The Cinéfondation prize is intended to encourage newcomers, by awarding prizes to short and medium-length films made by students. Only around two dozen films are selected for the competition each year, out of the 1,600 films which are sent in from film schools all over the world.
The film director Abbas Kiarostami said that it wasn’t only winning that mattered: “The main advantage and privilege that Cinéfondation gives young film-makers is to be here at Cannes, meeting other filmmakers for ten days, and being in contact with professionals, veterans. This atmosphere encourages them, and gives them a sort of legitimacy in the work they do, and makes them take their craft seriously.”
First prize went to Annie Silverstein, from Austin University in Texas, for her film Skunk. She said that being at Cannes had been a fabulous experience: “Just coming here and be part of the sixteen films selected to be part of the Cinefondation, such a huge honour, and just it s a validation I guess and you know it’s very hard to make films, and everyone here works very hard to make films and you have to sacrifice a lot, so when something like this happen, that encourages you to keep going and find a way.”
Second prize went to Japanese film student Atsuko Hirayanagi from Singapore University. Atsuko Hirayanagi was hoping to find
new opportunities at Cannes: “Coming here opens doors for student film makers, independent film makers who wouldn’t be recognized, especially short films. Getting into or getting recognized in international film festivals, opens doors for us.”
The third prize went to Daisy Jacobs for The Bigger Picture and Fulvio Risuleo also won for the short film Lievito Madre.
Georges Goldenstern, the director of Cinéfondation said: “I think that young film makers are very proud to be awarded a prize by a jury headed up by Abbas Kiarostami. He is also the Honorary President of the Cinefondation. Right from the beginning he immediately agreed – like Scorsese and others – to have a long-term involvement in supporting the Cinefondation.”
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