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Burger's Ivan main winner at 20th Festival of Slovenian Film

Portorož, 17 September - Ivan by Janez Burger emerged as the main winner of the 20th Festival of Slovenian Film, which concluded with the Vesna awards ceremony on Saturday, winning among others awards for best feature live action film and best screenplay. Other notable winners include Jan Cvitkovič's Družinica (The Basics of Killing) and Rudar (Miner) by Hanna Slak.

Portorož
The opening ceremony of the 20th Festival of Slovenian Film.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Ivan, which also won the Vesna award for make-up and shared two other major awards, is a film about a woman who gives birth to a child conceived with a married businessman involved in dodgy deals.

"With Ivan, Burger created a dizzy dance of images and sounds which grabs the viewer with the very first scene and does not let go until the very end", the award jury said.

"Such a film is a shocking commentary of the state of mind in modern Slovenia and not only that. Its almost hypnotic oscillating between the feelings of yearning and despair is something that all of us recognise in one way or another", it added.

Ivan shared the award for best photography and original music with Družinica (The Basics of Killing), which also won the Vesna awards for best feature film and best sound.

The crisis-related family drama "convincingly shows with its merciless description of life on the social and cultural margin that family problems eventually break on concrete individuals", the jury said.

Hanna Slak meanwhile won the award for best director for her feature film Rudar (Miner), a "heartbreaking story about a miner who fights, as a sort of a new-age Antigone, for decent burial of the victims of post-WWII reprisal killings".

The main protagonist, Croatian actor Leon Lučev, won the award for best male leading role, as he "created an exceptionally convincing character of miner Alija with his multi-layered interpretation".

Maruša Majer won the award for best female leading role for her character in the same film, which also received the award for editing.

The awards for best female and male supporting roles went to Ivanka Mežan and Brane Grubar in Vztrajanje (Perseverance) by Miha Knific, a collage film without dialogue. It also won the award for best experimental work.

Vonj po razkroju (Odor of Decomposition) directed by Anže Testen is the winner in the new category for best film made by a primary or secondary school student.

The award for special achievement went to documentary Vsaka dobra zgodba je ljubezenska zgodba (Every Good Story is a Love Story), by Matjaž Ivanišin and Rajko Grlić, and Buldožer - Pljuni istini u oči, a documentary on the Slovenian progressive rock bad Buldožerk by Varja Močni.

The jury for documentary and student films declared Playing Men by Matjaž Ivanišin the best documentary at the festival, calling it a "humorous documentary which takes us from physical to mental play until play itself disappears and only song remains".

The best short film is Apoptoza (Apoptosis) by Tomaž Gorkič, set in a futuristic city in 2074, while the award for the best Slovenian co-production went to Moški ne jočejo (Men Don't Cry) by Alen Drljević.

Animated film Celica (The Box), directed by Dušan Kastelic, won the festival award for best visual effects, while Anja Ganja by Peter Bizjak was declared the best student film.

The audience choice award went to sport family drama Košarkar naj bo (Let Him Be a Basketball Player) by Boris Petkovič, which also won the Iridium sponsor award.

A total of 52 films were in the running for awards, including 16 feature films, five medium-length films, 21 short films, eight student films and two minority co-productions.

The Vesna is the highest national accolade in the Slovenian film industry, which has been given out annually since 2001.

The Festival of Slovenian Film is a successor of the Week of Domestic Film, which was launched in the city of Celje in the 1970s.

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© STA, 2017