Double Helix, Z Bratem and L'enfant salamandre win short film awards at Film Fest Ghent 2021
On 17 October, the international short film jury at the 48th Film Fest Ghent announced the winners of the short film competitions. Double Helix by Qiu Sheng received the Award for Best International Short. In the Competition for Belgian Student Shorts, Z Bratem was crowned Best Belgian Student Short. The THE PACK Audience Award for Best Belgian Student Short, as voted by the festival audience, went to L'enfant salamandre van Théo Degen.
On Sunday night, the curtain fell on Film Fest Ghent's yearly short film weekend. During the Short Film Awards Ceremony, held for the first time in the Film Fest Café, the international short film jury - consisting of filmmakers Jacqueline Lentzou, Pedro Peralta and Meltse Van Coillie - handed out the awards in two short film competitions. The past few days, the jury saw three selections of international shorts and nine students shorts by students of a Belgian film school.
In the International Short Film Competition, which featured directing talent from fourteen different countries, the jury was deeply moved by Qiu Sheng's Double Helix. The science-fiction short is based on the novel by Jin-Kang Wang and tells the story of a brother and sister who escaped their family home and move into an abandoned school. Director Qiu Sheng shared his gratitude toward the jury and festival in a video message, stating that he hopes that audiences find courage and joy in his film. The filmmaker wins the Best International Short Award, worth €5.000.
About the film, the jury said: "Double Helix overcomes the boundaries of genre by constructing a timeless parable which manages to emotionally affect us and makes us ponder upon control in a newfound way."
In the same competition, the jury decided to give two Special Mentions. The honour went both to Brutalia, Days of Labour by the Greek director Manolis Mavris (who won the Canal+ Award in Cannes earlier this year) and Love, Dad by Czech-Vietnamese Diana Cam Van Nguyen. The former for "managing to build a superbly coherent and imaginative cinematic universe", the latter for "succeeding to narrate a deeply traumatic story in an incredibly creative way", according to the jury members.
Each year, there is also a Competition for Belgian Student Shorts. All students from accredited film schools in Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels can enter the competition. Out of all submissions, the jury awarded Z Bratem by Mattias Bavré, a documentary about twin brothers Adam and Piotr who live in an institution for people with a mental disability. He received the Award for Best Belgian Student Short, a prize worth €5.000 thanks to Amplo. Also present were a large part of the crew and the Polish protagonists Adam and Piotr, visibly touched by their victory. The jury decided unanimously that the prize should go to "a film that impressed with its simplicity and maturity". A Special Mention in the Competition for Belgian Student Shorts was awarded to De dag die wit was by Wannes Vanspauwen, "a film that intertwines different dimensions of the cinematic language in a clearly motivated way".
Mattias Bavré wasn't the only young filmmaker of a Belgian film school to win an award. The Film Fest Ghent audience was able to vote for their favourite film in the student shorts selection and chose L'enfant salamandre by Théo Degen as the recipient of the THE PACK Audience Award for Best Belgian Student Short, worth a post-production budget of €6.500.
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