‘Oleg’ and ‘Shelter Among the Clouds’ share Best Fiction Film at Cinema of Small Nations Competition

Latvian drama ‘Oleg’ by Juris Kursietis and the Albanian romance ‘A Shelter Among the Clouds’ by Robert Budina are the ex aequo winners of the Best Fiction Feature Award at the first edition of the Cinema of Small Nations Competition held at the fifth edition of the Valletta Film Festival.

The competition came to an end on Saturday 22 June 2019 with a short award ceremony at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, the flagship open-air venue of the Valletta Film Festival.

During the ceremony the international jury read out the the motivations for their decisions

Commenting on ‘Oleg’ the jury said that the film took them on an “insightful journey into the underworld of a European reality with a uniquely visceral and honest approach, fueled by outstanding performances and a whirlwind narrative’.

They also praised ‘A Shelter Among the Clouds’ for “its delicate approach on a sensitive subject of our times and the peaceful bringing together of Catholicism and Islam against the cinematographic backdrop of the Albanian mountains”.

The jury also awarded a Best Documentary Award to the Norwegian film ‘Where Man Returns’ by Egil Håskjold Larsen for “its poetic yet raw use of sound and image that brings us close to the remote life of man calling nature his companion.”

The HSBC Best New Talent Award went to the three directors of the Croatian film ‘Deep Cuts’. Dubravka Turić, Filip Mojzeš, Filip Peruzović will be receiving each a cash prize of €1000 each.

Describing their decision, the jury said that the three new and promising voices from Croatia came together “to create a strong visual and decisively cinematic language that employs all the tools of cinema and leaves us excited to see what’s coming next.”

The jury for feature length films at the Cinema of Small Nations Competition was made up of European Film Academy director Marion Döring, film directors Jayro Bustamante and Peter Sant, photographer Jason Florio, historian and anthropologist Alain Blondy and film programmer Ibee Ndaw.

Three August Days wins Best Short Film

Estonian short film ‘Three August Days’ by Madli Laane was awarded Best Short Film at the Cinema of Small Nations Competition by an independent jury made up French film director Marie-Sophie Chambon, Lebanese festival director and film academic Nicolas Khabbaz and Maltese producer and director Charlie Cauchi.

The jury cited that as a film that depicts the political upheaval in Estonia in the 1990s ” it manages to transcend specificity, giving the audience a nuanced and universal story that we can all relate to, no matter your age or nationality. It’s nostalgic but not sentimental, poignant yet still humorous, and although it is essentially a period piece, it still feels fresh and modern.”

The jury also gave a special mention to special mention to Lebanese filmmaker Saamir Syriani and his film Contact.

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