The Pink Apple audience has crowned the Dutch action-comedy «Chez nous» by Tim Oliehoek as this year's best feature film - in the presence of writer Frank Houtappels.
«She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry», which recounts the women's movement from the 60s and onwards, is this year's choice for best documentry film.
Short Film Award
The Pink Apple Short Film Award 2016 goes to Sandra Concepción Reynoso Estrada for her short film "Carina". This year's jury (Dominik Buser, Marianne Hänni, Maya Hostettler, Cesare Macri) also awarded the film "Hole" by Martin Enderlin with a Special Mention.
The Pink Apple Short Film Award was first introduced in 2001 and is awarded by a panel of experts. The winner receives 2'000 Swiss francs in prize money.
The nominees Mikael Bundsen for "Mamma vet bäst" and Jessica Liander for "09:55 - 11:05, Ingrid Ekman, Bergsgatan 4B" were present.
Pink Apple Short Film Award 2016 – Laudatio
Carina – Sandra Concepión Reynoso Estrada
Mexico 2014, 11’
«Carina’s» keeps the audience attention from the first to the last take with its fast shots that expose a girl who seeks her identity. Courageously, the filmmaker goes for the color red. Is this kitsch? Carina has no problem with it. The jury is taken by the child’s actions that seek out her identity. This different identity stands in a stark contrast to the message the grey school uniforms suggest. “This is me”, Carina signals, “and I keep being who I am.”
Carina is following her emotions. First she dances rock’n’roll with her teacher, later she dares kissing her. As she keeps her eyes closed and her breath taken in, she is not aware that school’s caretaker is observing the scene. Did she dare all only to lose it in the next moment? School and church intervene, yet Carina follows her dream, never giving up. The message is clear: Carina will step away from church, school even from her family. She will be taken for a ride in a lipstick-red cabriolet driven by her sexy teacher. The wind will be playing with her hair and her fingers will eventually seek out the erotic leg that pushes the gas pedal.
The jury is convinced by the film’s concept that gives a voice to a child, and a strong voice a that. Sandra Concepión Reynoso Estrada follows her concept with her exquisite camera work, supported by the choice of sequences. The film lives from a strong acting performance, while the images are enhanced through humor, drama, irony, as well as the nostalgic choice of music. We were particularly impressed by Carina’s positive development, driven by a strong will to survive.
Special Mention: Hole – Martin Edralin
Canada 2014, 15’
The director Martin Edralin respectfully presents everyday life of a disabled man who is hungry for both love and sexual fulfillment. Eventually he finds in his caregiver a person to trust in and to be fulfilled by.
We are impressed by Edralin’s courage to confront the viewer with an unsparing presentation of a disabled person. As viewers we cannot escape the hardship and pain connected with such a life. In this, the film distinguishes itself remarkably from other films that approach the same topic with less rigor and truth in order to make “difference” more palatable to larger audiences. The film is also against the grain of the present day youth and beauty craze. Edralin makes clear that life can only be experienced as fulfilled and useful, when we, as a society, are willing and able to embrace and integrate a human being as a human being.
We loved the strong will of the main character, particularly his way of taking action to get his desires fulfilled. The audience is thus released to experience hope.
Honouring Léa Pool
2nd PINK APPLE FESTIVAL AWARD – LÉA POOL
Léa Pool is a pioneer: as a woman who began filmmaking in the seventies, and to this day, now that she is an internationally renowned film professional, has remained committed to her passion, the author’s film. But she is as also a pioneer as a filmmaker, as one of the first to integrate homosexual relationships, and particularly lesbian love, as a matter of course in her films, occasionally focusing on them as a central topic.
Born into a cosmopolitan family, she grew up in the French-speaking region of Switzerland. In the Seventies, she emigrated to Canada to attend film school. In her early works she used a more experimental style, filming in black and white, exploring the observation of time, with no dialogues, and leaving her lead characters, mainly women, to discover themselves and their universe – searching for their identities, for love, and for a place in this world. Marguerite Duras, Jean-Luc Godard, and Andrei Tarkovsky were her ideals when crafting film narratives that defied conventions and reached poetical realms.
Léa Pool often found the topics of her films in her immediate surroundings and her own experiences, and her personal biography has hugely influenced her work. In one of her first great films, «Anne Trister», she describes a young woman in search of a new life on a different continent, after having left everything behind, love, her native country of Switzerland, and her family. Anne Trister also falls in love with a woman... The film was made in 1986. It is one of the first movies to feature lesbian love as an authentic subjective experience, without presenting it as a problem or working with stereotypes.
«Anne Trister» was selected for the Berlinale, and subsequently Léa Pool achieved her international breakthrough. Later it was screened in Swiss cinemas, and was to become a milestone for many lesbians, a treasured element of lesbian film history.
From the eighties onwards, Léa Pool regularly produced further films, «A corps perdu», «La demoiselle sauvage», «Mouvements du désir», to name a few. Most of them tell the story of a turning point in life – an emotional crisis, but sometimes also a crisis regarding artistic work, such as photography or painting. Thus Léa Pool also focuses on her own development from experimental film to more popular narrative cinema, from documentary portrait to dedicated documentary films. In 1999, again turning to her own personal biography, she created «Emporte-moi», and took another big step in her career as a filmmaker.
«Emporte-moi» is a coming-of-age drama about the 14-year old girl Hanna. With the background of a complex family constellation, Hanna not only discovers the cinema as a reference by watching Godard’s «Vivre sa vie» - a title which would also suit many of Léa Pool’s stories - but she also takes her first lessons in love. The young girl first falls for her teacher, in whom she recognizes Godard’s film protagonist, and then, step by step, discovers sexuality when she develops feelings for her best friend Laura. «Emporte-moi» earned many important international awards, among others the Swiss Film Award as Best Fiction Film in the year 2000.
In most of Léa Pool’s films, women, young adults and children play the lead characters. «Female bonding» is depicted as active sympathy, spiritual kinship, companionship and solidarity. We have recently seen this again in «La passion d’Augustine», Léa Pool’s latest film. Two years after «Emporte-moi», the director again focused on lesbian love, in «Lost and Delirious», where Pauline and Victoria, two students at a boarding school, are lovers. The two girls manage to privately live their love as a matter of course, but Victoria breaks under the pressure from outside and ends the relationship and her great love out of fear of repression from her conservative parents and fellow students. The film was shot with a star ensemble, and again became a milestone, this time for a younger generation of lesbians.
Last but not least we all know what an important role films can play in finding your identity and self-definition. We also know their important impact on society in increasing the acceptance of homosexuality. This is why we created the Pink Apple Festival Award last year, thanks to a private donation, to honour film directors for their work in lesbian and gay filmmaking.
And now, 30 years after «Anne Trister» became her first big success, we would like to present Léa Pool this year’s Pink Apple Festival Award for her work, in which she repeatedly has focused on homosexual love and particularly on lesbians, as an element of life in all its diversity. Her films are important to many lesbians of various generations. We are delighted that Léa Pool has made the long journey to Switzerland, and, in the last few days, has travelled with us through her films once again. Congratulations to the award, granted for her work to date, and we are looking forward to her future films!