29 August 2022 - The Venice Film Week team would like to thank all of their guests for coming out to enjoy a week of new independent cinema from around the globe at the seventh edition of the festival, which ended this past weekend with a special open air screening in collaboration with Cinemoving.
This year, the festival was privileged to receive almost two thousand entries. Twenty seven wonderful films made it to the final selection for 2022. The Venice Film Week is pleased to announce to you today the following films as its award winners for 2022, as chosen by this year's jury members:
Best Narrative Feature Film: Humanization (Sweden) by Giulio Musi.
Giulio Musi’s 'Humanization' beautifully depicts the mental and physical effects of grief. It explores one woman’s futile attempts to regain her humanity after being completely consumed by depression and emotional despondency. The serenity of the nursing home in which Anna resides, as well that of its surrounding landscape, is in stark contrast to her outbursts of violence and self-harm. Her episodes are shot in a manner void of all emotion; the cinematography doesn’t reflect the audiences apprehension toward these disturbing images, but rather Anna’s vacant disposition, depicting them bluntly and without reserve. The entire film evokes a dreamlike feeling that blurs the lines between reality and fiction, thus skilfully emulating Anna’s loosening grip on humanity.
Best Documentary Feature Film: Silent Beauty (USA) by Jasmin Mara López.
'Silent Beauty' is a documentary fraught with heartbreaking revelations, reflections, and concessions. The film recount’s one woman’s struggle to cope with both her own sexual abuse, as well as that of numerous family members at the hands of her grandfather. Moreover, the film expertly touches on not just the effects of abuse, but also the justifications and rationalizations so often employed as a means to overlook it. Dozens of home video clips are interspersed throughout the picture, only adding to the weight and reality of the horrifying experiences relayed by López and her interviewees. The film is a harrowing portrayal of a story that is, unfortunately, not one unique to Jasmin and her family. Thus, their unique willingness and bravery to share their experiences sheds a light not only on their struggle, but also that of countless other victims whose voices have yet to be heard.
Best Narrative Short Film: Day Release (Austria) by Martin Winter.
'Day Release' is, above all else, a character study. In a manner that is raw, unfiltered, and frank, the film exhibits one woman’s pain, sacrifice and selflessness in the face of an unthinkable decision. Rather than chronicling Kathi’s trauma and what lead her to this point, the film instead looks to justify how she chooses to deal with her struggles. In spite of everything, the choice Kathi ultimately makes is undoubtedly the correct one; the solemn note on which the film concludes only reinforces the difficulty of the decision, as well as Kathi’s benevolence and strength for having made it.
Best Documentary Short Film: The de facto martyr suite (Switzerland) by Justine de Gasquet.
'The de facto martyr’s suite' presents the sentiments of Ibn Kenyatta, a New Afrikan man imprisoned since 1974 following an altercation with police in New York City. Alongside footage depicting the struggles of black life in America, as well as visual evocations of the great migration, Ibn illustrates his reasons for refusing to appear before the parole board for the better part of the last five decades. The voiceover is raw and unaltered; Ibn’s reflections aren’t succinct. Instead, he meanders, taking notable detours before circling back to the topic at hand. Gasquet’s choice to relay Ibn’s contemplations in a manner so frank, authentic, and unaltered is a testament to the weight of his words and the power that they hold.
Best Animated Film: Losing It (Austria) by Sascha Vernik.
'Losing It' is a subversive commentary on addiction, withdrawals, and the sweeping desperation that subsequently takes hold. The film’s animation style effectively mirrors the man’s despondency; he is a passing observer of the world around him, his focus firmly held by his unnamed vice. The film’s fantastical imagery and erratic narrative structure effectively and uniquely conveys these themes, making for a fascinating viewing experience.
Best Experimental Film: Upsodown (Australia) by Nathan Ceddia.
'Upsodown' assaults the viewer with bright colors, unharmonious imagery, and esoteric narration. After the detachment between humanity and nature is exhibited, the viewer is reassured that reconciliation and harmony is possible. It truly takes advantage of the visuality of film, opting to deliver its message via a bombardment of the senses, rather than by more conventional, forthright means.
Best Music Video: Entelechy (or on the sense of duty) (Italy) by Carlo Alleva, Anna Utopia Giordano.
'Entelechy' exhibits spoken word lyrics alongside both striking visuals and an abrasive, emphatic soundtrack. As the pulsating rhythm mirrors the cavalcade of effervescent, neon hues on display, an overwhelming sense of anxiety envelopes the viewer. While the colors and sounds build to a crescendo, the voiceover continues, undeterred and without reserve. The narration’s blending of contemporary issues with age-old philosophical and literary ideals is bolstered by this cavalcade of audio and visual stimuli; it provides the narration with an attention-grabbing visual companion piece, while also acting as a rigid dichotomy, both of which reinforce the poem’s poignancy.
Best Italian Cinema Now: Heimat (Italy) by Giovanni Montagnana.
In 'Heimat', a voiceover recites the last letter send home by a soldier who perished at Stalingrad. Images of the blistering, snow-covered warzone are void of all color. Cloudy and dim, the footage is reminiscent of a graphite sketch; the figures slide across the screen unnamed, their faces shrouded and identities lost to time. Bright, pastel footage of domestic life plays in stark contrast to that of the war-torn battlefield. A woman is laughing, children are playing and, as the soldier laments the Christmases spent languishing on the frontlines, a family meets for a warm holiday gathering. The film expertly exhibits both the weight of loss, as well as the necessity of reconciliation, moving forward, and finding peace.
Congratulations to all!
ABOUT VENICE FILM WEEK
The Venice Film Week is an annual week-long event showcasing independent films with an edge. The event was created by independent filmmakers, for independent filmmakers, with the sole purpose to showcase and screen new and upcoming talent. The festival focuses on the unconventional, the unusual, the underground, the intuitive, the innovative, the minimalistic and the true artists of our time. The Venice Film Week would like to thank the Città di Venezia, Circuito Cinema and media partners for their continuous generous support.
A new Call for Entries for the 2023 edition has been launched on FilmFreeway today, submit your film now: https://filmfreeway.com/VeniceFilmWeek.
See you all next year.