“A Tunnel” by the Georgian filmmakers Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili wins the Golden Gentian for Best Film at the 68th Trento Film Festival

Published 04/09/2020

For the first time, a film representing the guest country wins the “City of Trento” Gran Prix

The CAI Prize, Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain people and life in the mountains and populations, goes to the Polish film The Wind. A Documentary Thriller; the “City of Bolzano” Prize, Golden Gentian for the best film on exploration or adventure, goes to Sidik and the Panther; Silver Gentians go to Sicherheit 123 for the best technical-artistic contribution, and Then Comes The Evening as best short film.

The Jury Prize goes to the documentary Alpinist – Confession of a Cameraman, with special mention for Polyfonatura.

Georgia – the guest country at this edition – has won the 68th Trento Film Festival with the documentary A Tunnel by Nino Orjonikidze and Vano Arsenishvili (Georgia/Germany, 2019, 90’).

The international jury – made up of Carlos Casas (Spain), Salomé Jashi (Georgia), Gustav Hofer (Italy), Carmen Gray (New Zealand) and Matteo Della Bordella (Italy) – has awarded the film the prestigious Golden Gentian for Best Film – “City of Trento” Grand Prix – for the following reasons: «excellent access, a sense for visual atmosphere and fine attunement to structural power imbalances underpin a film that says much about our current moment of geo-political tensions, contested identities, and a globalised world of work and capital. Dramatic but never overstated, it pinpoints events in a small village as a clash between past and future, haves and have-nots, in which we all have a stake».

«Once again this year» underlined the President of Trento Film Festival, Mauro Leveghi «the winning films at Trento Film Festival draw the attention of the wider public to key issues in our lives, including the question of limits, understood as the need to reawaken in us all an awareness of the delicate balance between man and nature. Nature – as recalled in the film Sidik and the Panther – represents our “home” and our “country”. With stories that are intense and sometimes dramatic, but avoiding unnecessary exaggeration, A Tunnel and The Wind. A Documentary Thriller remind us of the human and social tensions arising when the points of reference represented by the natural environments where one was born and lived are lost, as takes place for the inhabitants of a village in the Georgian mountains, where a railway is to be built. Or they show us how our lives can be suspended in the face of the devastating force of bad weather, as happens for the inhabitants of the Zakopane region in Poland, where the halny, a powerful wind, regularly puts their lives at risk. This calls to mind the wounds left by the Vaia storm at the end of 2018, evoked by the artist Albino Rossi in his poster for this 68th edition of the festival. Once again, the films at Trento Film Festival thus reflect a society called on to make important decisions about its future, making it necessary to ask ourselves, urgently and without hypocrisy, to what extent we are prepared to live in a present day that prevents us from looking towards new horizons. In this context, the mountains and mountain cultures narrated at the festival continue to offer an opportunity to reflect, rediscovering the sense of limits and the equilibrium with nature, an awareness that is absolutely essential for mankind».

The Club Alpino Italiano Prize, Golden Gentian for the best film on mountaineering, mountain life and populations, has been awarded to The Wind. A Documentary Thriller by Michal Bielawski (Poland, 2019, 75’). «People living in the mountains», the jury reason states «can be exposed to extreme weather conditions and these can have effects on body and mind. With an intriguing and inventive approach, the filmmaker brings the audience into the life of the inhabitants of Zakopane and its area in Poland where a halny wind puts their life and mental wellbeing regularly at risk. Creating an atmosphere of eternal suspension and following the film’s protagonists in an intimate way, this documentary reminds us of the delicate balance between nature and human mankind, through the clear cinematographic lens of the director ».

«The Wind represents a confirmation on film of the analysis of the characteristics and concept of the mountains, the subject of the opening evening for this 68th Trento Film Festival, also central to the ideas and screenings underway at the Club Alpino Italiano», stated the General President of CAI, Vincenzo Torti. «The wind affecting Zakopane indeed represents a recurring situation for many mountain peoples, who in addition to objective difficulties linked to distance and altitude, often find themselves forced to confront natural elements it is known will arrive, but not to predict their intensity, at times totally overwhelming. However, despite the strength of the wind, the key players are always the same: people capable of remaining intimately linked to their mountains, whatever happens».

The “City of Bolzano” Prize, Golden Gentian for the best film on exploration or adventure, goes to Sidik and the Panther by Reber Dosky (The Netherlands, 2019, 83’) «for its deep sense and commitment to nature and its ecological and political interconnections, as well for the beautiful account of this ultimate exploration, its deep sense of belonging and rootness to traditions and nature as the ultimate homeland of all. This film documents and captures through beautifully crafted images the respect and passion to one own environment and history».

The Silver Gentian for the best technical-artistic contribution has been awarded to Sicherheit 123 by Florian Kofler and Julia Gutweniger (Italy/Austria, 2019, 72’). As stated by the jury, «this film captures anticipation. A cataclysm could happen at any time, not just somewhere, but in the backyards. But for now, it’s just a possibility, a risk. The filmmakers manage to film serenity even in unserene situations. The artistic treatment of the subject shapes the content. The aesthetic approach of the camera and sound adds an emotional undercurrent to the facts. The film becomes a contemplation on the magnitude of nature and the men’s efforts to control its threat».

The Silver Gentian for the best short film goes to Then comes the evening by Maja Novaković (Serbia/Bosnia Herzegovina, 2019, 28’), «For putting a very simple life into a magnificent still life», the jury gives as its reason, «a moving still life, where every drop of light has a meaning and shapes the forms in a way abruptly noticed in childhood, or at a glimpse of revelation. For meticulous work put in by the filmmakers to create a work of art which enhances a film form».

The Jury Prize has been awarded to the documentary Alpinist – Confession of a cameraman by Kim Minchul and Lim Iljin (South Korea, 2019, 90’): «The film offers a totally original, authentic and unconventional point of view about mountaineering. This documentary is a real and true journey across the life of cameraman and alpinist Lim Iljin, with deep insight about alpinism and about the different reasons that drive men towards mountains. It’s a raw, sometimes sorrowful work, result of many years of experience on the toughest mountains of the planet, describing at best some of the most inconvenient sides of mountaineering. This film is a tribute to every passionate alpinist and cameraman».

The jury also gave Special Mention to Polyfonatura by Jon Vatne (Norway, 2019, 20’), dedicated to the naturalist-musical experiment of the eclectic sound artist Eirik Havnes. «To a film that has captivated our curiosity and that beautifully presents a creative process and its interconnections with nature», the jury states as its reason.

«The public has also contributed to the success of this special edition of Trento Film Festival – commented the Festival Director, Luana Bisesti – with better than expected results, especially for streaming of the films offered. Naturally the numbers present at the venues have been affected by the situation linked to Covid-19, but seeing the spectators in front of the big screen, even if distanced from each other, creating a strange chess-board effect, encouraged us, giving us a further stimulus to already imagine a return to normality for the next edition of the festival. Equally satisfying results were also obtained in the areas and valleys of Trentino where the festival was present this year, organising events and screenings in collaboration with other initiatives and institutions. At these venues and at the events taking place in Trento, we were aware of the great affection that people have for the festival and their appreciation of the courage necessary to organise a special edition of the festival, despite the difficult times for everyone. In this context, this year’s edition represents a message of hope for recovery, also suggesting possible routes to be followed for a sustainable future, where everyone can still have a chance to recount their dreams and desires».

«Inevitably, the numbers of spectators cannot be compared with the success of the last few editions: after months away from the movies one could hardly expect people to return to cinemas in a few days, especially at an unusual time of year for the festival», concluded Sergio Fant, coordinator of the film programme. «For this reason, we are particularly grateful to those attending this year, and to the directors wishing to be present, thanking us for giving a sign that the world of film is resisting and taking off again. On the other hand, the success of Trento Film Festival online has shown us the that Festival public has not decreased, with over 3,000 users already registered, viewing of almost 12,000 films via streaming services and the platform still available for a further week (until 9 September). People have simply preferred the domestic environment, or have succumbed to the difficulties of travelling, giving way to understandable concerns. To all these spectators, both at our venues and on the sofa at home, we promise to start working on the next edition soon».