Hu Wei wins the Grand Prize and the Audience Award of the 17th Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur with his film “La lampe au beurre de yak”. The Promotional Award goes to “Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire” by Monia Chokri. The jury awards the Prize for the Best Swiss Film to “Kod Ćoška” by Corina Schwingruber Ilić and Nikola Ilić from Lucerne. Deserved winners, 16,500 admissions and a promising future for short films have been the hallmarks of the 17th edition.

Never before did a short film have to contend with so many competitors at Kurzfilmtage: over 5,000 films from 101 countries were submitted – 41 of them finally made it into the International Competition. The winner of the Grand Prize (worth 12,000 CHF) is “La lampe au beurre de yak” by Hu Wei from China. The five member strong jury was especially impressed by the documentary approach to the fictional account, and the film’s collision of east and west, history and memory, love, loss, landscape and ultimately the triumph of humanity. Wei was also determined as a winner by the audience: from all the films in the International and Swiss competition programmes, the visitors gave the Audience Award, worth 10,000 CHF, to the 30 year old filmmaker from Bejing. The Promotional Award for a directing talent, worth 10,000 CHF, goes to the filmmaker Monika Chokri for “Quelqu’un d’extraordinaire”. The debut by the Canadian filmmaker won over the jury with its unconventional narrative structure and the way the story unfolds with equal parts humour and emotion, about a difficult protagonist who we find ourselves unable to turn away from. A special mention was also given to “A Onda Traz, O Vento Leva” by Gabriel Mascaro from Brasil, praising the complex picture of the reality it draws, using small hints to lead us into the protagonist’s world.

The Prize for the Best Swiss Film to “Kod Ćoška” by Corina Schwingruber Ilić and Nikola Ilić from Lucerne

The best Swiss film comes from Lucerne, the best Swiss cinematography from Ticino

The jury awards the Prize for the Best Swiss Film, worth 10,000 CHF, to the Lucerne-based filmmakers Corina Schwingruber Ilić and Nikola Ilić for their film “Kod Ćoška”. The jury praised the film as a poetic but accurate account of a place and its loyal patrons, and lauded the filmmakers for disputing the traditional documentary form with an inventive comedy, which bursts with hope in the midst of modern despair. The Swiss Cinematography Award, worth 11,500 CHF (in kind), goes to the Mexican Quetzalli Malagón for her work on the film “Idyllum” by the filmmaker Denise Fernandes from Ticino. Malagón convinced the jury with her mature sense of composition and the ability of her pictures to let us enter into the world of childhood innocence.

Two newcomer awards and a promising screenplay

The Prize for the Best Swiss School Film, worth 5,000 CHF, was already awarded on Thursday, and went to Julie de Wispelaere for her Bachelor project “205 La Terre s’ouvre”, with which she graduated from Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD). The youth jury determined the winner of the specially curated youth programme, and awarded the Youth Film Prize, worth 500 CHF, to “Yardbird” by the Australian Michael Spiccia. The Shortrun Award, which is awarded outside the competition programme to the the most promising screenplay, goes to Flo Baumann for his project “Between”. The award contains in-kind services worth 12,000 CHF.

The industry discusses the future of short films

At the industry event “Producers’ Day”, which took place on Friday, 150 representatives of the Swiss and
international film industry, including Carlos Ferrão (Ad Program Manager at Google / Youtube) and Wendy Bernfeld (Managing Director at Rights Stuff), held an animated discussion about “The Value of a Short Film”. The conclusion of the day was drawn by Simon Koenig (short film promoter at SWISS FILMS): “The short format is facing a promising  future, as the varied distribution possibilities of the digital era, especially in regards to mobile devices and tablets, have – according to the experts – by far not been fully exploited.” Remo Longhi, the administrative director of Kurzfilmtage, sees this as one of many affirmations of the festival: “The feedback from the industry, the large media coverage and the audience attendance all encourage us in our efforts to provide an annual platform for short films and to promote their development.” Over the festival’s six days, 16,500 admissions were counted – 500 more than what the organizers expected. The 18th Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur will take place from 4 to 9 November, 2014.