How to create a full cinema experience in pandemic times? Like Schlingel did, with even more efforts from the team, even more venues, even more films, and ultimately… even more audience: 17,000 visitors in total.
Of course, all screenings and side events followed a clear hygiene concept. “We were very happy to welcome numerous friends and partners from all over the world again”, says festival director Michael Harbauer. “It is important to see films together in the cinema and to be able to exchange ideas about them directly. My festival colleagues took away inspiration for their own programmes and in some cases were able to talk to the respective producers or directors right away.” Locations like the Opera House Chemnitz were successfully implemented as new screening venues.
The Schlingel Industry Forum this year offered the prelude of the Central European Children’s Film Market, a cooperation with the Zlin Film Festival (Czech Republic) and AleKino! (Poland) as a platform for networking and joint project presentations. This market will take place annually, alternating between the three festivals. In the renowned “Coming Soon” event and under the flag of “Window to the World”, international projects in different stages of development were presented.
There were prizes for a shipload of fantastic films. The main award went to RICKSHAW GIRL (by Amitabh Reza Chowdhury, Bangladesh), but more titles were showered in glory, such as SUN CHILDREN (by Majid Majidi, Iran), LITTLE WARRIOR (by Ilya Ermolov, Russia), BIRTA (by Bragi Thor Hinriksson, with main actress Kristín Erla Pétursdóttir receiving a diamond(!) bicycle as Best Child Actor), KIDS ARE FINE (by Lee Ji-won, South-Korea), VACARME (by Frédérick Neegan Trudel), and Audience Awards for A BRIXTON TALE (by Darragh Carey & Bertrand Desrochers, UK) and BEST BIRTHDAY EVER (by Michael Ekbladh, Germany).
The ECFA Award went to NIGHT FOREST (by André Hörmann & Katrin Milhahn, Germany), given by Marjo Kovanen (Koulukino, Finland), Cosima Stracke-Nawka (professor, Germany) and Christof Wehmeier (Icelandic Film Centre, Iceland).
Michael Harbauer: “But for all visitors – no matter of what origin or background – one thing was the key, more than prizes and awards: watching children’s films together and having a great time!”