The second upfront! Young European Video Award was presented at the Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf on 07 May 2002.
LET THE SUNSHINE IN (05:11)
Eva Magdić Govedarica (Aged 20 • Croatia / Scotland)
Text Jury Member: Prof. Robin Curtis
“What is past tense for ‘we are’?” The question opens the acoustically and visually densely textured film Let the Sunshine In which poses the question of how past and present, here and there coalesce when one leaves one’s home behind and begins again somewhere else.
This question is one that obviously has an ongoing currency. What happens to our consciousness when we find ourselves in a new place with a new language? This film offers a vision of a fragmented consciousness looking through various kinds of frames and filters. These are beautiful, aesthetically-complex images that highlight the contrast between foreground and background, abstract vision and concrete objects, hovering between semantic labelling and the textures and sensations of things. The film’s consciousness takes great care to observe its surroundings in fine detail.
Acoustically, as an English native speaker, I can, for instance, only readily identify the words spoken in my mother tongue in the film. But the voiceovers in the film are largely in another language: Croation? Hrvatski? I don’t know. As a viewer who speaks neither of these languages, I also cannot say if the subtitles, handwritten and placed in various places all over the screen at various times, offer additional, perhaps conflicting or contrasting information or translate what is being said in the voiceover. The subtitles themselves offer a further challenge to the viewer who must decide whether she focuses her attention on the complex images or the reading of the subtitle: it is not possible for the viewer’s attention to attend to both simultaneously.
We as viewers are thus introduced acoustically, visually and aesthetically to the cognitively-complex situation familiar to anyone who has been uprooted from their home: we are given the opportunity to observe details of things we might otherwise overlook even as we miss the content of what is being said. Let the Sunshine In captures the beauty and isolation of life as a stranger, an extremely challenging yet very common situation in Europe today with refugees and immigrants who begin their lives anew for a huge variety of reasons.
THE STRAY CATS OF THE DEAD ZONE (12:55)
Nicolas Karatzas (26 • Cyprus)
Text Jury Member: Milena Piccioni + Madeleina Kay
“The stray cats of the dead zone” is an insightful and professionally made documentary that perfectly aligns with the theme of the Upfront! Young European Video Award’s second edition.
It is a film where video footage, alternated with still images (in monochrome and technicolour), are expertly balanced with commentary, music, audio and high-quality subtitles. The film highlights an overlooked European history – the divided city of Nicosia – where the local context explores the broader European issues of borders, identity and conflict.
The images are striking and carefully composed, the photographs of stray cats, serenely posed among symbols of war, impassive and oblivious to the conflict they witness, are an apt metaphor for ‘Peace of Mind’. The photographer uses these cats as a vehicle to tell his melancholic and powerful story. The fleeting encounter with the military, obstructing the photographer, inspires empathy for the protagonist and presents a compelling insight into the role of the artist in society. His reflective interview provides a profound insight which explores the themes of this film in great depth.
We decided to award this video, because of its masterful storytelling and the unexpected and overlooked subject matter, which we believe deserves highlighting. Peace of mind, in this video, is represented as a peace that humans deny to themselves, but that is so easy for the Stray Cats of the Dead Zone to achieve. It is beautiful because it expresses a melancholic sentiment; when mankind chooses borders and conflict, ‘Peace of Mind’, could, but does not, exist.
Second (Third) Prize
RESIDUO DEL DESERTO (DESERT RESIDUE) (07:43)
Francesca Fabrizi (24 • Italy)
Text Jury Member: Maximilian Klemens Sänger
The film Residuo del deserto convinced the jury because it tells a lot with seemingly few means. A special feature that distinguishes it from the many other very good film submissions is the aesthetic experience it provides. It does not work through a concrete story, but rather like a distant memory. This allows the film to be read individually by each person. One way of reading it, especially in combination with the thematic brief “Peace of mind”, is seeing one of the many stories of refugee experience that have been taking place on, or more precisely off, the European continent since 2015 and up until today. You seem to see the memory of a distant land, figures in the sunrise of the desert, the “peace of mind” when you think of your home in a foreign country. More and more, however, the orange-red abstraction is broken with greenish blues and something that seems to form the ocean. The traumatic experience of flight breaks through again and again and does not cease to disturb the resting place of peaceful memory. Even if the artist certainly did not intend this train of thought, for the jury, the power of the work lies in precisely this associative freedom. The possibility of finding the concrete in the abstract, the individual in the diverse. A profoundly European thought. That is why we want to award Residuo del deserto by Francesca Fabrizi with the second prize of the upfront! Award.
STOP WAR (08:54)
Raul Rosca & DWBH (22 • Romania)
The following videos were shown in the show selection on 07.05.2022: