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Edinburgh Film Festival 2013: A World Not Ours and Leviathan among winners

A World Not Ours

Story by Jack Foley

MAHDI Fleifel’s A World Not Ours has taken The Award for Best Film in the International Competition at the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival.

The award is given to filmmakers from outside of the UK in recognition of their imagination and innovation. Acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho chaired the International Feature Film Competition Jury, which also included actress Natalie Dormer and film critic Siobhan Synnot.

The jury citation read: “The International Jury loved this film’s warm regard for the people at the heart of the film. A difficult subject was handled with confidence and humour. We hope that many more people get the opportunity to see A World Not Ours.”

Fleifel commented: “I am immensely grateful to the programmers at the EIFF for inviting my film. I have lived, studied and worked in the UK for 13 years, but I’ve never managed to screen any of my work at a single British film event – not even my short films which were pretty successful internationally.

“Winning the prize in Britain’s No. 1 Film Festival is too good to be true. I hope this will help bring our film to a wider audience in the UK and I would like to thank the jury for this wonderful honour.”

The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film went to Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s Leviathan, which received its UK Premiere at the Festival.

The jury described Leviathan “as an original and imaginative documentary which observes the brutal routine of deep sea fishing in a way which completely immerses the watcher in its story.”

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel commented: “We are totally bowled over by the news of this award. All our films have been rejected by every British film festival to date, so it is all the more moving for us! We also admire in so many ways the work of this jury, which makes this award especially meaningful to us both. It also gives us the courage and conviction to continue to keep pushing at the envelope – of cinema, of documentary, of art.”

The Award for Best Performance in a British Feature Film was shared by Jamie Blackley and Toby Regbo for their performances as the dysfunctional schoolboys in uwantme2killhim? The performance awards were voted for by the Michael Powell Award Competition Jury.

Jamie Blackley said: “I felt lucky enough to hear that two films I was in had been selected for the EIFF, so to then win this award is a wonderful shock that I wasn’t expecting and I am proud to share it with Toby. I’d like to thank Andrew Douglas and the cast and crew for making the experience so special for me and to EIFF for making me feel so welcome.”

Co-star Toby Regbo added: “I’m absolutely over the moon. Making this film was so positive: a really interesting story, a great director and a superb actor to work opposite, what more could you want really? I’d like to say thank you to the EIFF for supporting British independent film and young actors.”

Reinstated in 2013 after a two-year absence, The Audience Award, supported by Sainsbury’s Bank, went to Fire In The Night, directed by Anthony Wonke for his deeply moving documentary detailing the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea.

The film, which received its World Premiere at the Festival, skilfully combines archival footage, audio recordings and interviews with some of the 61 survivors of the disaster, some of whom are interviewed for the very first time.

Voted for by cinema-goers attending public screenings, films were eligible from across the Festival programme at the discretion of the Artistic Director.

Wonke said: “It’s 25 years ago this July that Piper Alpha exploded and sunk into the North Sea and we hope that with this film the memory of that fateful night that affected so many lives will act as a suitable remembrance.

“I’d like to thank everyone who voted for Fire In The Night, it really does mean an awful lot to everyone involved especially all the men who took part in the film. I know that they will be incredibly touched and thankful that the public engaged with this film and their story in such a positive way.”

EIFF Artistic Director Chris Fujiwara said: “The Audience Award, which we reinstated this year after a two-year hiatus, is not only one of the most significant of EIFF’s initiatives designed to engage audiences with cinema, it’s also one of the most fun. We’re delighted by the enthusiasm shown by our audience members who took part in choosing this award, and we’re grateful for the support and commitment of Sainsbury’s Bank.”

GHL by Lotte Schreiber won The Award for Best Short Film in the shorts category, prompting the director to comment: “I am very proud to receive this amazing award from this fantastic film festival, which is the most exciting one I’ve ever received! I’m proud of my little team and I want to thank them all for their precious contribution to this little movie: especially Johannes Hammel, who did the breathtaking camerawork and Michael Krassnitzer for his perfect low-key acting.

“This award makes me sure to keep on filmmaking, even under extremely tough economic circumstances, which will probably become even tougher for all of us independent filmmakers in the next years.

“But it’s worth carrying on! I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Festival Programme Committee who has selected the Film to be part of the International Competition at EIFF and likewise to the Short Film jury members, who have put their whole confidence into this little Viennese movie.”

The winners of this year’s festival awards were announced at an awards ceremony held at Filmhouse and hosted by Grant Lauchlan, producer and presenter of STV’s Moviejuice.

The ceremony took place ahead of Sunday’s Closing Night Gala, Not Another Happy Ending, which concludes the 12-day Festival.