Main prize and special mention
The film for the best feature film was awarded to the drama Sworn Virgin (Vergine giurata). The film debut by Italian Laura Bispuri about an Albanian woman who becomes a man according to local customs and gives up physical intrigued the jury, because “it offers an unusual, yet complex view on transgender experience and sexuality, on realization of one's personality, on the necessary escape from the social pressure of a strongly patriarchal community, on the courage to live one's own life.”
“The film's expressivity is emphasised by the performance of the leading actress, Alba Rohrwacher, whose character remains vulnerable, but still strong and believable – it is refreshing to encounter a protagonist who does not push explanations of her feelings and experiences on the viewer. It is also necessary to appreciate the camera and the atmosphere of the whole film, which perfectly fit the quiet, subtle story,” agreed the international jury, which consisted of the German queer researcher and lecturer Skaldi Loist, Czech writer and scriptwriter Petra Soukupova, and film publicist and Radio 1 presenter, Sasa Michailidis.
The special mention of the jury was presented to Nathan Nicholovitch's Where There Is Shade (De l'ombre il y a). The uncompromising drama about a French trans* prostitute, Mirinda, who struggles in the desolate environment of the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, was described by the jury as “an intense, deep and long-lasting experience. In this film, the main protagonist, who undergoes major inner development, and the unique actor, David D'Ingéo, also deserve great attention and appreciation.” The actor is also one of the guests of this year's Mezipatra.
Short film winners
The Prague part of the festival, which introduced 66 films, was visited by almost 6.000 viewers. Apart from the feature film competition, six documentaries, and the special screening of 54: The Director's Cut, they could also visit seven programmes of short films. The best ones were selected by a student jury, consisting of the Iranian theatre director and actress Azadeh Mohammadi, and FAMU students Lucie Palkoskova and Simon Holy.
The prize for the best short film was awarded to Swedish 9:55-11:00, Ingrid Ekman, Bergsgatan 4B. “It is a true piece of art that touches upon various topics: sexuality in older age, loneliness, the struggle for love and young people’s disillusionment,” says the jury. “Cristine Berglund and Sophie Vukovic's script does not necessarily push the audience to feel overtly exaggerated emotions. It carries dramatic tension throughout the narrative... The jury felt this movie sends an important message: the right to love someone is undeniable at any age.”
The student jury's special mention was awarded to Peacock (Furiant) by the Czech director Ondrej Hudecek. “A comedy in three acts,” set in the youth of playwright Ladislav Stroupeznicky, was appreciated by the jury for its precision and original approach. “The age of exploration of who you are in the world is presented in an original narrative form that is supported by an almost extravagant yet fluid editing style... We also liked that whilst the movie takes place in the 19th century, it has a modern perspective on sexuality and does not exploit this particular component of Ladislav Stroupežnický's life.”
Both winning films will be screened again on Thursday, 12th November, at 20:30 in the big screening hall of Svetozor cinema.
Guests from abroad
This year's Prague part of Mezipatra welcomed guests from eight countries around the world. Apart from the aforementioned David D'Ingéo and the director of 54: The Director's Cut, Mark Christopher, the list included for example the Indian documentarian Parvez Sharma, who introduced A Sinner in Mecca, the British trans* activist and youtuber Fox Fisher, and the Burmese activist Aung Myo Min. Planningtorock, an electropop musician, introduced her DJ set at the Saturday party in NEONE club.
The festival in Brno and in regions
Starting tomorrow, the festival continues in Brno until 18th November; the opening ceremony with the screening of 54: The Director's Cut begins at 20:00 in Scala cinema. Apart from films, the audiences can look forward to three parties, the accompanying program which includes speed dating, a theatre performance, and an unusual tour of the city. The winner of the audience award will be announced at the closing ceremony.
Regional festival echoes will follow the end of Mezipatra. They will take place for the ninth time in Olomouc, from 18th to 22nd November, and for the very first time also in Liberec between 27th and 29th November.
The complete program is available at www.mezipatra.cz.
This year's visual identity and photos available at https://mezimedia.capsa.cz
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