Special Report By Moira Sullivan
At the recent Uppsala International Film Festival in Sweden, 70 international shorts were presented at the only Nordic festival recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Winning films can receive an Oscar nomination which happened to two films from Uppsala the last two years. Short films are not lacking in having things to say as evidenced by over 200 films selected this year by the festival committee. After all as festival director ┼sa Garnert says, the first motion picture was a short!
The Uppsala festival kicked off at the Slotts Biograf movie house October 16 with closing ceremonies on October 22. This is the same movie house where Ingmar Bergman became inspired by film as a boy. Actress Viveka Lindfors, who played a nurse in Exorcist 3, was born on the block. Slott in Swedish means castle, and the theater is below the castle where Queen Christina abdicated her throne to move to Italy. Playing Christina was the job for Greta Garbo.
The international film competition is arranged into several enticing sections and it is to the festival's credit that its menu so vividly captures the themes represented by the filmmakers. This year's films were divided into showcases such as Syntax Error, Encounters, Speed Limits and Urban Jungle. Special sections this year focused on Finnish Films and Desire --represented by six tales of young queer love selected by Robin Baker of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
A special retrospective was dedicated to Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson who spent six years making Songs from the Second Floor, winner of the special jury prize at Cannes this year. The film was actually financed by Andersson's shorts, primarily commercials . The AWARD FROM THE UPPLAND FILM FOUNDATION for creative and innovative work by a film director was granted to Roy Andersson this year.
AtomFilms, a film company which markets and promotes high quality short films for potential buyers and distributors, sponsors the UPPSALA GRAND PRIX or the Uppsala Film Jackdaw of 25.000 SEK (USD 2,500).
This year's best short film in the international competition went to Morag McKinnon for HOME (UK 1999). Using a combination of slow motion and poetic realism, McKinnon follows a social worker who investigates the squalid living conditions of several Scottish dwellings.
The SECOND PRIZE OF THE JURY went to OUTER SPACE by Peter Tscherkassky (Austria 2000). In this poetic portrait of terror, a young Barbara Hershey enters a dark house where an array of images bombards the spectator.
The THIRD PRIZE OF THE JURY went to UN PETIT AIR DE F╩TE (A Touch of Party, France 1999) by Eric Guirado. In this short, a compassionate young man leaves his farm from northern France to find employment in the city. Later his beliefs are put to the test in his first job where he is forced to drive homeless street dwellers out of the city's limits.
The coveted AUDIENCE AWARD was given to TAIVAS TIELL─ by Johanna Vuoksenmaa (Finland 2000). Vuoksenmaa provides a warm and engaging portrait on love when you least expect it. 62 year old Helmi buries the mother she has cared for at the expense of having a life. Now, she is finally ready to discover the pleasures of love and attraction.
The AWARD for THE NORDIC VIDEO SECTION was given to WAITING FOR GODOT AT DE GAULLE (Finland 2000) by Alexis Kouros. The documentary short film chronicles the fate of a refugee caught in the transit hall at Charles de Gaulle airport for over three years.
Shortness can be seen in relation to what a director has to say. Since a short film gives producers an idea of how a director makes films, the length for some directors is not important.
Filmmaker Ian Cowes traveled to the southwestern U.S.A. to visit the Navajo reservation called Four Corners , the name of his short, which is also a huge dumpsite for radioactive waste. Claiming that he was terrified while filming, an unusual aspect to the short is the use of a Geiger counter as large expanses of land are presented. According to Ian Cowes, the length of a film is not relevant at all but rather the integrity of the work, the strength of the message. This claim can apply to much of the work of this quality festival in Uppsala.
MOIRA SULLIVAN MOVIE MAGAZINE INTERNATIONAL, SWEDEN
© 2000 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 11/2000
"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index
"Movie Magazine International" Home Page