The 35th edition of the Trieste Film Festival has come to an end. The first and main Italian event dedicated to Central and Eastern European cinema, born on the eve of the fall of the Berlin Wall, continues to be a privileged observatory on films and authors that are often little known – or even unknown – to the Italian public, and more generally to Western audiences.
In 2024, the Trieste Film Festival presented nine days of screenings, including special sections and competitions, enriching the program with numerous sidebar events, such as panels, book presentations, workshops, concerts, guided tours and a selection of films and initiatives entirely dedicated to children.
“The entire festival staff are very happy and proud of this astonishing edition,” says Monica Goti, president of the organizing association Alpe Adria Cinema, “for the high number of guests who supported the films and for all those who purchased an accreditation and attended the nine-day film programme this year. More and more young people are following the festival, both among the local audience and the students of the academies that the festival hosts. We are delighted by the great participation in a programme put together with much work and passion and for the positive feedback it has received. All the hard work of a long year pays off seeing the theatres packed with film enthusiasts. In 2024 we will, once again, engage in collaborations with some regional organizations on projects related to the ever-closer GO! 2025, and we will hold activities designed for children and schools. And then, of course, from February, we will start preparations for the 36th edition of the Trieste Film Festival. We hope to confirm many more/once again the many fruitful collaborations that make the Trieste Film Festival an event for everyone!”.
The Festival would also like to thank all the venues that have hosted and collaborated with the festival for many years, such as the Teatro Miela, the Teatro Politeama Rossetti, and the Cinema Ambasciatori, and all the partners and sponsors that have supported this 35th edition in various ways.
And although the Festival in Trieste ends, its journey continues. The first titles that will make up the showcase of the “Trieste Film Festival in Tour 2024” have already been revealed. This initiative, conceived by the Trieste Film Festival in collaboration with Lo Scrittoio, will once again bring a selection of films presented in Trieste to Italian cinemas. The films on tour will be Hotel Pula by Andrej Korovljev, Cherry Juice by Mersiha Husagić, and Arthur & Diana by Sara Summa.
The Trieste Award (€5,000), awarded by a jury composed of Anca Puiu, Ivan Salatić, and Lenka Tyrpáková, goes to Maryna Vroda’s feature film STEPNE for the following reason:
The Trieste Award goes to a film by a debut director who has particularly impressed us with her melancholic portrayal of the life of a disappearing country, of pain and vanished hopes, rendered at the same time with sweetness and authenticity – Stepne by Maryna Vroda.
Special mention to the actor Jovan Ginić (Lost Country):
We would like to give a special mention to Jovan Ginić for his remarkably consistent and convincing performance in his debut film, Lost Country, and for managing to render the complex personality of a child torn apart by political turmoil in 1990s Yugoslavia.
Special mention to the actress Ágnes Krasznahorkai (Without Air):
We would like to give a special mention to Ágnes Krasznahorkai (the lead actress in Without Air) for the intelligence with which she uses her talent and the sensitivity with which she conveys the drama of a woman caught in the meshes of bureaucracy and the preconceptions of those who embody the system.
The Alpe Adria Cinema Award, offered by Opificio Neirami (€2,500), awarded by a jury composed of Graziella Bildesheim, Dmitrij Gluščevskij, and Vladan Petković, goes to the documentary 1489 by Shoghakat Vardanyan for the following reason:
Created by an artist who had no film training but shows undeniable raw talent and impeccable instinct, this film is a punch in the gut, raw and no-frills. An incredibly brave and intimate account of one of the most difficult situations a family can find itself in, the film casts its gaze on the open wounds of the director and her parents. Their wounds will never fully heal, but their portrayal succeeds in offering hope and catharsis to the thousands of people around the world who suffer similar tragedies. The best documentary film of the Trieste Film Festival is 1489 by Shoghakat Vardanyan (Armenia).
SPECIAL MENTION for MOTHERLAND by Alexander Mihalkovich, and Hanna Badziaka
A special mention goes to a film that is dark and intense, but at the same time insightful and moving. Initially very circumscribed in history and setting, the film is able to reveal certain aspects of society that play a significant role in the current geopolitical situation. Thanks to meticulous research, precise camera work and rich sound design, it leaves the public astonished, perhaps even shocked, but certainly more aware. The film is “MOTHERLAND” by Alexander Mihalkovich and Hanna Badziaka (Sweden/Norway/Ukraine).
TSFF Shorts Award offered by the Fondazione Osiride Brovedani (€2,000), awarded by a jury composed of Sarah Pennacchi, Ilija Tatić, Anne-Sophie Vanhollebeke, goes to LAND OF MOUNTAINS by Olga Kosanović for the following reason:
Beautifully shot and wonderfully interpreted, the jury is unanimously pleased to award this short film, which touched us deeply through its incisiveness and delicacy: a story that takes us through a few days in the life of a Serbian immigrant father in Austria and his little daughter. We witness the difficulties and events of everyday life lived in a delicate and dignified way. These situations are something we perhaps too often fail to realize when observing other families; we even risk judging them without understanding the difficulties, deep insecurities and loneliness they are experiencing. Desperately trying to hold on to their identity, these families simultaneously strive to provide a healthy and exemplary upbringing for their children.
SPECIAL MENTION for LOVE SERVANT by Emanuela Muzzupappa
The jury is unanimously delighted to give a special mention to Emanuela Muzzupappa, director of the short film Ancella D’amore / Love’s servant, for having succeeded in treating with sensitivity the religious theme of holiness in a humorous way, for having portrayed characters that are peculiar but at the same time credible, and, finally, for having offered the public the opportunity to experience moments of intense authenticity in the families of Southern Italy.
The films from the three competitions were also “judged” by the public which, with its vote, has proclaimed the winners of the Audience Awards:
Best Feature Film: WITHOUT AIR by Katalin Moldovai
Best Documentary: CENT’ANNI by Maja Doroteja Prelog
Best Short Film: A PIECE OF LIBERTY by Antigoni Kapaka
The 2024 Corso Salani Award (€2,000), awarded by the jury (Elisa Grando, Andrea Inzerillo, and Boris Sollazzo) to the section’s best film, goes to LALA by Ludovica Fales for the following reason:
“Lala” unashamedly mirrors the codes of fiction and those of the documentary in an original exercise of proximity to life that is at times twisted and irregular. It is precisely this non-conformity that makes Ludovica Fales’ film valuable and allows it to activate our gaze as spectators in an unexpected way.
The Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa Award for the best documentary in competition goes to BETWEEN REVOLUTIONS by Vlad Petri
An intimate and political documentary that weaves together the great history of two countries rarely united, and the lives of two women resisting oppressive regimes and challenging patriarchal societies through the power of their desire. By juxtaposing unusual archive images from two distant political and cultural contexts, the film brings us closer to exciting moments of courage and fear, hope and disappointment that accompany revolutions, and places Eastern Europe and the Middle East at the center of the great events that marked the 20th century.
The Cineuropa Award for the best feature film in competition goes to WITHOUT AIR by Katalin Moldovai for the following reasons:
The Cineuropa Award at the Trieste Film Festival this year rewards the debut work of a director whose film has explored the fundamental issue of freedom of expression and thought, and the mechanisms of censorship, in a non-trivial manner.
Without Air gradually takes one’s breath away. The crescendo of the plot that sees the protagonist marginalized, discredited, isolated by her colleagues, and abandoned – despite themselves – by her students, is paradigmatic of the progressive decline of freedom of speech in many of our countries, of the fragility of our democracies, and increasingly widespread censorship.
The unnatural heat that accompanies the film is not only a warning of the environmental emergency, but also the representation of an oppressive overall political climate that tends to suffocate those who do not conform to the rules of power, even the most absurd ones. The Cineuropa Prize is therefore not only intended to reward a masterfully crafted, and performed, film debut, but it also rewards Katalin Moldovai’s narrative courage in warning us against widespread fascism, from the schools to the streets, from parliaments to our homes
The PAG Jury Award – Progetto Area Giovani of the Municipality of Trieste, awarded by a jury of young people aged 18 to 35, representatives of youth organizations, for the best short film in competition, goes to THE SEA IN BETWEEN by Lun Sevnik for the following reason:
A short but intense sequence that captures the viewer’s soul through profound glances and paints a conflicting paternal relationship in a gripping climax, in the silence of the abuse that too often drowns in the sea.
SPECIAL MENTION for THE BIRTHDAY PARTY by Francesco Sossai for the following reason:
A film that explores diverse but universally recognizable themes among adults and children. These include the value we give to our family relationships in comparison with those of others, and the search for a sense of inclusion in social contexts.
The 2024 Eastern Star Award, which rewards a personality from the world of cinema whose work has contributed, just like the Trieste Film Festival, to building a bridge between Eastern and Western Europe, goes to the Polish producer of The Zone of Interest, Ewa Puszczyńska.
Below is the list of prizes already awarded.
The SNCCI Award for the 2023 Best Film of the Critics goes to PACIFICTION by Albert Serra, while the 2023 Best Italian Film of the Critics goes to RAPITO by Marco Bellocchio.
The CEI Award (Central European Initiative) for the film that best interprets contemporary reality and dialogue between cultures (€3,000) goes to WITHOUT AIR by Katalin Moldovai for the following reason:
Without Air shows that no social environment is immune to hatred and obscurantism, not even a modern Hungarian high school. The 2024 CEI Award goes to Katalin Moldovai for her brave and thoughtful film and for her portrait of a courageous teacher who captures the political and social climate of her country.
Last Stop Trieste Awards
The HBO MAX Award The HBO Max Award goes to a project that tackles an immensely important, yet paradoxically neglected subject. It is a film that stands out for its intimate approach to a loving family, showing its strength in the face of difficult circumstances. The award goes to DAD’S LULLABY by LESIA DIAK.
The FILM CENTER MONTENEGRO Award goes to a project that portrays an Eastern European family full of intimacy, respect, and strong and affectionate relationships, which are rarely seen in documentary films. Hoping that the team can use the award to perfect the film’s final editing, the award goes to BLUEBERRY DREAMS by ELENE MIKABERIDZE.
This Is It Award
The 5,000 euros ARTEVIDEO award goes to a project that combines a non-linear narrative with striking images to explore urban development, migration and gentrification. Innovative storytelling and observation offer a new perspective on these vital issues. The project stands out for its artistic courage and its ability to tackle complex social issues in a visually compelling way. The award goes to STILL HERE by SURANGA KATUGAMPALA.