On Saturday, one of the oldest festivals in Slovakia, the 29th International Festival of Local Televisions Golden Beggar 2023 came to an end in Košice with the award ceremony.
The Festival kicked off with a screening of animated films in the community centre at Wuppertalska street. For several years now, the Festival has been popular with children around 10 years old, who, in addition to watching films, have the serious task of voting for the best animated film of the competition.
The film Step by Step by Step by Peter Scheiner was premiered in the beautiful surroundings of the former synagogue on Zvonárska street. The documentary explores the attempt to revive Jewish community in Komárno after 1989. It is a bitter testimony to the attempt of the young Jewish generation to lead an active Jewish life in the post-communist Slovakia.
The Festival continued with special screenings for marginalised groups in the municipality of Kecerovce and for the inmates in the Detention Facility on Florianska street in Košice. Both screenings elicited sincere responses and great interest, which obliges the organisers to continue the screenings in these environments. What’s more, the organizers are even considering expanding these projects further.
The main part of the Festival was a film competition taking place online through the FilmFreeway.com platform.
According to the organizers, in terms of quality of filmmaking, this year’s competition was the best since 2009, when the Festival opened up to all filmmakers, not only the local ones.
77 films from over 50 countries from all over the world entered the competition this year. The largest number of films came from the USA, the UK and France. The categories ranged from feature to animated films.
Thirty films selected by the Festival jury consisting of Slovak filmmakers, presided over by Marcel Mariščák, made it to the finals. The jurors were also in contact with Roger Worrod, the long-standing chairman of the International Jury from Switzerland, and they coordinated the results among them.
The jury awarded the main prize, the Golden Beggar, to the feature film Campsy Fells by UK’s Luca McCormick.
The film tells the story of Dylan and his father Peter, who meet to scatter Dylan’s grandfather’s ashes on the hills of Campsy Fells.
“It’s a disarming journey of reconciliation across three generations. A well-written, immediate dialogue between the father and the son and a corresponding performance by the lead actors. Exceptionally authentic and convincing, thanks to the above mentioned”, the jury describes their choice.
The award for best short film went to the Indian film Identity by Sooraj Gunjal.
It is the story of a single mother, who changes her identity in order to find work as a domestic help.
“A perfect psychological (fine)drawing on a minimal area. The story of a lower caste single mother who finds work as a domestic help, working for a young married couple expecting the birth of their first child. The initial understanding between the two women is shattered by an unfortunate episode… a wonderful, little – big story and amazing actors!”
The Polish film Self won the award for best student film. The film was directed by Konrad Kultys, a graduate of the famous Lodź Film School.
“Teenager Olga leaves the hospital with her newborn baby. Will she manage to return to her old and familiar reality when she has to deal with the unwanted motherhood?”
The author chooses to approach the theme smudging contours and using darker shades… Let’s prepare ourselves for not exactly the most comfortable experience. An extraordinary performance, almost unbelievable in the category of ‘student films’.
The award for the best documentary went to the Belgian film Illusion of Abundance, directed by Erika Gonzalez Ramirez and Matthieu Lietaert.
Illusion of Abundance is not only a film about those who pay a high price for “development”. Above all, it is a film about the globalisation of their environmental resistance and their intention to go after multinational corporations wherever they hide.
In the special Life with War category, the main prize was awarded to the German documentary The Propaganda War for Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine is all about military power and the power of media. Thanks to the people-oriented strategy and President Zelensky’s well-thought-out addresses – which, inevitably, include e.g. his olive-green coloured outfits – this country continues, successfully, to fight back the monstrous Russian propaganda machine. At the same time, Russia’s war on Ukraine is also the first war ever to be fought simultaneously on social media. Those ‘front-line ‘warriors’’, influencers, troll farms, attempts to downplay and subsequently justify the aggression…
Other films were awarded in the following categories: Best Animation, Best TV Report, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Script and Best Cinematography.
Prize of the Audience went to the film called Ice Cream by Steve Spremo.
A bitter-funny portrait of an Eastern European immigrant in the United States. A quirky character, authentic setting and superb acting – all this equals great (if not right down hilarious) fun!
Yet the Festival is not only about films. Regularly organised panel discussions and workshops deliberate on current topics and introduce interesting panellists. The latest discussion on the importance of democracy protection featured Grigorij Mesežnikov, Sonia Szomolányi and, for the first time, also Michal Frank. People in the audience asked many questions and as the panel was streamed online, it could also be watched by viewers elsewhere.
The Festival operated on a minimal budget, which has been a problem for several years now and which started during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Many of the festival events were held in Kulturpark, which was also a co-organiser of the event. This year the Festival was financially supported by the City of Košice and the Creative Industry Košice. The local TV station TelKE was the media partner and covered all the festival events. RTVS also reported on the Festival in their broadcast.
The organizers are already working hard to prepare the jubilee 30th edition of IFoLT.
Eva Dekanovská 0905 966 649
www. Festival. sk