Best Documentary Film

“It is still autumn” by Farzaneh Fathi.

A young woman from Iran tells about her brutal life.

When she was seven years old, her father fled to Sweden and her mother was overwhelmed with the seven children.

Her uncle took her in and abused her for years.

To eventually finance her own escape to Sweden, she prostitutes herself and finds her father an alcoholic broken man in Sweden.

She makes herself independent of her family, works through her traumas and stabilizes her life.

The protagonist is only heard in the film, never seen. Her narration is pictorial and the voice emotional and authentic.

The woman is very present and by not being seen she keeps her dignity despite the terrible story.

There is nothing voyeuristic about the film.

The associative images place the monologue in a larger context, allowing the film to reflect current events in Iran in a very personal way.

Best Animated Film

“Darwin’s Notebook” by Georges Schwizgebels.

The animated film we selected tells the true story of three indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego who were taken to Europe and after three years were missionized and brought back “civilized” to their homeland.

The encounter of the South American people of Tierra del Fuego with the modern world in the 19th century was destructive and resulted in their extinction.

Morph-like transitions of the hand-painted images support the temporal and cultural changes between indigenous and European cultures.

Georges Schwizgebel’s animated film gets by without words or judgment, yet impressively and memorably paints a picture of the colonization and its effects.

Best Feature Film

“Bloody Gravel” by Hojat Hosseini.

There were a few short feature films that managed to excite the jury, but there was one we agreed on immediately:

In a barren desert landscape somewhere between Afghanistan and the Iranian border, an existential drama about escape, birth and death unfolds.

Even if viewers from Western cultures are not always familiar with all the cultural moral codes, the film fascinates with its force and intensity, authentic portrayal and convincing dramaturgical timing.

The film’s theme of flight and migration is linked to questions of moral responsibility, both of the protagonists and of our own.

Jury Award-Best Film

“Where the Winds Die” by Pejman Alipour

In a long wandering shot along a stream, we see the reflection of townspeople indulging in Kurdish festivities and teasing games and romances, until suddenly the appearance of jet fighters and strange plumes put an end to everything and everyone. Sardahst is a Kurdish town in western Iran whose people were victims of an Iraqi mustard gas attack in 1987.

The watercolor-like animation captivates with a minimalist and stringent concept , which in a haunting way reflects the horror without becoming obtrusive and exploiting the image of the many victims. We see what is happening only through the distance of the reflection of the stream.

Iranian filmmaker Pejman Alipour succeeds with aesthetic bravura in reproducing a tragic and moving piece of Iranian-Kurdish history, blurring the boundaries between animation, game and real film.

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