Informative plattform of International Federation of Film Societies- Féderation Internationalle des Ciné-clubs- Federación Internacional de Cine Clubes
Tiff is a well established Film Festival, anchored in the cultural life of the likable city of Tromsø in northern Norway during the arctic night (which is not as dark as I had expected, there were several hours of dawn and dusk, but no sun (the sun returns on the 21st January – the last day of the festival), the festival taking over the whole city – there seems to be TIFF everywhere.
It was great to see how many people turned up to see the movies at all hours –from open air screenings in the market square for 500 school children at 9.00 in the morning to screenings late at night. The atmosphere at the screenings was very relaxed and the audience seemed to appreciate the films and introductions. The festival is very well organised and there are a lot of things going on besides the screenings. The extensive programme of the festival is well curated by Martha Otte and her dedicated team, also the documentation and the Festival guide are informative and well produced. The competition programme consisted of 12 films from a wide variety of genres and countries and all films had their distinct merits: http://www.tiff.no/en/program
After seeing all films and thorough deliberation and discussion we decided to give the DON QUIJOTE AWARD to SOLDIERS, STORIES FROM FERENTARI by Ivana Mladenović. The film shows the unlikely story of two people meeting and falling in love despite everything, how to survive life and finding their place and making ends meet. How two persons go ahead with their non traditional relationship in a non-typical film about homosexuality in a poor adverse and struggling society, depicting social pressure against the unfamiliar and foreign in one of the most impoverished neighbourhoods in Bucharest, Romania.
The film carries us through different emotions, its path makes us think and reflect on human condition, about love, hate, opportunities but finally it shows that an equitable and fair society is difficult to achieve.
Also we decided to give a SPECIAL MENTION to SUMMER 1993, by Carla Simon, for a film with great acting, cinematography and strong social background -showing how a family manages the change in the life of an orphaned child with a lot of love.
An important part of the festival is also a selection of short films and several sidebars featuring films from a wide selection– I managed to see also some films featured in the Films from the North section with movies from many Nordic countries around the Barents Sea (Scandinavia, Russia, Canada) – the Tromsø Palmin this programme was given to I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU, CONNY by Amanda Kernell- a very impressive short film about a very young man becoming a father and struggling with this new situation in a small forgotten village in Northern Sweden.
A wonderful experience was the screening of the silent movie TERJE VIGEN (A Man there was) a very early Swedish silent movie from 1917 by Victor Sjöström with live organ music by Ben Model the Ishavskatedralen (which is an interesting building for me it works better from the outside when illuminated than from the inside -but maybe when there is more daylight the structure will be clearer also from the inside). Great acting, great filming and settings although all titles were in Swedish/Norwegian (and the subtitles were too low to read) it was easy to follow the story with the images and the music.
Our jury schedule was quite packed, but I still had the chance to see other great movies outside the competition programme and meet and speak to interesting people from the festival, from other juries, from different film societies and film lovers from all over the world. We also had the opportunity to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights), which was a truly magical experience.
Also memorable were all the events that took place in connection with TIFF like several parties and gatherings great was also the opportunity to meet members of the Norwegian Film Society over dinner and having a discussion about the different and similar problems our film societies face. I am grateful to the International Federation of Film Societies for giving me the opportunity to serve on the jury at the Tromsø International Film Festival, to cinelibre Switzerland for nominating me and to Åsne and Ema for their support and great engagement before and during the festival. I also want to thank my fellow jury members Jennifer Britt Lundberg Hansen, from Tromsø, Norway and Joaquim Roqué Paret, from Ribes de Freser, Catalonia for the good and open discussions about the films and the decision making. I really enjoyed working together on this jury.
So I hope to come back to Tromsø International Film Festival in another year and can recommend the festival to everyone who loves good films from a wide range of topics.
Cineclub St.Gallen, Switzerland