The 24th edition of Astra Film Festival took place this year between 16 and 22 of October in Sibiu. 57 films were included in the five competitive sections: International, Eastern and Central Europe, Romania, Short films and DocSchool. The films from the Astra Film Festival competition were evaluated by a jury formed of 13 specialists from the international cinema industry: Peter Biella, Vassilis Economou, Leonard Kamerling, Artchil Khetagouri, Réka Lemhényi, Ionuţ Mareş, Bill Nichols, Kumjana Novakova, Christophe Postic, Alina Predescu, Ada Solomon, Michael Stewart and Corina Șuteu.
Here it is the full list of prizes:
- Best Documentary in the international competition: Libera Nos (dir. Federica Di Giacomo)
Jury’s motivation: ‘Libera Nos stands out as a complex, non-sensational film that, like an onion, reveals layer after layer of the complex relationships among the Catholic Church, satanic possession, profound believers, and magical exorcism. With great respect for both healers and the possessed, Libera Nos gets us thinking about where we go and what we do to cope with the darker forces within us all.’
- Honourable Mention in the international competition: Another Year (dir. Shengze Zhu)
- Best Documentary in the Central & Eastern Europe competition: Communion (dir. Anna Zamecka)
- Best Documentary in the Romanian competition: The Dead Nation (dir. Radu Jude)
Jury’s motivation: ‘The Award for the best film in the Romanian section goes to the most formally innovative film that attempts to expand the boundaries of documentary cinema. By allowing history to become intensely personal, by narrating the story to the audience through the voice of a victim rendered unable to impact upon the events he witnessed, by asking the audience to find the meaning of each scene through the push and pull of still image and sound, The Dead Nation makes the tragic persecution of Romanian Jews into a first person present day experience.’
- Best Research Award in a Romanian documentary: Shindy music (dir. Andrei-Nicolae Teodorescu) & Phoenixxx (dir. Mihail Gavril Dragolea)
- Best Documentary in the Docschool competition: Education (dir. Emi Buchwald)
Jury’s motivation: ‘Like drops of water infinitely reflecting, Education blossoms from a microcosm of children’s faces in school to wider views – homes, parents and cosmos. The camera circles in double movements that bring the viewers closer, inward as the children study, and outward with their growing knowledge of the poetic world.’
- Best Direction in the Docschool competition: Urban Cowboys (dir. Pawel Ziemilski)
- Best Documentary in the Shorts competition: Homecoming (dir. Noam Sobovi)
- Astra Film Excellency Award was given to Iosif Demian, for daring to make a remarkable contribution to the Romanian cinema and beyond.