This year, as in previous years, the audience was numerous at Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF projections and events, most of the film projections, as the ones done in partnership with some of the major international film festivals and institutions in the area of avant-garde cinema and visual art, being sold out (for example Berlinale Forum Expanded: Nostalgia for the Future and Cinedans Amsterdam: Emotional Bodies). All the projections of Endless Poetry by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Manifesto by Julian Rosefeldt (with Cate Blanchett) and of Golden Shorts – Best Films in Major Festivals were also sold out.
Another highlight of this year’s edition was The Lifespan of Cinematic Experimentation seminar, which took place at the French Institute lobby and had free entrance. The public, including mostly students, directors or artists, could find out more about film registrations in the festival circuit directly from the „source”. The jury of BIEFF, formed of film professionals experienced in selection and management of film festivals, answered the audience’s questions regarding the opportunities of promoting their own films, „recipes” for success and the awareness increase on the art stage of those who want to find out more about this subject.
This year, the international competition was created based on 5 relevant themes for the contemporary society under the mark of the ancient Mayan greeting: IN LAK’ECH ALA K’IN – which means YOU ARE ANOTHER ME.
Just like in the previous years, BIEFF challenged the audience to exercise empathy, debate and involvement, with focus on otherness and inclusion. In the present moment, in the light of recent social conflics and humanitarian crisis, this approach was a necesity and it was well received by the audience who filled the Elvire Popesco cinema and the Romanian Peasant Museum cinema.
The international competition was divided into five themes – You Are Another Me, The Politics of the Body, Searching for Transcendence, The Alchemy of the Frame, Cutting the Cord. The films were selected and linked between them by the festival’s artistic director, Adina Pintilie, in collaboration with Dan Angelescu, associate curator.
The BIEFF’s jury was formed of well-known industry professionals: Nora Molitor – Representative of Berlinale Forum Expanded and Arsenal Institute Berlin, Paolo Moretti – Member of the Selection Committee, Festival of Documentary Film FIDMarseille and advisor program for Visions du Réel Nyon, Boglárka Nagy – Manager of Film Projects for Romanian French Institute and the programmer of Elvire Popesco Cinema.
BIEFF’s grand prize of 3000 EURO was won by visual artist Hayoun Kwon for the film 489 Years. The award was offered by the Romanian Cultural Institute.
„[…] By conceiving computer generated images as a possible extension of documentary material, 489 Years also constitutes a contemporary and powerful reflection on the very nature of the image and on the new frontiers of imagination as well as narration.” – part of the jury’s statement
The award for Best director of 1500 EURO in post-production services (offered by Cinelab Romania) was given to Diogo Costa Amarante for Small Town.
„With a very poetic and narrative montage, using a format that goes beyond cinemascope, Diogo Costa Amarante dares to approach the questions of death and consciousness within the setting of a mother-child relationship. […]” – part of the jury’s statement
A second award, equally valued, offered by Cinelab Romania, was Best visual concept, that went to Ronny Trocker for the film Summer.
„[…] Ronny Trocker challenges the spectator’s perception but also questions – if not subverts – the sensationalism of current media.” – part of the jury’s statement
Best Romanian Director award (of 1000 EURO) offered by Romanian Filmmakers’ Union was given to Luiza Pârvu and Toma Peiu for Sisyphus 2.0.
„Sisyphus 2.0 transfers an ancient Greek parable – or rather its adaptation in French existentialist literature – to an endless stream of surveillance camera recordings, documenting the everyday’s attempt to give a meaning to life. […]” – part of the jury’s statement
The Special Mention of the BIEFF’s Jury went for the second year in a row to Gabriel Abrantes, this time for A Brief History of Princess X.
„[…] We are awarding the Special Mention of the Jury for the ability to compress a deep artistic and social parable into a precisely constructed narrative, managing to combine the seriousness of its subjects with a sharp humorous approach.” – part of the jury’s statement
The race for the Audience Award was very tight this year: Peep Show by Rino Stefano Tagliafierro and I Made You, I kill you by Alexandru Petru Bădeliță had equal number of votes and won this prize.
If you want to briefly find out what it was like at the BIEFF 2017 edition, you can watch below the making of coordinated by Alice Gheorghiu and Mihai Marin.