The Jury’s Special Prize for groundbreaking cultural change goes to the director of Lada Kamenski, Sara Hribar for smashing the chauvinistic cultural hegemony in Balkan films. In this festival of films from Balkan countries most of the films, include women solely as sex objects or aunty-granny types, and they are always secondary characters.
Lada Kamenski is refreshingly breaking away from the reigning man’s world,and stereotypical views of women. One looks forward to seeing the future steps, from this debuting filmmaker.
“The Frog” is a master piece of filming and acting. Every frame is meaningful, and every word in the dialogue matters. It goes to the core of the trauma caused by violent conflict in the region. This trauma is present or in the background one way or another in many of the films of the festival. But in The Frog the emotional inner life is portrayed in all its dimensions yet with simplicity of means. The three men in the barber shop are all examining their shortcomings and crimes against the women in their lives. It is clear that women are at the pivotal center of the life of each one, and they all feel that they are jerks in different ways. The film gives a naked close up picture of this culture’s oppression, as a context for these intimate and complex portraits of men as individuals, weak human beings but capable of brotherly love and compassion. The writing is masterful and clear, everything neatly pulled together from the first images and gestures to the conclusion.
BEST ACTRESS IN LEADING ROLE:
For her strong presence and consistent character throughout the whole film. A youthfully confused and scattered mind, ignoring the consequences of her own actions, until these become fully realized as utter chaos. A very original film with outstanding casting overall. Theodora is an unusual character with a distinctive dark voice and an assertive attitude.
A well played part of a talented actress, Marta Bjelica in the film Offenders.
The FESTIVAL PRICE BaNeFF 2019 goes to the movie AGAPE and director Branko Schmidt, as movie that embodies the festivals spirit of innovation and courage to take on controversial topics.
Lena Koppel – director, producer
Madeleine Hatz – painter, multimedia
Ludmila A Thurne – actress
Cedomir Djordjevic – actor