Last week marked the 2021 edition of the Amsterdam Independent Film Festival, screening over the course of five days. Like previous years, the festival took place at Amsterdam’s LAB111 — the cult cinema located in a former anatomical pathology hospital — where it screened a selection of 27 remarkable independent films from all over the world.
The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival would like to thank the members of the jury for their professional approach, time and energy: Oliver Guy-Watkins, Gabriela Forfota, Orly Nurany, Parisa Zandbaf, Gilles Elie Cohen, Nicolas Tiercelin, Pim Diepersloot and Vita Buivid.
The festival is pleased to share with you today the winners of its 2021 edition:
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE FILM: 'MY SON' (SOUTH KOREA) BY EQUAN CHOE
Jury members remarked that “My Son will inspire, shock, enlighten, move and entertain many.” “The audience was visibly and audibly moved during the viewing. And it was moving indeed. Offering a tasteful balance between comedy and drama that never seizes to intrigue. Sharply written dialogue, outstanding performances and clearly defined motives for all characters.” “My Son deals with a significant topic, or actually two. The sexual life of disabled people and euthanasia. Additionally, the way that movie talks about the connection between a dad and his son is very rare in the cinema. With only 5 characters we are completely absorbed by the story.” “One of the better choices for the script seems to be the presence of the young helper who builds suspense over his real intentions while turning out to be a kind person, and makes us think about the greater picture of the society that he depicts.”
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM: 'BOY FROM THE BLAZE' (SPAIN) BY IGNACIO ACCONCIA
The jury comments: “The film manages to be intimate while exploring the universe of a delicate protagonist who raises the tough question "Why me?" in reaction to his fate. The documentary manages to capture both the low and the high points in the protagonist's journey dealing with life, as he becomes the age of an adult. He is filmed with dignity, but without shying away from literary showing how it is to be in his skin. And while self expression through music is therapeutical, it's the support system made out of family and friends that help him going as well. The end with the family's emotional breakout unveils the heaviness carried also by the others.”
BEST NARRATIVE SHORT FILM: 'TENDER AGE' (FRANCE) BY JULIEN GASPAR-OLIVERI
One jury member praises the excellent intimate opening scene. “A determined teenage fooling herself and me she's on top of a situation only to fall apart in her mother arms. Excellent acting, camera work, art direction, montage - all pointing at a seriously good director's vision.” “I wanted to see this great piece of work as a feature,” commented another jury member.“The actress is amazing. The opening scene strong. The development solid. The quality high. It's the kind of film you never expect to accidentally find you. I'm happy it did.” “The main protagonist's journey of uncovering her own vulnerability, while trying to be someone else, is what makes the story credible and her dual behavior genuine.”
BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM: 'THE DAYDREAMERS' (U.K.) BY THOMAS RENCKENS
The jury found this to be a great documentary – creatively made, enlightening, questioning – and was hooked from start to finish: “Strong conversations that still left much air for thoughts and self reflection during watching. Strong characters and enjoyable doubt whether it's acted/scripted. This hybrid form reflects on the escapist theme and adds lightness to - at moments -under the skin gripping experience.”
BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: 'HELFER' (HUNGARY) BY ANNA SZÖLLÖSI
“A trip into self through the eyes of others. Impressive use of stretching time at the psychologist chair, particularly in means of sound. Meaningful cuts between shots,” remarks the jury. “The topic is bold, and it is really fresh how the notion of immortality was presented. Also, it was very well done technically.” “The film's production is cinematic for its minimalistic animation yet elaborated camera angles and movements. The surreal world offers a new dimension in which a lot is possible.”
BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM: 'FILM FOUND' (DENMARK) BY CLAUDIA MUNKSGAARD-PALMQVIST
“A sensorial experience,” according to the jury. “A comforting and strange place to be. Excellent collages.”
BEST SUPER SHORT FILM: 'THE MOTH' (U.K.) BY GEORDIE LEYLAND
“The film works well for its humorous fantasy approach and its minimalistic yet cinematic style. The vertical screen is suited well to the hanging light bulb,” observed one of the jury members.
BEST MUSIC VIDEO 'YOU AND ME' (U.K.) BY KARNI AND SAUL
“The films function well with the multiple screens timed differently of the same action, in which everyone dances their solitude.”
BEST DUTCH FILM: 'BUTTERFLIES' (NETHERLANDS) BY LIZA KOIFMAN
“The two main protagonists have a great way of being different while recognizing their need for each other. The film works well for its setting at night, with suspense scenes combined with the moments of the women in their intimacy at home” commented the jury members. They also took note of the impressive “sensitive and realistic performances” by Ziarah Janssen and Liza Koifman. “Janssen's relationship with the camera is one I am excited to see grow in the future.”
The Amsterdam Independent Film Festival would like to thank LAB111 and Tarkovski Agency for their continued support, and all guests for coming out to enjoy another week full of independent cinema. See you all next year!