The winners of the 20th SCHLINGEL Film Festival have been selected
The International Film Festival for Children and Young Audience SCHLINGEL reached another highlight at the festive Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening. Ten juries had the difficult task of choosing their favorite films. 156 film productions were screened from 46 countries. Altogether, 14 prizes were awarded with a total value of about 57,000 Euros, the festival attracted ca. 17,500 cinema visitors.
Children’s Film Competition
This year’s European Children’s Jury, composed of 18 children of 9 different nationalities, has awarded the European Children’s Film Award sponsored by the Saxon Ministry of Culture (endowed with 12,500 Euros and initiated by the Saxon State Ministry for Science and Fine Arts) to the best children’s film:
PAW | Hungary 2015 | Director: Róbert Adrian Pejó
Justification: It has not been easy to reach a unanimous decision. Yet the story of Paw really touched us. The actors embodied their roles convincingly. With its imported animations, the exciting film was able to make us laugh time and time again. It is a film for the entire family since it is about everyday problems we experience day after day. We were especially excited by the four-legged-animal’s loyalty and extraordinary senses.
The “DIAMANT” – a bicycle produced by the Diamant Bicycle Corporation Hartmannsdorf in Sachsen, the award for the best children’s actor, goes to
FÉLIX BOSSUET (Belle and Sébastien, The Adventure Continues) | France 2015 | Director: Christian Duguay
Justification: The best children’s actor is a boy who impresses us with his courage. He never forgets his goal and pushes on even when others have already given up hope. With a loyal companion on his side, he is ready to face all dangers.
The Professional Jury Feature Film International composed of five members (Eduard Barnsteiner, barnsteiner-film / Jekaterina Bordatschowa, Film Festival Coordinator Russia / Gisela Clauß, SLM / Christa Streiber, MDR / Katrin Voigt, Head of the Office for Urban Cultural Management in Chemnitz) awards the Special Prize from MDR (endowed with 6,000 Euros) to:
BIRDS OF PASSAGE | Belgium, France 2015 | Director: Olivier Ringer
Justification: The film distinguishes itself through its powerful use of images. A girl who is unable to walk becomes responsible for a small duckling that cannot swim. The conflict Margaux experiences between her desire to lead a free and independent life and her parents’ overprotection is sensitively narrated. This conflict is wonderfully resolved by the girls’ rescue operation for the duckling. The film does not spare the conflicts that arise between the two girls and illustrates the difficulties of living with a disability in a world that is not barrier-free and accessible to all people. Topics like inclusion and animal protection are introduced on a highly artistic level without the use of a moralizing undertone. The performance of both main actors led by director Olivier Ringer deserves special recognition. It is a unique kind of road movie and an exceptional children’s film suitable for the whole family.
Junior Film Competition
The Professional Jury Feature Film International composed of five members (Eduard Barnsteiner, barnsteiner-film / Jekaterina Bordatschowa, Film Festival Coordinator Russia / Gisela Clauß, SLM / Christa Streiber, MDR / Katrin Voigt, Head of the Office for Urban Cultural Management in Chemnitz) awards the First Prize from the City of Chemnitz and the SLM (Saxon State Centre for Private Radio and New Media) (endowed with 10,000 Euros) to:
ENCLAVE | Serbia, Germany 2015 | Director: Goran Radovanovic
Justification: The film, invested with tragedy, conveys powerful messages to its young audience while offering rays of hope that the children will not make the same mistakes as today’s adults. The professional jury judges the film to be artistically and dramaturgically valuable. The film is very moving and thought-provoking long after the viewer has left the cinema. The professional jury strongly agrees that this film production should be made available to large numbers of young people and adults since it deals with contemporary history still relevant today.
Honorable Mention 1: LABYRINTHUS | Belgium | Director: Douglas Boswell
Honorable Mention 2: THE SEVEN RAVENS | Czech Republic | Director: Alice Nellis
Honorable Mention 3: CASPER AND EMMA ON SAFARI | Norway | Director: Arne Lindtner Næss
The Junior Jury composed of 7 members awards the Junior Film Award to:
LABYRINTHUS | Belgium 2014 | Director: Douglas Boswell
Justification: Our favorite film illustrates the dangers that can be involved in playing computer games. And seriously, who among us does not enjoy playing? The story about the 14-year-old Frikke is suspenseful and entertaining to the last minute.
Youth Film Competition
The Youth Jury composed of 7 members awards the Youth Film Prize (endowed with 1,000 Euros) for the best youth film to:
YOUNG TIGER | France 2014 | Director: Cyprien Vial
Justification: The multi-facetted plot offers an authentic view about what life is like as an outsider. The main actor plays the diverse roles of student, family member, friend, illegal worker and smuggler very convincingly. This film offers new views into the restraints and fears of refugees. It sparked in us an empathy that takes on new dimensions due to the current political situation.
Honorable Mention 1: SOCIAL SUICIDE | GB 2015 | Director: Bruce Mark Webb
Honorable Mention 2: ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL | USA 2014 | Director: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon
The DEFA Sponsorship Prize (endowed with 4,000 Euros) goes to:
WE ARE YOUNG. WE ARE STRONG. | Germany 2013 | Director: Burhan Qurbani
Justification: This film’s story stirs feelings of bewilderment, helplessness and anger while at the same time moving the audience to tears. The film is based on a historical event which took place 23 years ago, yet whose relevance for today could not be bigger. It provokes many questions without providing all of the answers and encourages critical discourse in our society. The film forces you to question your own opinion and responsibility again and again. In addition, the destructive games played by the characters are so disturbingly realistic that you forget you are watching actors on the screen.
For the fourth time, the Goethe Institut is awarding a feature film in the category with the Youth- and Children’s Film Prize of the Goethe Institut. This year’s award goes to:
SANCTUARY | Germany 2014 | Director Marc Brummund
Justification: This is one of the few attempts to address the topic of correctional facilities in Germany. Based on real life events, the film portrays the conditions in one of the worst of these facilities, located in the middle of the idyllic Lower Saxony. The story that is told is the story of Wolfgang, a smart and fun-loving fourteen year old boy who rebels against his authoritative stepfather who forces Wolfgang into one such facility in 1968. With courage and a sheer unbreakable will and longing for freedom, he opposes the diabolical despotism of his housemasters – until they finally break his will through continuous physical and mental violence. This is a tough role to play, but Louis Hofmann, who looks rather tender on the outside, delivers a convincing and touching performance. He is able to authentically portray the tough and rebellious side of his character as well as the vulnerable side. We are deeply impressed that Marc Brummund chose this topic for his debut feature film. We are happy to share this important film with the world through the cultural and language work of Goethe Institut.
Short Film Competition
The Professional Jury for Short and Animated Films composed of three people awards the Short Film Award (endowed with 500€, in cooperation with Filmverband Sachsen) to:
MY STUFFED GRANNY | UK, Greece 2014 | Director: Effie Pappa
Justification: Oh what poignant chances life gives you! With a whole lot of love and a wicked sense of humor, the film portrays the everyday life of a family barely scraping by. The love of details and black humor are a stark contrast to the harsh reality the film portrays. With her puppets, Effie Pappa creates a warm and loving home which at times has to take drastic measures in order to get by. Yet My Stuffed Granny manages to create a feeling of hope through fantasy and its excellent feeling for language. The jury was deeply moved by this film and its final message: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
Honorary Mention 1: One Flash | Ireland 2014 | Director: Niall Cutler
Honorary Mention 2: Two Left Feet | Italy 2015 | Director: Isabella Salvetti
Animation Film Competition
The Professional Jury for Short and Animated Films composed of three people awards the Animation Film Award (endowed with 1,000€) to:
THE LITTLE MAN | Czech Republic, Slovakia 2015 | Director: Radek Beran
Justification: It does not take much to be happy, but sometimes you have to be told what exactly happiness means. Our protagonist goes on an adventure to find out what is missing in his life. Sometimes, sticks and strings are all that is needed to tell a good story. The jury was especially happy about the filmmakers’ decision not to use computer animated images, which shows that they are not necessary to make a beautiful film. The Little Man proves that it is the small things in life that make us happy. We congratulate Radek Beran for his magical hand puppet animation film and his ability to make stiff things come to life.
The ECFA Award of the European Children’s Film Association goes to:
ENCLAVE | Serbia, Germany 2015 | Director: Goran Radovanovic
Justification: This technically well-made, outstanding film – in our opinion recommended for children 11 years old and up – encourages independent research and reflection about the plight of children in war. The film’s sensitive narration and convincing characters create an amazing film experience.
Honorary Mention: BIRDS OF PASSAGE | Belgium, France 2015 | Director: Olivier Ringer
For the third time in the festival’s history the FIPRESCI Jury awards the International Critics Prize. The award goes to:
ENCLAVE | Serbia, Germany 2015 | Director: Goran Radovanovic
Justification: The Schlingel festival clearly proves that cinema can provide children with windows to the world. This year several films were an opportunity for young audiences to connect with children living under very different, even tough circumstances. The movie we chose stood out as a powerful depiction of children stuck in a tragic conflict caused by adults. It shows us how life's hardships can determine an abrupt but also necessary and valuable coming of age.
The Lichtenauer Audience Award by Lichtenauer Mineralquellen GmbH, which is awarded by the audience of the festival to their favorite movie of all categories, goes to:
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SOUPTOWN | Estonia, Finland 2014 | Director: Margus Paju
The students of the Matthes-Enderlein-Gymnasium Zwönitz awarded the Fair-Play-Award for exceptional commitment to the problems of teenagers to:
SANCTUARY | Germany 2014 | Director: Marc Brummund
Justification: Wolfgang, who was forced into a Christian correctional facility by his stepfather, loses not only his youth but also his future. Using inhumane methods, the employees of this institution rob the teenagers of their human dignity and their personality until they finally break. After the death of his stepfather, Wolfgang is allowed to leave the correctional facility, but he has to live with the haunting memories of that place for the rest of his life. The film does not provide an answer to the question if and how he will be able to cope with that. The worst thing for us, however, was that everybody – his mother, the people and the church - turned a blind eye to what was going on. People commit cruel things and everybody looks away. How many terrible things could we prevent if we only listened, looked and acted?
The Schlingel of Honor was already awarded to Gert K. Müntefering, the creator of Die Sendung mit der Maus, on 7 October 2015 for his commitment to German children’s television. He influenced children’s television of the Federal Republic of Germany of the 1960s and 1970s like no other. One can even go as far as to say that he changed it and left his mark visible until today. Gert K. Müntefering was born in 1935 in Westphalia and grew up in the age of print media. From 1963 until 1999, he was responsible for the children’s and family program of the West German Broadcasting Corporation. Aside from his official position, he was an unorthodox thinker, always thinking ahead of his time. He was a never-ending source for characters, concepts and new formats. While it was common to have programs for very young children in other countries, he had to break the mold in Germany and introduce these kinds of programs himself. Right from the start, he knew exactly how to ban boredom from the living room and get adults together with their children in front of the television set. In a time when most people in West Germany looked skeptically towards the East, Gert K. Müntefering traveled into the heart of the Prague Spring and brought Pan Tau and Little Mole back home with him. A little time later, Lucy, the menace of the Street and Arabela were to follow as co-productions. With the Laughing and Learning Stories of The Program with the Mouse in the 1970s, he probably landed the biggest coup of his career together with Siegfried Mohrhof, Monika Partow, Armin Maiwald and Friedrich Streich. After the German reunification, he still had ten more years to work in his field. This was enough time for him to support a new public television program dedicated to children, to help create the popular series Castle Einstein, and to dedicate himself to the company MotionWorks in Halle (Saale) in order to make it a competitive production company for animated movies in central Germany. Today, his official status is that of a pensioner, but this does not keep him from continuing to be an unorthodox thinker always thinking ahead of his time and being a never ending source for characters, concepts and new formats.