09 September 2023
Agnieszka Holland's latest feature film, Green Border, received the Special Jury Prize at the closing ceremony of 80th Venice IFF held this evening. Furthermore, the film received several non-statutory awards. Green Border, which deals with highly contemporary and urgent topic of immigration to Europe, made in coproduction of Poland, Czech Republic, France and Belgium is coproduced by Marlene Film Production and Czech Television on the Czech side. Photophobia, the new film by Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík shot last year in war-torn Ukraine, presented in the Giornate degli Autori sidebar, was awarded the Europa Cinemas Label. The film was coproduced by Cinémotif Films and Czech Television is on board as well. Both films were also supported by the Czech Film Fund.
Agnieszka Holland's latest feature film, Green Border, was honoured with the Special Jury Prize at the closing ceremony of the 80th edition of Venice IFF on 9 September. The award was accepted by the director herself, accompanied by one her co-directors Katarzyna Warzecha, from the jury presided by Damien Chazelle.
Furthermore, the film received several non-statutory awards:
Young Cinema Award (ARCA CinemaGiovani Award) given with the motto "Spirit of time: a look to the present".
CinemaSarà Award given by the jury of five very young people and organized by Cineteca Italiana di Milano with following explanation: "For the courage to denounce the hypocrisy of the refugee reception system on the borders of Europe and to make us experience firsthand in a raw and realistic style the horror and cruelty of those who work in the name of nationalism."
Cinema for UNICEF Award, traditionally given to the film that best addresses children's rights issues. The same award gained The Painted Bird by Václav Marhoul that competed in the main competition of Venice IFF in 2019.
Green Drop Award, given by Green Cross Italia, shared with Io Capitano by Matteo Garrone and assigned to films which have best interpreted the values of ecology and sustainable development, with particular attention to the conservation of the Planet and its ecosystems for future generations, to lifestyles and cooperation between people.
Sorriso Diverso Venezia Award 2023 for Best Foreign Film awarded by Associazione studentesca UCL to works of social interest that value diversity and protect the fragility of people.
UNIMED Award - Prize for cultural diversity awarded again this year by Unimed (Mediterranean University Union) - students of the university network from European countries and other areas of the world “for its ability to tell the story of one of the great dramas of our times, which happens just a few steps away from us and forces us to come to terms with our consciences”.
Following the success in Venice, Green Border was invited to several other festivals including Toronto Interational Film Festival, New York Film Festival, Zurich Film Festival or Busan International Film Festival.
Set in the treacherous and swampy forests that make up the so called “green border” between Belarus and Poland, the film focuses of the issue of refugees from the Middle East and Africa trying to reach the European Union, who are trapped in a geopolitical crisis cynically engineered by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. In an attempt to provoke Europe, refugees are lured to the border by propaganda promising easy passage to the EU. Pawns in this hidden war, the lives of Julia, a newly minted activist who has given up her comfortable life, Jan, a young border guard, and a Syrian family intertwine.
Green Border marks a return of Czech cinema to the main competition of Venice IFF, thanks to producer Šárka Cimbalová and her Marlene Film Production, who got on board together with the Czech Television, making this film a Polish-Czech-French-Belgian coproduction. It is not the first collaboration of the three-time Oscar nominee director with the Czech producer, they collaborated few years ago on Charlatan, which was shortlisted for an Oscar in the Best International Feature Film category. Green Border also received the support of the Czech Film Fund in the minority coproductions scheme amounting to EUR 160,000 and there is significant creative input as well - the film was edited by Agnieszka Holland's regular collaborator, Czech editor Pavel Hrdlička.
Photophobia, a latest directing effort of Ivan Ostrochovský and Pavol Pekarčík, was awarded Europa Cinemas Label 2023 by the four-member jury comprised of cinema exhibitors, who are part of Europa Cinemas network, with following statement:
“Photophobia is a very original and beautifully observed film set today in an underground Kharkiv metro station in the middle of the war in Ukraine. But this is no miserabilist cliched war story. We see the way human beings – and the children in particular – learn to create a new way of living. There is hope here, and joy in the small things – the occasional luxury of feeling the sun on their faces for example. The film is exceptionally well made, with the cinematography a stand out. As it stands, this film has no international sales company attached. We strongly recommend that companies look at this film very quickly and get to work. As exhibitors we are convinced that this film has a wide audience waiting for it. Our unanimous choice for the Europa Cinemas Label here in Venice is Photophobia.”
Thanks to the Label, the film will benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for Network cinemas to include it in their programming schedule. Photophobia is a coproduction of Slovakia (Punkchart films with partizanfilm and RTVS), Czech Republic (Cinémotif Films and Czech Television) and Ukraine (Arthouse Traffic). The films was also supported by the Czech Film Fund with EUR 76,000.