The International Women's Film Festival concluded last evening in Dortmund, Germany. Over 8,000 people saw movies, went to concerts, and went to workshops over the last five days. Pretty impressive number. I had the honor of being on the jury for the international feature competition which awarded a 25,000 euro prize to Attenberg written and directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari. (I got a short interview with Tsangari at the ceremony. I will post it later this week when I am back and have access to unlimited data uploads.)
The jury which was made up of actress and activist Maren Kroymann, Claudia Landsberger, head of the Netherland film institute EYE film, and me. As a jury member we saw eight films and awarded two prizes.
Here are the films that were in competition:
También la lluvia (Even The Rain) - Icíar Bollaín
Attenberg - Athina Rachel Tsangari
Brownian Movement - Nanouk Leopold
Dom - Zuzana Liová
La mosca en la ceniza (The Fly in the Ashes) - Gabriela David
Lo spazio bianco (The White Space) - Francesca Comencini
Noir Océan (Black Ocean) - Marion Hansel
Rich Ting West (Heading West) - Nicole van Kilsdonk
Here is the statement we wrote about that film:
The jury of the International Women’s Film Festival awards the jury prize to Athina Rachel Tsangari for her audacious film Attenberg. In this fresh and innovative film Tsangari gives birth to an original female character, Marina --wonderfully performed by Ariana Lebed -- a 23-year-old young woman who must always tell the truth even to her detriment. She is an outsider, a keen observer of humanity and best sees the world through the animal documentaries of Sir David Attenborough. Marina comes to life sexually and in the world as her beloved father prepares to depart from life. In an homage to her Greek heritage -- with a modern twist -- Tsangari weaves musical and dance interludes throughout the film that both interrupt and propel the action foward.
The jury applauds Ms. Tsangari’s bold vision of a new type of young woman, one who questions and challenges and one we would like to see more of in the future.
We also gave the film La mosca en la ceniza (The Fly in the Ashes) by Gabriela David (who sadly recently passed away) as special mention.
Here's what we said about that film:
The jury awards a special mention to La Mosca en la Ceniza (The Fly in the Ashes) for highlighting sex trafficking especially of young women, an uncomfortable topic seen in many documentaries but not in features. Director Gabriela David shows how trafficking is happening all around us in every country in all types of neighborhoods and that this gross violation of human rights must be addressed seriously at the highest levels of government.
Since Ms. David recently passed away her husband and editor Enrique Angeleri and their daughter Mariel Angeleri were on hand to accept the award.
The experience of being on the jury here in Dortmund has been one of the high points in my professional work. The festival is incredibly well run, the movies were great, and the atmosphere was very empowering. I've made some great new friends that I will always keep in touch with and it's been a terrific experience that I will treasure always.
Trailer for Attenberg: