Safe Place wins Kingfisher Award as curtain falls on LIFFe

Ljubljana, 19 November - Safe Place, a psychological drama by Croatian director Juraj Lerotić, has won the Kingfisher Award, the main accolade at the Ljubljana International Film Festival (LIFFe). The jury said it was impressed with the quality of films that made the shortlist.

LIFFe top award, the Kingfisher.
Photo: Daniel Novakovic/STA
File photo

The jury describes Safe Place, Lerotić's first feature film, as a "beautiful, truthful and compassionate film about suicide, a really important theme that should be discussed more".

The jury praised the film for precise directing and extraordinary acting and photography. "A film that will stay in our minds and promises interesting works from the director in the future."

The jury honoured with a special mention Full Time by Eric Gravel. It said the film married a domestic crisis with a thriller format to draw the audience into the main character's everyday struggle to get to and from work.

The films competing for the Kingfisher Award were engaging and audience-friendly, "with amazing performances, strong dialogue, cinematography and directing. These are debut or second films that will find a home beyond the festival circuit," the jury said.

The Best Short Film Award went to Sierra by Sander Joon, described by the jury as a "truly humorous and intelligent, yet very touching movie". It is a multilayered story built with an elaborate craftsmanship on many levels: narrative, aesthetic, emotional and referential.

Heat Wave by Kent Chan received a Special Mention of the short film jury, describing it as a "depiction of the contemporary world: composed from diverse found footage, it exposes the nature of our image-driven reality via a sharp-witted dialogue of two screens; of countless screens."

The FIPRESCI Award, presented by a jury of the International Federation of Film Critics, went to The Braves by Anais Volpe.

The film is a "vivid and impressive portrayal of an exceptional friendship between two young women. Together, they are unstoppable and able to fulfil their wildest dreams.

"Using a tempestuous camera, Volpe refreshes familiar film constructs and shows us the heart of Paris,through the beating hearts of Alma and Margot, performed by two great actresses: Souheila Yacoub and Déborah Lukumuena."

The Dragon Audience Award went to May Labour Day by Pjer Žalica, a film in which a holiday turns into a painful picking of war scabs.

The Slovenian Art Cinema Association Award went to Close by Lukas Dhont. The film also received the Kinotrip Young Jury Award.

"Set in idyllic Belgian countryside, Close is an emotional drama about a tragically interrupted friendship between two teenagers forced to learn some harsh life lessons much too soon," said the Art Cinema jury, also praising it for beautiful photography, subdued pace and great performance by the two young non-professional actors.

© STA, 2022