decided to award the Carpenè-Malvolti – Ca’ Foscari Special Mention Historia Vitae” to the short film Khutaa’ab – Father’s Footsteps (Syria/India, 29’26”) by Syrian director Mohamad W. Ali, produced by the Indian Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute. The motivation for the award, presented by Carpenè Malvolti CEO Domenico Scimone, is as follows: A deeply touching reflection conveyed through outstanding direction, great acting and a solid screenplay about everyday hardship during war and a woman’s effort to protect her family and survive, where strengthening human relation becomes the only way to overcome the disrupting effects of conflict.

Father’s Footsteps is a realistic and emotional film depicting the life of a tiny Syrian family as war rages outside. The horror is out of frame; it doesn’t need to be displayed because the soundtrack enhances its impact. The director uses film to give voice to the young protagonist, a mute youngster who stands in as a representative of the new Syrian generation, who appears to wish to criticize the impacts of the conflict on people, particularly on the youngest.

The special Mention “Le Giornate della Luce” for the best photography has been assigned by a specific jury composed by the president of the association “Il Circolo” Donato Guerra, by the festival organizer and programmer Silvia Moras and by the film journalist Luca Pacilio. The Mention went to Romeo by Tynystan Temirzhan, that therefore wins his second prize, and was delivered by Donato Guerra with the following reason: For the remarkable imagery composition and for the attention given to lighting, the latter not only shaping the atmosphere of the short film within both its interior and exterior spaces, but also playing a major role in defining the delicate dynamics of the narrative.

The special Mention “Conservatorio di Vicenza” to the best soundtrack, assigned by a specific jury composed by Davide Tiso, Davide Vendramin, Laura Zattra, Paolo Furlani, Stefano Lorenzetti, went to the Iranian short film Baggage (Iran, 10’59”), directed by Hamid Bahrami and produced by Tehran University of Art. The prize, delivered by the composer and multimedia designer Davide Tiso, was assigned with the following reason: The jury has selected the winner with special regard to the synthesis of all the particulars of “sound” in cinematic narration: the choice in musical themes, sound design, synchronized sound recording, post-production mixing, and audio finalization. The jury awards the winning project for the constant pursuit of an equilibrium between musical-composition and sound dimension. Musical choices, care in sync sound recording, post-production mixing have all been appreciated. With Baggage, director Hamid Bahrami transports the viewer into a grotesque environment, revealing the contradictions in a power struggle that proves to be fruitless as the movie progresses. The sometimes-hilarious narration serves to lighten the gloomy tones of the photography and drama. The oxymoron provided by the soundtrack enriches the short film, with a strong contrast between sweet sounds – at the beginning and end – and the disquieting arrangement of the major sequences to keep the viewer on edge.

The winner of the Prize “Pateh Sabally” for multiculturality was the Indian Dilu Maliackal with his Alvida – The Last Goodbye (India, 29’52”). The prize, offered by the Municipality of Venice, Murano and Burano and dedicated to the young man from Gambia that disappeared in the waters of Canal Grande in january 2017, was delivered by the President of Municipality of Venice, Murano and Burano Marco Borghi, with the following reason: A short film that immediately captivates the viewer with its powerful imagery and its attention to photography. The story successfully develops the theme of exploitation and the terrible work conditions faced by migrants. Moreover, it highlights the hardships that women face in their lives and their universal struggles, common to every society in every corner of the world, where women are in some way always subjugated to rules imposed by men. In Muslim society, there are boundaries that separate women from men, relegating them to the confines of their own house while simultaneously denying them the human right to be considered a person.  The short film depicts the struggle of a woman, Miraal, who demands humanity while also demonstrating how the feminine figure is reduced to a simple shadow of her husband, who in this case has vanished. His disappearance prompts Miraal to attempt to break one of the boundaries made ‘immutable by divine will’: a woman’s ability to visit her husband’s burial site.

Two special mentions were introduced this year thanks to the collaboration of two new partners: the first is the Special Mention “South Italy International Film Festival” for the best interpretation which went to Jonathan Lade, protagonist of the German short film Fragments of Us by Ido Gotlib, who went on stage together with the producer on behalf of the actor. The jury, composed of Giuseppe Marco Albano, Antonello De Leo, Alessandro Loprieno and Francesco Santalucia, awarded the mention with the following motivation: For the extraordinary performance and the actor’s exceptional skill in addressing issues such as perception, memory, and emotions. Empathy and authenticity are woven into the dramatic psychological fabric of the characters, creating strong connections with the viewer. The prize was given by the founder and artistic director of the festival Giuseppe Arcieri and the project manager and co-organizer Michele Piazzolla.

The association Venezia Comics has assigned the Special mention “VeneziaComix” for the best animation to the other Italian short film in the competition, La Notte by Martina Generali, Simone Pratola, Francesca Sofia Rosso, produced by the Experimental Center of Cinematography (CSC) in Turin. The president of the association Dario Ardossi has given the prize with the motivation: For the relationship this short film creates between music and imagery, without the need for a narrator, and without one of the two overpowering the other. For the ability to narrate, only with a few essential details, a story which is partly already well-known yet never trivial, blending tradition and modernity in an innovative yet classical manner. In La Notte, Puncinella’s simplicity and honesty stand in stark contrast to the more complex masks of the visitors around him, which are cryptic and seemingly elusive, attributes that are also present in the essence of the characters. However, the ceramic masks soon crumble and reveal emptiness. Everything is sublimated by a synesthetic animation that briefly evokes Kandinsky, overwhelming and colorful, accompanied by Vivaldi’s evocative notes from La Notte.

Moving on to the side competitions, the winner of the eighth edition of the Music Video Competition, a contest dedicated to the musical videoclip realized by the students of schools of cinema or universities from all around the world, was then announced. The winner was You Will Forget in a Week – Let Me Have Peace by the Russian Ekaterina Nikiforova, a curious collaboration between Thai and American musicians with independent Russian directors for the song against war which describes the exploitation of workers after COVID-19. The jury, composed of the producer and director Giovanni Bedeschi, the journalist Alice D’Este and the member of the directive of CINIT Giordani Giordani has assigned the award with the following motivation: This music video stands out for the intensity of its message of peace, conveyed through a skillful photography that evokes Russian traditions and symbolism. For its particularly graceful musical and narrative execution, created by the harmonious collaboration of talented artists from countries with different cultures, traditions, and geographies.

The winner of the eleventh edition of the High School Competition was then awarded. The prize was dedicated to the best short film realized by the high school students from all around the world. A jury composed of students of Ca’ Foscari, has awarded as the winner Heroine by the young Czech director Gabriela Čížková, who created an original animation work on brave people who don’t give up to a hard life: For its ability to convey strong familial themes through its stylistic choices, and for its skill in combining different innovative artistic languages.

To conclude the award ceremony, the artistic director Roberta Novielli has thanked the over 200 volunteer students of Ca’ Foscari, who, with enthusiasm, passion and commitment, have made the realization of the festival possible and sent the invitation to next year for the fifteenth edition of the Ca’ Foscari Short Film Festival.