The 20th edition of the St. Petersburg International Film Festival ended with an award ceremony yesterday night in the Dom Kino. There were a large number of prizes to be given, I will limit this posting to include those in the documentary categories.
The prize for the best long documentary (US$ 2000) was given to the director Yossi Aviran from Israel for the multilayered description of the reflections and lives of an Israeli and an Italian man living together for three decades in Paris. The Israeli man doubts whether to go back to Israel for the rest of his life, the Italian, a bit younger, is the constant optimist, and enjoyer of life. A beautiful film about life and death coming nearer, title ”Paris Return”. The short documentary prize (US$ 2000) was given to the Slovak documentary, ”Arsy versy” (photo), by Miro Remo, original and fresh in its approach to the theme of mother and son, the latter being obsessed with bats. It has rythm and passion.
The Grand Prix (US$ 5000), the jury (that I was chairing) had chosen was ”Draft” by Timofey Zhalnin, young Russian director, who had managed to make a light and yet deep film about the drama of a woman who is recording herself on camera in order to compete for a role in a theatre play. She is, however, constantly being disturbed by the ”intrusion” of reality – family, friends in the small appartment. Documentary and fiction.
The national competition for short documentaries decided not to give a first prize for quality reasons, and the critics chose ”David Wants to Fly” by David Sieveking.