The movie Behemoth (Liang Zhao, 2015, China/France) has won the Grand Prize at Pelicam 2016 with a story about environmental destruction and transformation of people, linked with cultural and spiritual references that are fundamental for humanity. The prize amounting to 1 500 euros is offered by the City of Tulcea and will go to director Liang Zhao.
The jury members – Vlad Alexandrescu, former Minister of Culture, Levente Molnar, actor and Margaret Parsons, film curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington – were touched by the new cinematic language through which the film addressed mining in China, pointing to the devastation. The jury of the official competition gave a special jury prize to the film Poached (Timothy Wheeler, 2015, UK/USA) which brings nature in an extremely complex psychological context. The film tells the story of collectors of eggs from rare birds, convicted for their illegal obsession. “Man’s love of nature is also a problem of identity, for each of us”, has motivated Vlad Alexandresc, jury member.
Black Sea Docs competition was won by the film The Babushkas of Chernobyl (Holly Morris, Anne Bogart, 2015, USA/Ukraine) which tells an impressive story of the grandmothers who could not bear relocation after the nuclear disaster and returned to live in the prohibited area. The jury consisting of Florentina Ciuverca, film critic, Gaetano Capizzi, the director of Cinemambiente Film Festival in Turin, and Mircea Toma, journalist and founder of ActiveWatch has awarded the prize unanimously. “It is a film that excited and entertained us, which showed that the human spirit is stronger than anything”, said Florentina Ciuverca.
The directors of the film have won post production services worth 3 000 euros for the next project, offered by CineLab Romania. “Thank you for screening the film here, it is very important to be shown in this part of the world, so close to the site of Chernobyl disaster. A place showing the resistance of Eastern European old women”, said Holly Morris.
Fresh Perspectives competition was judged by five youngsters from Tulcea, coordinated by film critic Ileana Bîrsan. They chose a film that breathes new life into a widespread and highly commented idea. The winner is Poverty, Inc. (Michael Matheson Miller, 2014, USA/UK) which investigates the poverty industry in the third world countries, a place where Western aid is creating a dependency, those benefiting from it being trapped in a troubled life. The prize for this section is 500 euros and is offered by the Partnership Foundation.
The jury of the short documentaries was made of Séverine Lenglet, director and activist, Heinz Hermanns, found of the festival InterFilm in Berlin and Cristi Mărculescu, film critic. The winner of this section is Bird Strike (Edward Cook, 2015, the Netherlands), a film that investigates the relationship between animal life and human safety – how birds are being killed in order to avoid airplane accidents. The prize is offered by the National Centre of Cinematography and is worth 500 euros.
After four days of screenings, debates, workshops, concerts and many special meeting with filmmakers and environmental professionals, Pelicam, the International Film Festival on Environment and People has come to an end. The winning films will be screened during a retrospective in Bucharest and we are looking forward to seeing you next year for a new edition at the mouth of the Danube!