LECCE 8TH – 13TH APRIL  2019

Golden Olive Tree “Cristina Soldano Award for Best Film” to Oray by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

Mario Verdone Award to Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo for Boys Cry

FIPRESCI Jury Award to Two for joy by Tom Beard

SNGCI Award for Best European Actor to Vinicio Marchioni for Cronofobia by Francesco Rizzi

Agiscuola Award to Genesis by Árpád Bogdán



The 20th edition of the European Film Festival of Lecce has ended with great success and audience participation. The Festival, directed by Alberto La Monica, is dedicated to Cristina Soldano, who had been artistic director ever since the first edition and was able to give a great boost to this event with her passion and professionalism. In this edition, the Festival has hosted a number of film personalities including the great Russian filmmaker Aleksandr Sokurov, the icon of Italian cinema Stefania Sandrelli,alongside Nino FrassicaPaola Minaccioni and Alessandro Siani. A double anniversary for the Festival, which, in addition to its twentieth birthday, has also celebrated ten editions of the Mario VerdoneAward with the Verdone siblings. There have also been several special events and premieres, which have brought to Lecce Stefano AccorsiLeonardo D’AgostiniMarios Piperides, Laura LuchettiJean-Marie Benjamin, together with leading members of the film industry such as Matteo RovereSidney SibiliaPaolo Del BroccoLuigi LonigroGiuseppe GalloGianluca Pignataro, as well as directors and actors from the films in competition. All of the screenings for students have also been met with great participation and interest, with the protagonists of the films holding Q&As with the young audiences, involving the schools and high schools of the town.


This year, the Festival has endeavoured to give voice to a minority of actors who struggle to find a place in the audiovisual world and therefore want to send out a message from this stage through the testimonies of  Sara Laura Raimondi, Liliana Mele, Maziar Firouzi and Shi Yang Shi, who will assign the Audience Award.

These actors, also on behalf of many other colleagues, call for a change in the public imagination, in order for cinema to break down any stereotypes and borders within a multi-cultural society.


The prizes have been awarded during the awarding ceremony hosted by Virginia Panzera and Carlo Gentile.

The Golden Olive Tree Jury, chaired by Marco Müller and composed by Guillame Calop, Pippo Mezzapesa, Ana Urushadze and Olena Yershova, has awarded the following prizes:

Golden Olive Tree “Cristina Soldano Award for Best Film” to Oray (Germany, 2019) by Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay with the following motivation: “A disturbing examination of the contrast between traditional beliefs and human behaviour in our contemporary societies. A very personal first feature boasts a deep psychological examination. Starting from a seemingly small incident the director manages to explore some of the wider issues related to the communities of recent immigration in Europe”.

Best Screenplay Award to Elma Tataragić for Stitches by Miroslav Terzić (Serbia, 2019), with the following motivation: “The intelligent script makes a powerful psychological drama of a dramatic chapter in recent Balkan history”.    


Best Cinematography Award to Tamás Dobos for Genesis (Hungary, 2018) by Árpád Bogdán with the following motivation: “The beautifully crafted cinematography is designed so that personal tragedies are always placed in larger surroundings. The expert framing manages to bring together personal emotions and social background”. 

Special Jury Award to Cronofobia (Italy, 2018) by Francesco Rizzi, with the following motivation: “The alienation within one of the most affluent European societies is analysed with warmth and human understanding in an impressive debut film where bold directorial choices create mysterious connections between floating identities”.

The FIPRESCI Jury, composed by Francesco Grieco, Anders E. Larsson and Georgios Papadimitriou, has awarded Two for joy by Tom Beard (UK 2018) with the following motivation: “For the convincing display of the shattering of domestic circumstances following in the footsteps of the strong British social realist cinema, performed by a flawless cast”.

The SNGCI (National Union of Italian Film Journalists) Award, assigned by the members of the Union and by its President Laura Delli Colli to the best European actor/actress, goes to Vinicio Marchioni for Cronofobia (Switzerland, 2018) by Francesco Rizzi, with the following motivation: “Because even through the silences of his character, a simple gesture or an intense look, he is able to give shape and voice to the mystery of a man who hides a secret, keeping the emotional suspense high throughout the story”.

The jury of the Cineuropa Award, composed by Stefan Kitanov, Stefan Laudyn, Stefan Uhrik, has  assigned the award to Genesis (Hungary, 2018) by Árpád Bogdán with the following motivation: “The Cine Europa jury would like to underline the fact that the quality of the Golden Olive Tree Competition was on a very high level. We are safe as Europe, at least the film community, because filmmakers care about reality, focusing on serious problems and communicating them to the audiences. And some of the biggest problems of our world are racism, hatred and the rise of fascism. The winning film resonated strongly with us. As a rock and roll jury we selected a film that rocks and rolls. The Cineuropa Prize goes to Genesis by Arpad Bogdan from Hungary”.


The Audience Award goes to Summer survivor by Marija Kavtaradze (Lithuania, 2018).

The Mario Verdone Award 2019, tenth edition, has been awarded to Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzofor Boys Cry (Italy, 2018) with the following motivation: “While telling how it is damn easy to grow accustomed to evil, the D’Innocenzo brothers make a focused portrait of a young generation torn between the lure of the hell to which they are destined and the sudden realisation that awareness is already in itself a way out.

A duo of filmmakers to watch and an exceptionally filmed debut feature, displaying an already ambitious conception of filmmaking and unpredictably conveying the need for moral anxiety towards a firstly personal and secondly social redemption”.


The seventh edition of the Emidio Greco Award (selection committee: Jacopo Chessa, Lia Furxi, Alberto La Monica) has been assigned by the jury composed by the Greco family to YOUSEF by Mohamed Hossameldin with the following motivation: “When making a film, finding a balance between the theme you want to discuss and the story you want to tell is the goal of any director. And when, as in the case of the winning short film, this balance, this right distance, is found through the close-ups, the looks and the whole performance of the leading actor, you can tell that the goal has been achieved. In the winning short film, over just 14 minutes, the issue of citizenship is dealt with without stereotypes or hypocrisy, through an editing that perfectly articulates the narrative time and a direction of the actors that is never over the top. With the wish that the director always keep portraying reality with the same honest eye, the winning film of the seventh edition of the Emidio Greco Award is YOUSEF by Mohamed Hossameldin”.


The jury of the Puglia Show section, composed by Giovanni RobbianoAlessia Barela and Corrado Azzolini, has assigned the National Short Film Centre AwardAugustus Color Award, to Nessun dormaby Paolo Strippoli, with the following motivation: “A film that updates, within a typically Italian reality, a genre that has always fascinated the general public, keeping up the quality of both writing and directing, with an excellent balance of all its aspects, from cinematography to editing, as well as the direction of the two excellent young actors.” 


Special Mention to Et in terra pacis by Mattia Epifani.

The Rai Cinema Channel 3.000 Euro Prize has been awarded by the jury composed by Maria Federica Lo Jacono and Manuela Rima to Et in terra pacis by Mattia Epifani: “For telling, with profundity and sensitivity, a story of violence and abuses that forces us to remind ourselves of the value of human dignity and the importance to respect the human rights of each and every person”.


The Unisalento Award, assigned by the jury composed by the students of the University Film Club, an activity for the promotion and study of audiovisual culture established by the Interdepartmental Research Centre in Digital Humanities of the University of Salento and supported by Apulia Film Commission Foundation, goes to Satyagraha by Nuanda Sheridan (Simona De Simone) (2018) with the following motivation: “For embodying, with an elegant and delicate yet profound style, the theme of fighting through love and the search for love itself that overcomes the obstacle of time. For its cinematography, which evokes dreamlike dimensions, enhanced by sounds that add to the meaning and the poetic substance of the film.”


The Agiscuola Award, assigned by a jury of high-school students from Lecce, has been awarded to Genesis by Árpád Bogdán “Three dramatic stories that interweave in a whirlwind of symbolisms, silent individual rebellions, instinctive heroics and liberating choices that mark the triumph of social, formal and human justice over discrimination”.


For the first year, the European Film Festival, together with the Rotary Club Lecce association, has established the Rotary Club Lecce Award with the aim of awarding one of the films screening at the Festival that, for its themes and narrative form, is deemed particularly in line with the mission of this humanitarian association: serving others and promoting integrity and international understanding. The Rotary Club Lecce Award goes to We’ll Rise at Dawn by Jean-Marie Benjamin “for its ability to stress the importance of friendship and the value of spiritual research, highlighting the constant topicality of the figure of Saint Pio from Pietrelcina and the value of his testimony in a reality that cannot do without solidarity and trust in human beings”.   


The European Film Festival is conceived and organised by the Cultural Association “Art Promotion” and produced by Apulia Film Commission Foundation and by Puglia Region and funded by Patto per la Puglia programme (FSC, Fund for Regional Development and Cohesion). It is also supported by the Municipality of Lecce and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism – Directorate General for Cinema.

The European Film Festival, recognised as an “event of national interest” by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism, is a member of the Association of Italian Film Festivals and can boast the Patronage of the European Parliament and the collaboration with the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia (Experimental Film Centre), S.N.G.C.I., FIPRESCI, S.N.C.C.I., Centro Nazionale del Cortometraggio (Italian National Short Film Centre), Agiscuola, Rai Cinema Channel, Augustus Color, Austrian Cultural Forum, Arci Lecce, Rotary Club Lecce, Liberrima, Manifatture Knos, Officine Cantelmo, MUST Lecce, Quarta Caffè, Apollonio, Stasi Azienda Agricola, Passo Uno, futuroRemoto Gioielli, S.T.P. di Terra d’Otranto, Concessionaria Autosat.

Media partners: Cinecittà News, Cineuropa, FRED Film Radio, Rai Radio3.    



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