The inspiring documentary Petite fille by Sébastien Lifshitz has won the Grand Prix for Best Film at the 47th edition of Film Fest Ghent in an enthralling Official Competition, also featuring Nomadland, Vitalina Varela, First Cow and L'ennemi a.o. The 2020 Georges Delerue Award for Best Music and Sound Design goes to the black-and-white film Servants by Ivan Ostrochovský.
Grand Prix for Best Film - Petite fille (Sébastien Lifshitz)
The international jury (Fabrice du Welz, Benh Zeitlin, Natali Broods, Dascha Dauenhauer and Damien Manivel) has brought the curtain of the Official Competition of FFG2020 down. With Petite fille, the jury awarded the Grand Prix to a documentary for the first time since 1985. French director Sébastien Lifshitz was in Ghent to present his intimate film in person and accepted the award for his portrait of a little girl, born into the body of a boy. The Grand Prix comes with a distribution grant for Belgian distributor Imagine - which releases the film on 6 January 2021 - of 20,000 euros and a media campaign with a value of 27,500 euros.
Petite fille follows Sacha, who at the age of three tells her parents she wants to be a girl when she grows up. French documentary maestro Sébastien Lifshitz's latest looks at an extraordinary family who has to fight hard for the acceptance of their child. Not only does the film delve into the issue of gender dysphoria, it also shows how our society still struggles with tolerance and parenting patterns. With a delicate touch, Sébastien Lifshitz observes the seven-year-old Sacha and her dream. In times where understanding and compassion are much-needed, Petite fille sketches a portrait of openness to a very complex situation.
The jury was deeply touched by the film and said: "Petite fille is a beautiful portrait of a family fighting for their daughter’s happiness. It deploys humanity in a very noble way. The film is sincere, but not sentimental and it opened our hearts in a way no other film did."
Georges Delerue Award for Best Music and Sound Design - Servants (Ivan Ostrochovský)
The international jury also announced the winner of the Georges Delerue Award for Best Music and Sound Design. The award went to the impressive black-and-white film Servants by Slovakian director Ivan Ostrochovský. Servants follows two young priests in totalitarian Czechoslovakia in 1980, when the Catholic Church was succumbed to the ruling Communist Party. The haunting score by Christian Lolea and Miroslav Tóth and the sound design by Michal Novinski make the suppressing regime uncomfortably tangible. The Georges Delerue Award is worth a distribution grant of 10,000 euros and a media campaign of 12,000 euros.
About Servants, the international jury said: "Servants is a great achievement of exceptional cinema. Sound, image and storyline are carefully crafted and every cinematic element is working at the highest level. The ominous score and highly charged sound design support the images in a unique, modern and often distorted way, pushing the film beyond excellence."
Short film awards
On Sunday 18 October, Film Fest Ghent closed the annual short film weekend with the award ceremony for the short film competitions. The Short Film Jury (Baloji, Dorian Jespers and Eliza Petkova) declared Perpetual Night by Pedro Peralta their winner of Best International Short, which comes with a post-production budget of 5,000 euros. The Iranian short A Horse Has More Blood Than a Human by Abolfazi Talooni received a special mention. The Award for Best Belgian Student Short (worth 5,000 euros thanks to Amplo) went to the animated film Tussen de bijen en de tarbot van Linnea Lidegran Correia (KASK).
On Thursday 22 October, the Explore Zone youth jury picked their winner: Gagarine, the feature film debut by Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh about a black teenager in Cité Gagarine. The film gets a promotional boost thanks to a media campaign in De Morgen, Knack Focus and at Studio Brussel worth 27,000 euros. The five-member youth jury was blown away by "the magic-realist trip through social themes such as social inequality, juvenile delinquency and infrastructural decay". A special mention went to the sensitive coming-of-age drama Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman.
The North Sea Port Audience Award and the Canvas Audience Award will be announced on 26 October.
Congratulations to all our winners!