Icelandic film wins at Febiofest

The 24th edition of the festival has ended in Prague and is headed to other cities

The Icelandic-Danish drama Heartstone won the Grand Prix top prize at the 24th edition of the International Film Festival Prague – Febiofest. The award goes to a director at the start of their career in the New Europe section. Some 10 films competed. The end of the festival also saw Emir Kusturica and Peter Suschitzky receive the Kristián Award for Contribution to World Cinema. The awards were given out at the March 31 closing ceremony at the CineStar Praha – Anděl cinema, which brought the Prague segment of the festival to an end.

Heartstone is the debut feature by 35-year-old Reykjavik director Gudmundur Arnar Gudmundsson. The Grand Prix comes with € 5,000 for the director and € 5,000 for a potential Czech distributor. The film also earned prizes last year at festivals in Chicago, Thessaloniki and Warsaw.

The film explores friendship and growing up in Iceland, with bored local teens in a remote fishing village in the summer. The main focus is on friends Thor and Christian. One suffers at the hands of his bullying sisters. The other has a father who is constantly drunk. He is also concerned about his sexuality.

A 33-member jury headed by director Juraj Herz chose the winner. “Heartstone has a story that you can identify with, get involved with and agree with,” Juraj Herz said in a press release.

This year, Febiofest welcomed nearly 50 foreign guests, four of whom received the Kristián Award for Contribution to World Cinema. At the start of the festival Czech actor Jan Tříska and US director Abel Ferrara received the statue. British cinematographer Peter Suschitzky. Director Emir Kusturica got theirs at the festival’s closing ceremony.

All of the Kristián had some of their films presented at the festival. Peter Suschitzky was cinematographer on Tale of Tales, a 2015 French-Italian production in English. Four films that he made with David Cronenberg and the 1996 Tim Burton film Mars Attacks! was also shown.

Emir Kustirica presented his new film On the Milky Road, in which has also co-starred with Monica Bellucci. The film is a blend of humor, tragedy and fantasy set largely during the Balkan war.

Abel Ferrara was a the early part of the festival, and six of his films were shown, including a sneak peek at an unreleased music documentary. A 1970 film with Jan Tříska called Radúz a Mahulena was also shown.

Other festival guests included Duncan Kenworthy, the producer of the films Love Actually and Four Weddings and a Funeral, who presented his latest picture The Pass. It explores coming out in the world of football. US screenwriter and novelist Patrick Ness introduced the film A Monster Calls.

The winner of the “You’re the Filmmaker” competition for films shot on a tablet or mobile phone was the film My Day with Kofila by Bohuslav Bakalář. The winner will receive Kč 50,000 donated by Nesté Česko.

The Amnesty International Febiofest Award, through which Febiofest expressed its support for the imprisoned Iranian filmmaker Keywan Karimi, has been presented again this year. The three-member jury of the actresses Ester Geislerová and Lora Kmieliauskaite plus Martin Balcar of Amnesty International gave the prize to the film Marija by director Michael Koch, for its “depiction of the story of the search for human dignity, which we cannot have without human rights.”

This year’s Febiofest, held mainly at the CineStar Anděl multiplex, was attended by over 60,000 viewers. Screenings also took place at the CineStar Černý Most, and one screening took place at the Ponrepo cinema. The opening ceremony took place at the Municipal House and the closing ceremony was at CineStar Anděl and the adjacent hotel andel's, which over three evenings hosted the Culinary Cinema section.

Febiofest supported the non-profit organization Clown for Health, which has been bringing humor to children in hospitals and geriatric patients since 2001. The festival is donating Kč 11,440 to the organization.

Selected films can be enjoyed by movie lovers as part of the Regional Echoes of Febiofest from April 3rd to 28th in 13 Czech cities and towns: Hradec Králové (April 3 –5), Děčín (April 4–6), Plzeň (April 5–7), České Budějovice (April 6–8), Pardubice (April 10–13), Liberec (April 11.–13), Jihlava (April 12– 14), Chomutov (April 13–15), Brno (April 18–19), Olomouc (April 19–21), Mikulov (April 21–23), Ostrava (April 24–26), Zlín (April 26–28).

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