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The Winner

News The Winner

The Winner


Golden Olive Tree – Cristina Soldano Award for Best Film
to “A Room of my Own” by Ioseb Bliadze
Special Jury Award
to “How is Katia?” by Christina Tynkevych


Best Cinematography Award to “9th Step” by Irma Pužauskaite
Best Screenplay Award to “Zuhal” by Nazli Elif Durlu
SNGCI Award for Best European Actor to
Marija Pikic leading actor in the film “A Ballad” by Aida Begic
FIPRESCI Award to “Zuhal” by Nazli Elif Durlu
Cineuropa Award to “9th Step” by Irma Pužauskait?
Audience Award to “9th Step” by Irma Pužauskait?

CNC – Italian Short Film Centre Award and Augustus Color Award
Best Short Film to
“San Vitu Rock” by Fausto Romano
Special Mention to “The last day of winter” by Renata La Serra
Special Mention to “Endless Waiting” by Francesco Lorusso
Rai Cinema Channel Award
to “Faccia di cuscino” by Saverio Cappiello

Unisalento Award
to “The last day of winter” by Renata La Serra
Mario Verdone Award
to Giulia Louise Steigerwalt for “Settembre”
Emidio Greco Award
“La vera storia della partita di nascondino più grande del mondo”
by Paolo Bonfadini, Irene Cotroneo and Davide Morando
Cinecittà News Special Mention for the section Cinema&Reality
“MILVA” by Angelo Domenico Capogna
Rotary Award
Iazz Bann by Lorenzo Zitoli and Salvatore Magrone


The 23rd European Film Festival, directed by Alberto La Monica, ended on a positive note. Many guests came to Lecce to present their films and initiatives and talk to the audience: Raoul Bova with the première of The Christmas Show by Alberto Ferrari; the Verdone siblings for the Mario Verdone award; Sergio Rubini, to whom the festival has dedicated the section The Protagonists of Italian Cinema; Marta Donzelli, president of the National Short Film Centre (CSC) who has presented the 4K restoration of Crazy Desire by Luciano Salce, alongside Ricky Tognazzi, on the centenary of his father Ugo’s birth; Massimiliano D’Epiro, director of the premiered film La prima regola, with actors Andrea Fuorto, Antonia Fotaras, Haroun Fall, Marius Bizau, and Violante Placido, who has collaborated to the sound of the track Come un sasso alongside Davide “Boosta” Dileo. Directors, producers and stars of the films in competition were also present at the festival.
The Festival Off, which brought the FCE across Lecce, saw the participation of the entire city in the related events with Cesare Dell’Anna featuring H.E.R., maestro Rocco Quarta and the band of Monteroni, and Erica Mou and Cosimo Damiano Damato for the tribute to Carmelo Bene. A further tribute was paid to Ugo Tognazzi with the presentation of “Il rigettario” with Ricky Tognazzi, while the myth of Monica Vitti was presented by Laura Delli Colli with the book “Monica. Vita di una donna irripetibile”.
As always, the festival presented a rich programme of Italian and European titles with a focus on social and topical issues, and showed support for Ukraine with the presentation of some of its most recent films in the presence of director of the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival, Andriy Khalpakhchi.
For the “Golden Olive Tree” European Feature Film Competition, the jury, chaired by Pascal Diot and composed of Klaus Eder, Andriy Khalpakhchi, Marie-Pierre Vallé and Enrico Vannucci, has awarded the following prizes:
Golden Olive Tree – Cristina Soldano Award for the Best Film to A Room of my Own by director Ioseb Bliadze (Georgia, Germany) “for its ability to interpret with depth the conservative approach towards young people in society and to show how it is possible to become the architect of one’s own destiny in spite of everything”;
Special Jury Award to How is Katia? by director Christina Tynkevych (Ukraine) “for portraying the tragic fate of a young “single” mother against the background of the injustice of certain social issues”;
Best Cinematography Award to “9th Step” by director Irina Pužauskait? (Lithuania) “for portraying with sensitivity the protagonists’ lives and emotions”;
Best Screenplay Award to “Zuhal” by director Nazli Elif Durlu (Turkey) “for the originality of the screenplay, which reconstructs the social landscape of a Turkish apartment block through the fate of a cat imprisoned behind a wall”.
SNGCI Award for Best European Actor, awarded by the Jury of Italian Film Journalists, had presented the Best Actor Award of the 23rd edition of the festival to the Bosnian Marija Pikic, leading actor in the film A Ballad by Aida Begi? (co-produced by Bosnia Herzegovina and France), because “with lightness and intensity, she donates her body and soul to the lonely ballad of Meri, a woman fighting for the custody of her young daughter while facing the challenge of coping with the disorganisation of a dysfunctional family and the aggressiveness of a controlling mother. In her life, marked by conflicting moods and perspectives, there is no right to intimacy or quietness. For this reason, the swinging of moods and feelings staged by Marija sparks the light of a small feminist revolution in her difficult daily life. Very convincing in staging instances of reality, melancholy, loneliness and rebellion, Marija’s Meri turns into a freedom ballad’s champion”.
The FIPRESCI Jury, composed of Paola Casella, Živa Emerši? and Joanna Orzechowska-Bonis, has awarded Zuhal by Nazli Elif Durlu “for its original idea and smart development of the deceivingly simple story that begins as an absurd search for a cat supposedly hidden in the walls of the upper middle-class residential building. This surreal search led by a strong and independent central female character reveals a multilayered portait of a modern Turkish society, represented by the inhabitants of the building, functioning on the basis of civil cowardness and conformity. The starting light tone of the movie turns into a serious introspective of a position of the woman in modern Turkey, but its critical tones remain smartly hidden under the cover of a cat-hunt without losing its strong message”.
The Cineuropa Award, presented by Cineuropa director Valerio Caruso goes to 9th Step by Irma Pužauskait? for “for showing with sensitivity that you can learn from your mistakes. For describing fragile and wounded characters capable of saving themselves thanks to their passions. To reward the first film of a very promising young woman. The film makes us appreciate the portrait of a father who tries, despite the difficulties and his alcohol addiction, to do the right thing and keeps the moral bar straight. One cannot help cheering for him until the very end and hope that, by remedying his mistakes, this fallible and imperfect young father finally manages to snatch a smile from his daughter”.
For Puglia Show, the jury, chaired by Gregorio Paonessa and composed of Antonella Gaeta and Lidia Vitale, has presented the CNC – Italian Short Film Centre Award and the Augustus Color Award to San Vitu Rock by Fausto Romano “For the light, joyful narrative dance engaged with the tradition of the carved stone of San Vito in Calimera, in the heart of Grecìa Salentina, which grants health and wellbeing. Fausto Romano’s passionate and enjoyable short film moves on the safe ground of paradox and the well-directed and interpreted comedy”.
Two special mentions to: The last day of winter by Renata La Serra, “The only short film of the realism selection, Renata La Serra’s work reveals a mastery of the tools of reality storytelling thanks to a story of welcoming, inclusion and memory – themes we are compelled to face daily in our contemporary world”; Endless Waiting by Francesco Lorusso, “A short film, supported by important and international resources, reveals the safe and inspired hand of a young director in training who sinks his heart and gaze into the uncanny, the myth and the solitude of a coming into the world that never takes place”.
The following prizes were also awarded to the short films in the Puglia Show section:
The Rai Cinema Channel Prize, presented by the jury composed of Maria Federica Lo Jacono and Manuela Rima, consisting in 3000 euros, to Faccia di cuscino by Saverio Cappiello “For the great ability of the director and the young actors to profoundly portray reality, in that phase between childhood and adolescence in which everything is a challenge and the need to be accepted is fundamental”.
The Unisalento Prize, awarded by the jury of the University Cineclub of the Dams and Design and Management of Audiovisual and Performing Production Systems courses at the University of Salento, goes to The last day of winter by Renata La Serra with the following motivation: “For a storytelling built on a remarkable smoothness and fluidity. The immersive shots invite the viewer into a reality portrayed naturally. For a message aimed to raise awareness on such a delicate issue treated with originality”.
The Mario Verdone Award, presented by the jury composed of siblings Carlo, Luca and Silvia Verdone from a selection of 10 titles offered by the European Film Festival and SNGCI, goes to Giulia Louise Steigerwalt for her debut work Settembre with the following motivation: “A particularly interesting debut that marks, in an intertwining of lost loves and unexpected encounters, a small revolution in the traditional liturgy of a sentimental comedy. Irony and sincerity are alternated with moments of authentic poetry. In the film, the awkwardness of teenagers facing the difficulty of their first time is contrasted by the desire of confused adults unable to abandon their melancholy solitudes (even surprisingly) in order to awaken their numbed feelings. Marked by the rhythm of a script perfect also in the dialogues, Settembre is a new comedy, crossed by a narrative sensitivity that promises to an already good screenwriter the certainty of a bright future as a director”.
The Emidio Greco Award, for which the short films selected by CNC director Lia Furxhi and FCE director Alberto La Monica compete, was presented by the jury composed of the Greco family, who chose for this edidion La vera storia della partita di nascondino più grande del mondo by Davide Morando, Irene Cotroneo and Paolo Bonfadini, with the following motivation: “To succeed in enhancing memory, to work so that it remains alive in the thoughts of the new generations, is a difficult, yet necessary operation, in some cases fundamental. Being able to do this in a short film, using with balance the language of the documentary and bending it with freedom and respect, irony and awareness, towards one’s own expressive needs is one of the main objectives of cinema. This is what the winning film manages to do. The tenth edition of the Emidio Greco Award goes to La vera storia della partita di nascondino più grande del mondo by Davide Morando, Irene Cotroneo and Paolo Bonfadini, with the wish to continue successfully investigating that territory in which cinema meets reality”.
The Rotary Club Lecce Award, chosen from all the films presented at the festival, is awarded to a film that in terms of theme and narrative form is particularly close to the mission (‘We serve’) of this humanitarian association. This year the award was given to Iazz Bann by Lorenzo Zitoli and Salvatore Magrone, with the following motivation: “Through the recovery of the values of the past and the awareness of the present, the film proposes the narration of a musical story that becomes a sensitive metaphor for today, based on the care of our roots and projected on future perspectives”.
This year the Cinema&Reality section was enriched with the “Cinecittà News” special mention, which goes to MILVA by Angelo Domenico Capogna: “The Cinecittà News editorial staff has chosen a film that affirms that cinema is also able to create dreams, even when it narrates from the most pressing current events. The choice of the mockumentary contributes to fuelling not a fantasy universe, but a realistic and fantapolitical cosmos set in the near future. A monster for the environment, society, health, a monument of immobility and death: the ILVA in Taranto, from a place of horrors and chronicles in Apulia, is transformed by the cinema into a museum, which in its essence carries the concept of historical memory and a glimmer of a different future. For the bold vitality with which the author takes up a burning subject that still inflames the existences of Taranto and Italy, and is able to play with the cinematic instrument, making its imaginative essence explode, with a highly realistic result; for the ability to weave with vitality the language of the mockumentary with that of contemporary history”.
The Audience Award goes to 9th Step by Irma Pužauskait?.
The European Film Festival, conceived and organized by the Cultural Association “Art Promotion”, is part of the Apulia Cinefestival Network, the network of film festivals of the Apulia Film Commission and the Apulia Region – Department of Tourism, Economics of Culture and Valorisation of the Territory, an intervention financed with the foundation’s autonomous budget resources. It was created with the contribution of the Ministry of Culture – Directorate General for Cinema, Municipality of Lecce.
The festival, appointed by the Ministry of Cultural Activities and Tourism as “Event of National Interest”, is a member of the Association of the Italian Film Festivals; it boasts the patronage of the European Parliament and the collaboration of the Experimental Centre of Cinematography, S.N.G.C.I., FIPRESCI, S.N.C.C.I., National Short Film Centre, University of Salento.
Media partners: Cinecittà News, Cineuropa, FRED Film Radio, HeyUp
Technical partners: Augustus Color, Liberrima, Rai Cinema Channel, Quarta Caffè, Acqua Orsini, Futuro Remoto Gioielli