The short film ““Dante Vs Mohammed Ali” by Marc Wagenaar receives three awards while “Fremde Tochter” by Stephan Lacant is the Best Feature Film
The sixth edition of the Torino Underground Cinefest, supported by SystemOut and the Association ArtInMovimento, has just ended after five days of screenings – from 24th to 28th March – in three different locations (Cinema Classico, Cinema-Theatre Baretti and Blah Blah).
As already underlined, the job of the jurors has not been easy because the fifty-two films selected were all of remarkable quality. While Chiara Francese, assisted by Annunziato Gentiluomo and Fabrizio Odetto, was hosting the ceremony, all the awards of the two Juries were assigned.
The 700$ Prize for the Best Feature Film – delivered by the art director Mauro Russo Rouge, together with Fabrizio Odetto, Giorgio Perno, Alessio Brusco, Davis Alfano and Anna Lauria – was conferred to “Fremde Tochter” by Stephan Lacant “for being able to face with audacity and impartiality the delicate issue of racial prejudice, an old and deeply rooted evil that has always dived men making them enemies. It conveys an important message of hope, openly screaming a truth that cannot and should never be forgotten, that all men, no matter their differences, have an equal right to life, love and peace”.
The 300$ Prize for the Best Short Film – delivered by Dr. Massimo Giovara, president of the Culture Commission of the Municipality of Turin, along with Annunziato Gentiluomo, Stefano Semeria, Andrea Morghen, Carlo Conversano, Luca Confortini and Simone Poletto – was conferred to “Dante vs Mohammed Ali” by the Dutch director Marc Wagenaar. Here is their motivation: “It is a powerful movie with the typical ruthless atmospheres of Nordic films. Direct and cruel, but also delicate, poetic and touching. “Dante vs Mohammed Ali” rests on the dynamic of the opposites – boxing and art, strength and sensitivity, physical power and the power of words – that only at the end will come together allowing the two boys, Wolf and Alex, to acknowledge their true self in a narrow-minded and moralistic society that seems to be culturally incapable of conceiving the existence of homosexuality. Perhaps, only the love of a mother can perceive what is really happening when she says “I was in love too once”. Boxing, the symbol of masculinity and virility, acquires a theatrical value in the story as a way to educate young boys to become real men, as well as a ritual that completes a monotonous and gray life. Art, on the contrary, is the path that allows Wolf to feel and understand, and Alex to discover the infinite possibilities of love. This is an honest and refined, very attentive to the details, with a soundtrack that follows and highlights every frame, and a truly outstanding performance by the two main actors, Bas Keizer and Gijs Blom”.
Event Horizon School, supporter of the Festival, has awarded “Behind the blue door” by Mariusz Palej with the 600$ Prize for the Best Post Production “for the creative usage of visual effects, which render the fantasy world hiding behind the blue door original and psychedelic, without forgetting the original concept of the mysterious creature opposed to the little protagonist”. Enrico De Palo, the person in charge of the courses at the School of Cinema, has delivered the award.
The feature-film Jury has awarded “Letters to Paul Morrissey” by Armand Rovira with the Prize for the Best Direction. “It is a brave film, characterized by a splendidly accurate direction when it comes to the composition of images, also supported by an editing that takes inspiration from the classic vintage decoupage. It presents an aesthetic with a vintage flavor but, at the same time, perfectly functional to the story that completes the picture of an innovative and surprising narration”.
This same jury has also awarded Franjo Dijak with the Prize for the Best Actor in the role of Frenki in “Mali” by Antonio Nuić. “Everything you see can easily be told, the difficult part is to tell what you can’t see. Franjo Dijak has been able to give life to a character in whom darkness and light, essence and appearance, truth and lie intermingle in a grim dance played on the edge of an abyss, move after move, till the end…when a simple look can mark the border between life and death”.
The award for the Best Actress in a feature film was assigned to Michaela Schausberger in the role of Annamaria in “Zauberer” by Sebastian Brauneis “for the extraordinary tenderness that she has been able to express with the exquisite quality of her spontaneous and delicate acting, giving us the touching image of pure, unconditional love like the one that only a mother caring for her child can feel; a love so powerful to break the walls of incommunicability and human loneliness”.
As far as Short Films are concerned, the Jury has awarded Jérémy Comte (“Fauve”) with the Prize for the Best Direction. “Jérémy Comte’s direction is fundamental. The acting coach who worked with the two boys, Félix Grenier and Alexandre Perreault, was excellent as their performance was so spontaneous and brave. Comte has masterfully bended all the technical apparatus of the film, cinematography in particular, to achieve an almost maniacal result in terms of quality and attention to details. The time of editing is incredibly coherent, so much to produce an effect of eternal wait and hope in the audience. The close-up at the end of the film is absolutely superb.
The Jury has assigned the award for the Best Actor in a short film to both Bas Keizer (“Dante vs Mohammed Ali” by Marc Wagenaar) and Félix Vannorenberghe (“Simon Cries” by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento). Here is the motivation that led to award Keizer: “he is an extraordinary actor, with an impressive body plasticity. He nonchalantly represents all the nuances of a complex character like Dante, who faces and fights against a narrow-minded society that seems not to have the means to understand him and that marks its time through trivial occasions like the boxing match on the river behind which, without anyone even noticing, the love between these two boys is blooming. Just like the great actors, Bas Keizer is able to bring on the screen the elegance and grace that derives from the theatre, together with the versatility required by the cinema”. As regards Félix Vannorenberghe, he receives the award “for the spontaneous performance with which the protagonist takes the audience in a surreal vision, considered as his sensitivity and the heightened “shape” of crying, preventing this aspect from becoming grotesque, but always remaining extraordinary. We are convinced that what happens to him is real, keeping an uncompromised but real and dramatic acting, always delicate and funny, in which he is the first to become surprised and amazed by his tears”.
The Best Actress in a short film was Tiphaine Daviot (“The winkles” by Alice Vial) “for the complexity of this role and for the variations of many different registers in such a limited running time. Miss Daviot is amazing in the way in which she completes a film that totally rests on her and her life”.
A Special Mention was conferred by the Short Film Jury to “Lucy” by the Venezuelan director Roberto Gutierrez “for his great attention to details and for the originality of a topic that focuses on the love obsession of a Foley Artist, Raùl, who can reproduce with sounds everything he sees happening to the woman he is in love with. The performance of the lead actor, Luigi Sciamanna, is totally convincing and the whole film rests on it”.
The Feature Film Jury has assigned a Special Mention to Helena Zengel, the little actress playing the role of Luca in Mascha Schilinski’s “Die Tochter”, “for being able to play with spontaneity and light heart a character with iridescent nuances who goes straight to the heart of the audience, giving the story an immense emotional richness”.
A commission of experts of the two juries has assigned the across-the-board prize for the Best Original Score to the short film “As the first time” by Emanuela Mascherini. The maestro Andrea Maggiore, Director of the Music School of Turin, has delivered the award providing the following motivation: “Music is part of the story since the protagonist is a pianist. The original score carefully follows the touching and absolutely modern plot. This is a story exalting love that goes beyond time and death, and in the last notes of “Ovunque sei”, the two lovers find each other in a never-ending dimension”.
Paolo Armao has awarded “Behind the blue door” by Mariusz Palej with the prize for the Best Sound Designer “for the amazing usage of sound in the description of both the real world and the unreal world. Sound has been masterfully employed to create different musical perspectives and the aesthetic effect achieved perfectly supports the story, conveying some important insights on the settings and the nature of the characters involved”.
Davis Alfano has conferred the award for the Best Cinematography to “La partita” by Francesco Carnesecchi “for being able to present a particular and functional light to the story and for having highlighted the dark nuances in which unexpected although real truths are hiding”.
It should be recalled that “Dante vs Mohammed Ali” was already awarded with the Special Mention by ArtInMovimento Magazine on Tuesday 26 March. “I am really satisfied with the commitment of the jurors, who have worked with great care and professionalism in the name of art and with respect for the selected authors. In my opinion, every artist had a chance to win since each one of them had a story to tell and an original language to express it. It must not have been easy for the two Juries to proclaim the winners, but their final decisions are totally understandable. My evaluation on the festival is very positive and everything went well. All the guest artists have been impressed by the organization and the warm hospitality, while the audience came out satisfied and very often congratulated us on the scheduling and the quality of the selected films. The volunteers have been simply amazing: they embodied the true spirit of the festival and felt part of the project, working with enthusiasm and professionalism”. These are the words of the art director Mauro Russo Rouge.
It should also be said that this sixth edition was supported through a voluntary contribution by the School of Digital and Interactive Arts “Event Horizon” and, together with ArtInMovimento Magazine which dealt with the press office, the other media partners were Italia Che Cambia, Piemonte Che Cambia, TorinOggi, Studio54Network, Eco del Cinema, Al di là del Cinema and Il profumo della dolce vita.