Closing ceremony 

    22. 11. 2019

    The closing ceremony of this year’s jubilee Ljubljana International Film Festival was held on Saturday, 24 November 2019, in Cankarjev dom’s Linhart Hall. By way of introduction, the auditorium, which was bursting at the seams, was filled with the sounds of a subdued jazzy cover of Toxic performed by the Denis Beganovič Trio. The Kinotrip young jury, consisting of Uma Hajsinger, Iva Katušin, Nika Oblak, Eva Palčič and Nina Škerlep, presented their award to Ken Loach’s moving social drama Sorry We Missed You. The jury stated that the film “agitated us with its social sensitivity and intense social criticism and touched us with its humaneness. It examines the problems that numerous families are confronting today and that we, the young people, will tomorrow encounter on the labour market if exploitation is not struggled against.” By way of thanks, the film’s producer Rebecca O'Brien sent a video explaining that all the actors were busy working around the world and the director was campaigning for the forthcoming elections. On behalf of the crew, the award was accepted by Dragan Barbutovski, Country Director Slovenia for the British Council.

    The Art Cinema Network Slovenia Award was presented for the first time at Liffe. The jury, consisting of Anja Bajda, Tim Božič and Staš Stermecki, presented the award to Ema by Pablo Larrain, a film that “bears a distinctive signature of its maker, an aesthetically sophisticated and unique, visually and sensually dynamic creation that is often daring in developing its themes and aesthetic, theatrical and, as a whole, utterly convincing”. On behalf of the filmmaker the award was accepted by a representative of the Demiurg film distribution company. 

    The International Federation of Film Critics, represented by an international jury consisting of Bernard Besserglik (France), Dina Pokrajac (Croatia) and Sanja Struna (Slovenia), presented the FIPRESCI Prize to Monos by Alejandro Landes for its “portrayal of a descent into madness, a nightmarish vision of the blights of war combined with an outstanding ensemble performance and dizzying, sometimes surreal, cinematography. Unclassifiable, unpredictable, exuberant, utterly original and slightly crazy”. On behalf of the filmmaker, the award was accepted by Festival Director Simon Popek.

    The Best Short Film Award was presented by an international jury consisting of Ivan Bakrač, Marina Kožul and Andraž Jerič. The Special Mention went to The Christmas Gift by Bogdan Muresanu, and the main prize to Taiwanese director Pang-Chuan Huang’s Last Year When the Train Passed By. “This poetic documentary exploration emerging from traveling curiosity is a nostalgic contribution to a freezing of time made possible by the film camera,” read the statement of the jury represented on stage by Andraž Jerič. The film’s sound designer accepted the award on behalf of the entire crew.

    The Dragon Audience Award went to a Japanese film, Every Day a Good Day by Tatsushi Ohmori. The One Millionth Visitor Prize went to Žiga Roš, who bought his ticket on Monday, 18 November, and received an annual subscription to Neo from Liffe’s main sponsor Telekom Slovenije, and a Liffe after Liffe subscription for two persons from Cankarjev dom.

    The evening reached its culmination with the bestowal of the Kingfisher Award; the international jury, consisting of Alexander Horwath, Labina Mitevska and Sonja Prosenc, awarded the prize to the best film of the Perspectives section. Two Special Mentions were presented: to Lara by Jana-Ole Gerster and Angelo by Markus Schleinzer. 30th Liffe’s main prize went to Beanpole by Russian director Kantemir Balagov, a film that convinced the jury with its “ability to immerse us in a historical period, the Leningrad winter of 1945/46, while having complete control of contemporary film language. The film's theme, its characters, its subtle psychology as well as its narrative and visual strategies all speak to the audiences of today.” On behalf of the filmmaker, the award was accepted by Marina Guskova, Deputy Director of the Russian Scientific and Cultural Centre Ljubljana. A screening of Babyteeth by Australian director Shannon Murphy followed the awards ceremony.


    30th Liffe’s final social event was held at the CD Club on Saturday, 23 November, after the screening of Babyteeth by Australian director Shannon Murphy. The partygoers chatted about this year’s cinematic achievements, their favourite creations and the award-winners, nibbling scrumptious refreshments and swaying to the rhythmic beats played by DJ Borka and rock-infused guitar music performed by the Jameson Band. Famous guests included singer Vlado Kreslin, actor Brane Završan, actress Lučka Počkaj, General Director of RTV Slovenia, Igor Kadunc, radio presenter Jure Longyka, writer and editor Jani Virk, editor of the Mladina weekly Grega Repovž, journalists Izak Košir, Marko Crnkovič and Ženja Leiler, critic Dražen Štader, writer Andrej Predin, musician Katarina Rešek aka Kukla Kesherović, President of the Pan Slovenian Shareholders' Association, Kristjan Verbič and Chairman of the Board of Mercator, Tomislav Čizmić. The party reached its climax with a surprise cake in celebration of the Festival’s 30th anniversary.

    Written by Andraž Jež

    Photo iztok Dimc