The Zlin Film Festival is the one and only brave event insisting on serving its ECFA Jury exclusively feature documentaries. The programming procedure is tough, but according to the Jury there was one title that stood head and shoulders above the rest, GABY, BETWEEN AGES 8 TO 13 (Engeli Broberg, Sweden).
Gabrielle is crazy about football. She likes to wear sports clothes, and famous soccer players are her fashion inspiration. Her best friend Henry has long hair; he’s moved to Australia but they still talk regularly on video. Gabi is an ordinary preteen with ordinary experiences. She just doesn’t feel at home with typical gender-affirming appearances and activities. Above all, Gabi just wants to be Gabi. Debut director Engeli Broberg follows Gabi for five years, from a young girl to a self-conscious adolescent who increasingly follows her own path, but whose body is also changing under the influence of female hormones. The ECFA Jury appreciated “the unique insight into the life and mind of a young protagonist while defining the gender identity.”
The ECFA Jury were Katarina Häger (Czech Republic), Teresa Lima (Portugal) and Alicia McGivern (Ireland), also giving a Special Mention to SHABU (Shamira Raphaëla, the Netherlands) for its “authentic portrayal of an adolescent growing up in a community, where family ties play an essential role.”
To get to know more about how ECFA Jury members evaluate their job, about their parallel career dreams and their opinion about shoes (!), read the Jury interview here.
Other notable award winners in the Zlin Film Festival were GANDHI & CO (Manish Saini, India – Golden Slipper from the International Jury for Children’s Films), A SECOND LIFE (Anis Lassoued, Tunesia – Golden Slipper in Junior & Youth Category), OLGA (Ellen Grappe, France / Ukraine – Golden Slipper in Youth Category & Youth Jury Award), while the tender and poetic animation SUZIE IN THE GARDEN (Lucie Sunkova, Czech Republic) took home the Animation Award from a joint jury of children and adults.