'Let There Be Light' awarded Batumi Arthouse Film Fest principal prize

A still from director Marko Skop's family drama 'Let There Be Light', which follows a family's reactions to learning harsh truth about their young son. Photo: starmovieslinks.com

Agenda.ge, 24 Sep 2019 - 18:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Slovak-Czech co-production Let There Be Light by filmmaker Marko Skop has been revealed as the winner of the international feature competition of the Batumi Arthouse Film Festival on Georgia's Black Sea coast, with winners also distinguished in documentary, short and other categories.

The festival, providing a focus on auteur and experimental cinema in Georgia, concluded on Sunday after screening select works by directors including Aleksi Salmenperä, Reza Mirkarimi and Mark Jenkin.

But the principal prize of the international jury went to Slovakia's nomination for the next Academy Award, a drama by Skop that centres around a family that learns about involvement in a paramilitary group of one of its young members.

The family's father figure returns to Slovakia from working in Germany to hear about his eldest son's participation in a death of his classmate through the organisation. The development sees the family having to confront harsh reality and truths about Adam, the young perpetrator.

In the same section, award for best director went to Mirkarimi for his Castle of Dreams - which was also distinguished with the Georgian Film Critics Award - with Ece Yuksel (Tale of Three Sisters) honoured as best actress and Kayhan Açikgöz receiving the best actor prize for his part in the same film.

The special prize of the jury - involving director and screenwriter Aleksandr Mindadze, publicist Tatiana Detlofson, journalist Martin Blaney, actor Carmen Grey and filmmaker Rusudan Glurjidze - went to the German-Azerbaijani-Georgian co-production End of Seasons by filmmaker Elmar Imanov.

The principal documentary award was bestowed on Kim Longinotto for Shooting the Mafia, a look at Sicily's notorious Cosa Nostra group of organised crime through the lens of Letizia Battaglia, the first female newspaper photojournalist in Italy.

Helena Trestikova and Jacub Hejna were singled out for the special mention for their Czech-French co-produdction Forman vs Forman, with Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss also selected for her work Lovemobile.

'Castle of Dreams' by Reza Mirkarimi earned the director two prizes at the Batumi festival. Photo: IMDB.

Georgian director Amiran Dolidze was announced winner of the short film competition with his Animal, screened at this year's Locarno Film Festival, while Watermelon Juice by Irene Moray and hope by Aleksandra Markova picked for special mentions in the category.

BIAFF organisers also honoured American director and screenwtier Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull), French actor Denis Lavant (Boy Meets Girl, Beau travail), filmmakers Alexander Mindadze (My Good Hans, Soaring) and Manuchar Shervashidze (Stealing the Moon, Ghosts of the Past) with the Lifetime Achievement Award for their contribution to cinema.

This year's Batumi festival was preceded by Biaffiada, a newly devised programme of acclaimed films and cinema classics screened in the coastline boulevard of the Black Sea city. Over eight days, locals and tourists saw works by Georgian and foreign directors in evening- and nighttime sessions.

Organisers said they would also take screenings to other locations in the seaside Adjara region after the conclusion of the festival. These locations will include spots in Batumi and Kobuleti as well as the more remote locations in Keda, Shuakhevi and Khulo.