While in the second Oulu Children’s Film Forum, the challenges of international production and financing of children’s films were discussed, the ECFA Jury awarded two titles from Oulu Festival competition: THE APE STAR and 90%.
In THE APE STAR (by Linda Hambäck, Sweden) little orphan girl Jonna dreams of finding a mother. One day her dream seems to come true, when a gorilla shows up in a banged-up old car, and adopts her. “This film is a delightful and self-confident 2D production with creative, colourful aesthetics and a rebellious spirit. The film offers a diverse representation of intriguing characters seeking beneath the surface. It embraces heartfelt themes of loneliness and acceptance, extending the significance of having a family to fondness, togetherness and communality.”
The ECFA Jury were Alejandra Fritis Zapata (Ojo de Pescado, Chile), Vivian Papageorgiou (director, Greece) and Aino Isojärvi (Oulu University, Finland).
The jury also awarded the short film 90% (by Jerry Hoffmann, Germany), about anorexia taking up more and more space in Jean’s life. Or as he would describe it: the incredible feeling of absolute self-control. His parents put him under increasing pressure. But when the brazen Lili enters his life, she encourages him to confront his problem. “This film demonstrated sophisticated cinematography full of youthful energy, from the choices of camera angles to lighting. The use of costumes allowed for a flexible, non-binary identity play. The narrative shed intimate, yet comforting and joyful light on the various screen encounters. The music complemented the film’s atmosphere, uplifting its occasionally dark tones.”
Like in the Filem’on Festival, again it was the documentary RAISE THE BAR (by Guðjón Ragnarsson, Iceland) that won the main Starboy Award of the Children’s Jury, “because the film differs from more conventional documentaries because of its strong and surprising plot arc as well as its unexpected twists and climax.”