Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes
The International Film Festival de Fribourg (FIFF) took place from March 31st to April 8th 2017 in the Swiss town of Fribourg. As in the past, the IFFS was able to set up one of five juries for the International competition for long feature films. For the first time, I had the privilege of being part of a jury at a film festival, together with Vanessa Elbers from Germany and Joaquim Roque Petret from Spain.
The FIFF is known for having movies from the so-called South and East in their competition. This goes very well to the philosophy of the IFFS. This year, there were 12 films in the competition, 8 of which had their focus on Asia. Furthermore, two came from Latin America, one from Kenya and one from Russia. Two of them were documentaries.
We found a fast consensus on which should be the winning film. It was White Sun (OT: Seto Surya). The title refers to the National flag of its country of origin: Nepal. The film had been staged a few years after the end of the civil war in a remote village. The story wonderfully portrays the changes of the Nepali society by showing this village and the family of the homecomer from the Maoist guerilla troops. More difficult was deciding on the winner for the category Special Mention. We agreed on the poetic thriller Honeygiver Among the Dogs by the director Dechen Roder from Bhutan. This movie also won the prize by the COMUNDO-Youth Jury and the Special Jury Award of the International Jury.
Our Don Quijote-winner film White Sun also won the Audience Award, the Award of the Ecumenical Jury and the Special Mention of the International Jury. The nine awarded prizes (Incl. Special Mentions and Audience Award) all went to only three films. Besides the films I already mentioned, the film Apprentice from Singapore won the Grand Prix of the International Jury and the Critic’s Choice Award of the International Federation of the Cinematographic Press.
From the parallel sections, I want to give two special mentions that I liked very much. As a long-standing ghost-movies’ enthusiast I was delighted to see that in the section Genre cinema, they showed all sorts of Ghost Stories. From some classics to very new films, from countries which are not famous for genre films, from a romance comedy all the way to subtle movies and even to exorcism-shockers, everything found its place. The section New Territory was magnificent. Its focus was on Nepal and they showed 14 films (incl. a short-film program) from this rather unknown movie country. The oldest was from 1977.
At this point, I would like to thank all the people who had been involved in the festival. Their organization, kindness and helpfulness were simply marvellous! Everything worked out very well and we got pampered. I want to especially mention Jeanne and Catalina who were there to care for the jury members. They were always available for any sort of questions we had and kept us up to date about the program. Thierry, Giovanna and Olga were also very nice and helpful. The daily hot meals were very tasty. In the Ancienne Gare restaurant you could not only eat well, but it was also the meeting point and centre of the festival. And on several evenings, parties with DJs took place till late at night.
A highlight outside the cinema halls was the group trip to the medieval village of Gruyères. There we could visit the castle and the museum of the Swiss Artist H.R. Giger (who won the Oscar for his creation of the Alien-monster) – a thing which I had been wanting to do for a long time. Afterwards we visited the cheese factory of the famous Le Gruyère-cheese and then we ate a fondue together. The same evening, there was the closing ceremony with the awards’ presentation at the Equilibre theatre. And after the aperitif and the party, this wonderful week came to a close.