18 June 2023

Winners of Biografilm 2023 announced

Winners of Biografilm 2023 announced

among which:

Best Film Award | International Competition to Sieben Winter in Teheran by Steffi Niederzoll

Hera “Nuovi Talenti” Award to the best first feature film of the International Competition to Une vie comme une autre by Faustine Cros

Best Film BPER Award | Biografilm Italia to After the Bridge by Davide Rizzo and Marzia Toscano

Audience Award | International Competition to Sconosciuti Puri by Mattia Colombo and Valentina Cicogna

Audience Award | Biografilm Italia to After the Bridge by Davide Rizzo and Marzia Toscano

The 19th edition of Biografilm is over after 11 days of programming, from the 9th to the 19th of June 2023. A full of energy and reflective festival, full of content, guests, audiences, debates and many opportunities to reflect on the theme of identity and on the present.

“We are touched by the enthusiasm with which this year's edition of Biografilm was welcomed by a curious, attentive and enthusiastic audience to be part of our community, because in the end the topic of this year's edition "Being and Avere" had an answer: we are a community and every year we have the opportunity to celebrate it" declare Chiara Liberti and Massimo Benvegnù, artistic directors of the festival.
As part of the Awards Ceremony, the festival screened the Italian premiere of Jerry Lee Lewis: Trouble in mind, Ethan Coen’s documentary dedicated to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s most original figures.
The profit of the evening will be donated to support the population affected by the flood on the fund dedicated by the Agency for territorial security and civil protection of Emilia-Romagna.
“We are extremely happy with the results of this edition of Biografilm Festival. Cinema theatres are the most important locations for us. So, our greatest joy every year is hosting the public and guests here in presence during eleven days - says the General Manager Massimo Mezzetti - This year's program has distinguished by intensity and richness of topics. A program of value and values. My thanks go to the work done by the two new artistic directors and to all the programming staff, as well as to the entire Biografilm team, including volunteers, to whom I extend my sincere gratitude. Without them this festival would not be possible. In this 19th edition, synergies with the territory have been strengthened, also initiating new collaborations with associations, cultural and social realities. In this moment of uncertainty that cultural realities are experiencing, making alliances and working together is decisive and far-sighted"
The jury of the International Competition, composed by Philippa Kowarsky, John Bleasdale, Eefje Blankevoort, awarded three prizes. The Best Film Award | International Competition, the prize given to the best film of the international competition, went to Sieben Winter in Tehran by Steffi Niederzoll.
This is the motivation: “In 2007 Reyhaneh Jabbari was arrested and sentenced to death in Iran, after killing a man who attempted to rape her. That was the beginning of a seven-year ordeal in which, according to the law of blood feud, her fate rested in the hands of the dead man's family. Thanks to the efforts of her very brave family and her resistance, hers has become an international case. Her voice resonates powerfully in Steffi Niederzoll's documentary, as does that of her family as they fight for her release. The film is a courageous, vital and necessary denunciation of an unjust system, and a portrait of one woman's incredible courage. As a jury, we couldn't help but feel touched, angry and inspired by Reyhaneh's story as her struggle continues."
The Hera "New Talents" Award for the best first film of the International Competition went to Une vie comme une autre by Faustine Cros. “A story constructed in an intelligent, intimate and universal way about being a woman. Following in the footsteps of her filmmaker father, the director examines the family archive, reworks it and offers an important new perspective on the role of women in our society.”
The Special Mention for the Hera "New Talents" Awardof the International Competition went instead to Colette et Justin by Alain Kassanda, "a film that explores our colonial past by questioning great history and immersing itself in untold personal stories".

The Biografilm Italia jury made up of Angeliki Petrou, Jo-Ann Titmarsh and Gianluca Matarrese handed over four awards. After the Bridge by Davide Rizzo and Marzia Toscano wins the Best Film BPER Award | Biografilm Italia, prize for the best film in the Biografilm Italia Competition, with the following motivation: “The extreme mastery of cinematic language makes this poignant portrait of a grieving mother, the story of a woman who it is much more than the sum of its tragedies.”
The BPER Special Mention | Biografilm Italia 2023 goes to The Mayor - Me, Mussolini and the Museum by Piergiorgio Curzi. “A film that shows us the importance of how erasing history, even if it is uncomfortable, is not the right way to protect democracy. A highly topical film that invites us to keep the debate open”.
The Hera "New Talents" Award in the Biografilm Italia section for the best first film goes to Nota Bene by Jeroen Pool. This is the motivation: “A mature and successful debut film. Through a strong and graphic visual construction, this observational study portrays the cemetery as a timeless microcosm in which the dead and the living coexist harmoniously".
The Hera “New Talents” Special Mention for the best first film by Biografilm Italia goes to La ricerca di Giuseppe Petruzzellis with the following motivation: “The story of an atypically poetic character leads us to a high and universal reflection on our past, present and future. Through a refined language and a wisely creative use of archives”.
Among this year's news is the Manifesto Award, presented to the best Contemporary Lives film by the Jury made up of representatives of some realities that stand out in the area for the social impact of the projects they carry out. The members are Michele Cattani (Arca di Noè Social Cooperative), Margherita Apone (Women's House to avoid violence in Bologna), Irene Pasini (Cassero LGBTI+ Center), Christian Leonardo Cristalli (Gruppo Trans), Fatema Aktar (Next Generation Italy), Giulia Sudano (Period Think Tank), Rachele Ponzellini (WeWorld). The award goes to Khaled Jarrar's Notes on Displacement. This is the motivation: “A trip with a family to Europe. A very vivid portrait of what the migratory path means. Sincere and representative of a great drama, it allows you to immerse yourself together with the protagonist family and the director, who faces the journey himself. Notes on Displacement gives a voice to the voiceless, talks about Palestine without talking about Palestine, telling what it means to have to leave one's land and not have one's identity recognized, that 'displacement' that the protagonist Nadira experiences twice. The film manages to show a real and unfiltered look. A journey that returns some of the questions that cannot be closed in the cinematic narration: the odyssey of refugees is accompanied in an organic and complete way, and demonstrates once again the need for a European response to the theme. A strong sense of dismay and anger reaches the public directly, accompanied by a necessary assumption of responsibility by European citizens".
Also this year some students of the DAMS and CITEM degree courses of the University of Bologna have composed the Young Critics Jury. The Young Critics Award for the best film of the International Competition went to The Gullspång Miracle by Maria Fredriksson with the following motivation: “The reason why we awarded this film is above all its originality, since it is able to play with the canonical conception of the documentary, approaching the border with fiction, without however ever crossing it. In addition to this, we have chosen to enhance the ability to mix various genres and the specificity of the themes treated in an ironic key. Precisely thanks to this lightness, Gullspang Miracle is the film that has most involved us”.
The winners of the awards linked to the Biografilm Festival's educational projects were also revealed. Bring The Change is a project by Arca di Noè Cooperativa Sociale, realized thanks to the contribution of the Reception and Integration System (SAI), in collaboration with Biografilm Festival and with SMK Factory - active since 2009 in the field of documentary film production and distribution . The project, a course of 7 meetings to approach the language of cinema, involves the 3ATR class of the Aldini Valeriani Institute in Bologna and a group made up of vulnerable beneficiaries of the SAI project and some people from the Cadriano occupational laboratory of the Arca di Noè social cooperative. The 3ATR class of the Istituto Aldini Valeriani presented the Bring the Change Award to The Mind Game by Sajid Khan Nasiri, Eefje Blankevoort, Els van Driel with the following motivation: “This film represents a current reality, that of refugees, which has involved in first person a teenager like us, SK, who filmed his daily drama through the technology of a cell phone. We were struck by his tenacity and the psychological trauma he experienced. The courage with which SK manages to reach its goal despite the difficulties encountered, the pressures, the physical violence and the time taken (a full two years) is truly impressive. And all this has absolutely not inhibited his smile. The film shows how many people struggle to live their lives in a dignified manner in relation to their social reality, and how many loved ones they may lose on the journey to Europe".
The employment laboratory of the Arca di Noè social cooperative instead opted for a ex aequo for its Bring The Change Award, awarding both The Mind Game by Sajid Khan Nasiri, Eefje Blankevoort, Els van Driel and Is There Anybody Out There? by Ella Glendining. The motivation: “We award both films because they both tell the story of two people who have shown great courage in the face of difficulties, two people with whom we identify very much. Sajid is a very young boy and he has embarked on a very dangerous journey in search of a better life, never giving up and losing hope. This is what happened to us, young migrants, with very similar difficulties and accepting the same sacrifices. Sajid also makes it because he is not alone, but part of a group of other guys who support each other. We were also struck by the way his story is told, with maps and messages, just like a video game that gives the idea that the protagonist often doesn't know if he's going in the right direction but continues to move forward with determination. She is brave because she lives in the world without caring what other people think about her physical disability. It shows that even with a disability you can live happy, independent and free. The experience of living as you are, accepting yourself, is a very important message. Disabled people are often seen as lacking something, and often for this reason they have to undergo invasive interventions. Even we deaf children felt the same way as Ella, forced to have an operation that was dangerous and painful for us. But we can say no, like Ella's family does, and still live a full life. We boys and girls of Noah's Ark have also felt observed and judged, but we have learned not to be intimidated and to create good relationships”.
“Tutta un’altra storia” (A whole other story), the social inclusion educational project dedicated to marginalized boys and girls involving a group of boys from the “Pietro Siciliani” Juvenile Jail in Bologna, has chosen to award the Tutta un’altra storia Award to Shabu by Shamira Raphaëla with the following motivation: “We awarded this film because it is a story similar to ours. When one falls and gets hurt, he gets up again with an even greater desire to redeem himself, to demonstrate that he can do it. Shabu has made a commitment to his grandmother both to get her affection back and to repay his car by having a party, where music, which is his greatest passion, will help him find peace with himself. He worked hard to improve despite the effort he has to make, he had to fight a lot between ups and downs but the effort paid off. Shabu was brave in coming out, not caring what other people thought of him. Thanks to his family, who despite the problems he had caused has always been close to him, Shabu manages to realize his dream and make it up to his grandmother. Love combined with personal talent with a pinch of perseverance is Shabu's superpower, and it's what we need too. Seeing a boy our age achieve his dreams was inspiring. We hope this is just the beginning for Shabu and for us too. We hope to be able to meet him in person one day, to be able to have a chat."
The Tutta un’altra storia young jury has also decided to award two special mentions. The first goes to Sajid Khan Nasiri, co-director and protagonist of The Mind Game by Sajid Khan Nasiri, Eefje Blankevoort, Els van Driel with the motivation: “You have been and still are a very strong person, for what you have been through and how you faced it. You understand that surrender is a word that doesn't exist, especially for people like us. We want to thank you for showing your life, with all your fragility and all the dramas that have happened to you. You are proof that happy endings can exist!” The second is for Khadija Sabriye, protagonist of All You See by Niki Padidar, because “We have all experienced first-hand what it means to be labeled. Having a stigma attached is something difficult to erase. It is the demonstration of how society can be sick. But the secret is to be yourself in spite of everything, like Kadhija does. And don't be oppressed by the judgments of others. It's time to improve this world. We thank the director for giving a voice to those who, like us, cannot be heard even when screaming. Thank you Niki."
The Arci Ucca Special Jury, founded by members of Arci Ucca, presented the distribution award “L'Italia che non si vede. Itinerant Review of Cinema del Reale” and €1,000 for the best film in the Biografilm Italia Competition. The winner is After the Bridge by Davide Rizzo and Marzia Toscano “for the uncommon ability to pass naturally from History with a capital S to the story of a woman, from a public dimension to another very personal and private one. Far from shortcuts or ideological and propaganda temptations, the work becomes a stimulus for profound discussion through social, political, religious, human elements within a well-finished and solid linguistic framework".

The TOP DOC distribution award- Il bello del documentario, delivered by the jury made up of content creators Eugenia Fattori, Alessandro Redaelli and Elisa Pellegrino, goes to The Land You Belong by Elena Rebeca Carini for the best film in the Biografilm Italia Competition. The motivation: “For the courage to get involved, tackling a complicated topic without the pretension of making the author's point of view absolute. For the delicacy and empathy in managing a personal story, without judgment or condemnation. For the conscious gaze in the rhythm and staging, whose value also lies in its debut nature. The Land You Belong leaves us with the great curiosity to see what Elena Rebeca Carini will do with her cinema after this first film”. The film will receive a 12-month digital distribution on TOP DOC Prime Video Channel”.
The TOP DOC Special Mention - Il bello del documentario was assigned to L'Inganno by Sebastiano Luca Insinga "for an aesthetic that manages to capture the essence of a tradition that is approaching its disappearance, through an unprecedented point of view, which leaves aside all hypocrisy in terms of who is narrating”.
Finally, the DocPoint Helsinki Award, awarded by Sini Hormio, Head of Industry, Impact and Outreach of DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, to the best film of the Biografilm Italia Competition, goes to Geology of Separation by Yosr Gasmi and Mauro Mazzocchi with the following motivation : “The film is a perfect combination of form and content. It resonates across borders as good cinema should. It is cinematic and boldly gives the viewer space and time to think. It is a film meant to be seen on the big screen and I am delighted to invite him to participate in the DocPoint 2024 program.” The film will be part of the DocPoint Helsinki 2024 program and the filmmakers will be guests of the festival.
The Audience Award | International Competition, the prize for the best film of the International Competition goes to Sconosciuti Puri by Mattia Colombo and Valentina Cicogna. The documentary is dedicated to the figure of Doctor Cristina Cattaneo who for years has been committed to ensuring that the dignity of the deceased is respected.
The Audience Award | Biografilm Italia 2023, the award for the best film in the Biografilm Italia Competition, is presented to After the Bridge by Davide Rizzo and Marzia Toscano. Valeria Collina's life is turned upside down by the death of her son Youssef, a member of a jihadist commando, killed during a terrorist attack in London.
The Audience Award | Biografilm Contemporary Lives 2023 for the best Contemporary Lives film goes to Bigger than trauma by Vedrana Pribačić. 25 years after the war in the former Yugoslavia, Katica, Ana and Marija rework the trauma of the sexual violence they suffered, through a therapy and empowerment program dedicated to Serbian and Croatian women victims of war crimes.
The Audience Award | Biografilm Art & Music 2023 for the best Art & Music film, goes toLuci per Ustica by Luciano Manuzzi. Starting from the installation by Christian Boltanski in the "Museum for the memory of Ustica" in Bologna, the film aims to remember and keep the attention on the 81 victims of the tragedy of the DC9 shot down on June 27, 1980.
Finally, the Audience Award | Biografilm Beyond Fiction - Beyond Fiction 2023 goes to Houria by Mounia Meddour. Houria is a talented dancer who is violently attacked one night and wakes up in the hospital traumatized. Surrounded by a community of women, she will find meaning in her life by including dance in the reconstruction and sublimation of wounded bodies.

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