Despite the cancellation of its public events, Fribourg International Film Festival, FIFF, has announced the winners of its three main awards with You Will Die at 20, a stunning debut film by the Sudanese filmmaker, Amjad Abu Alala, emerging as the Grand Prix winner.
The film tells the story of a young man and a devastating prophecy, both for him and his family that he will not live to see his 20th birthday.
According to President of the Jury, Guetty Felin, the adjudicating body was unanimous in its choice of the movie.
“We all agreed on one word: Bouleversant [overwhelming]! You Will Die at 20 is a beautifully crafted mystical fairy tale steeped in the reality of a place that is foreign in culture to us and yet achingly familiar in its humanity. This film is a magical homage to cinema while giving hope to the youth of a nation in dire need of hope” he said.
For its efforts, the film went home with the prize money of CHF 30,000 (CHF 20,000 from the Canton of Fribourg and CHF 10,000 from the Municipality of Fribourg),
The Special Jury Award went to Los Lobos by Samuel Kishi Leopo, while Asho by Jafar Najafi scooped the Best International Short Film Award.
Los Lobos tells the story of two children and their mother who are living as undocumented immigrants in the US. Locked in a shabby room, the brothers escape the tedium by inventing stories and listening to tapes their mum has made for them.
According to the President of the Jury, “This is a film that charmed and moved us for its simplicity and quiet strength. Los Lobos allows us to see hope through the bleakness” he said. The Special Jury Award came with prize money of CHF 10,000 and was sponsored by Groupe E.
For the International Short Films category, the Jury, comprising Mélanie Croubalian (Switzerland), Michael Frei (Switzerland) and Julie Hugo (Switzerland), chose to award the short film prize to the documentary, Asho, by Jafar Najafi.
Asho tells the story of a young herder and film buff whose dreams of becoming an actor take him on incredible flights of fantasy through the Iranian hills.
President of the Jury, Mélanie Croubalian explains, “This is an optimistic, life-affirming and spirited film, which is probably what we need in these troubled times” she said
The award also came with the prize money of CHF 7,500 and is sponsored by the Clinique Générale Ste-Anne.
The organizer of the event expressed their gratitude to their partners while explaining how the wining films were chosen despite the COVID 19 pandemic.
‘Thanks to the generous support of our partners and the outstanding dedication of the International Juries, who watched the films remotely and made their selections by video conference. All three winning films – from Sudan, Mexico and Iran – have a common thread: youth as an agent of change and hope. Although confined to their respective corners of the globe, the International Feature Films Jury, comprising Elodie Bordas (France), Álvaro Brechner (Uruguay), Guetty Felin (Haiti/USA) and Joel Karekezi (Rwanda), met remotely to discuss the contenders and make their final selection’ the organizer explained.