Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes

27th Tromsø International Film Festival, A FICC Jury Member’s Report

tromso-2017-the-winner27th Tromsø International Film Festival

January 16-22, 2017


Far above the Arctic Circle, by the end of the polar night, takes place the world’s „northernmost” festival and at the same time the most important international film event in Norway and one of the most important in the Nordic countries. It is Tromsø Internasjonale Filmfestival organized since 1991. The city has about seventy thousand inhabitants and the festival notes similar size attendance at the screenings. The films are shown in more than a hundred years old Verdensteatret Cinema, five halls of Fokus multiplex, the auditorium of the cultural center, one of the halls of the local theater and outdoor (yes, screenings in snow at a temperature of about 0 Celsius degrees are possible and gather really large audiences, children too). The screenings are accompanied, of course, by numerous discussions, meetings with authors, industry presentations and concerts.

The most important part of the festival’s program is the main competition but there were many more interesting parts, eg. Films from the North competition, the latest Norwegian productions, panorama of world cinema, the latest Turkish films, Cristian Mungiu’s retrospective or a special screening of Nils Gaup’s Pathfinder with live music to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its premiere. For details please visit

Last year’s productions, which have not been shown in the Nordic region before, are selected to the main competition. This year twelve films competed: The Age of Shadows (dir. Kim Jee-Woon), Christine (dir. Antonio Campos), The Fits (dir. Anne Rose Holmer), Graduation (dir. Cristian Mungiu), Heartstone (dir. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundson), House without Roof (dir. Soleen Yusef), The Last Family (dir. John P. Matuszyński), Li Wen at East Lake (dir. Li Luo), Louise in Winter (dir. Jean-François Laguionie), My Father’s Wings (dir. Kıvanç Sezer), Neruda (dir. Pablo Larraín) and News from Planet Mars (dir. Dominik Moll).

tromso-2017-the-juryThe jury of the International Federation of Film Societies (IFFS/FICC) consisted of: Maria Amalie Rikardsen (Norway), Günther Kinstler (Germany) and Maciej Gil (Poland). The FICC Don Quixote Prize went to Icelandic director Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundson for his debut film Heartstone (Hjartasteinn, Iceland/Denmark 2016, 129 min.). Here is a description of the movie from festival catalogue: Þor and Kristján experience a dramatic summer in their remote fishing village in Iceland. At home Þor and his mother are mocked by his two sisters, while Kristján’s home is on the verge of falling apart because of his violent father. Fortunately they have each other. At the playground and the local kiosk they engage in both fights and flirtatious games with the other kids in the village. Two girls, Beta and Hanna, try to get their attention, but Þor og Kristján are struggling to figure out their feelings for each other, knowing that adult life awaits after the summer. And here is the official jury’s statement: This year’s winning film tells the universal coming-of-age story in a way that touched our hearts. The high quality of performances, particularly by non-professional, young actors, truly impressed us. The experience of being an outsider is sad, however the movie leaves the audience hope for the future. The jury firmly believes that the art of cinema is the art of emotion, and we are proud to announce that this year’s International Federation of Film Societies’ Don Quixote prize goes to Heartstone by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundson. The winner accepted the award personally at the closing ceremony of the festival.

Let me note some of the other winners of the festival: Aurora, the main prize in the main competition, went to The Fits (dir. Anne Rose Holmer), the FIPRESCI Prize to Graduation (dir. Cristian Mungiu), the Norwegian Peace Prize to Hunting Flies (dir. Izer Aliu) and the Audience Award to Sealers. One Last Hunt (dir. Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen).

I would like to stress the perfect organisation of the festival. Martha Otte, Sarah Caufield, Åsne Storli, the whole team and all the volunteers – many thanks for the great event and your kindest hospitality!

A week long stay in Tromsø gives not only an opportunity to watch great movies, but also to taste some of the northern delicacies, to breathe fresh air and, when the weather is conducive to what I was not given, to experience some of the extraordinary natural attractions of the region. Well, I will have to go back there to see the northern lights and try a dog or reindeer sledding. I can not wait!

Maciej Gil

February 3, 2017

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