Student Film Awards 2024

GIEFF Student Award 2024 Ceremony

The student award giving ceremony was taking place in the Forum Wissen.  Most of the jury memebers and some filmmakers were present in Göttingen. Some filmmakers were able to join online.

GIEFF Student Award 2024

The Jury (Anne Chahine, Martin Gruber and Olivier Pollet) decided to award the GIEFF student prize to a film from and about United Kingdom.

The GIEFF Student Award went to the film
Estuary / Artery
by Liv Kisby, British.

United Kingdom, 2023, 26 min
Location: United Kingdom

Estuary/Artery invites the viewer into the different worlds of humans as well as non-human others dwelling in close proximity to the River Thames estuary, a land-and riverscape in the east of London. The area is dominated by industries that can be found alongside our urban edges, such as waste disposal factories and large-scale power lines. The film creates an audio-visual and sensorial tapestry of narratives from a variety of actors experiencing this place, while managing to convey the complex meanings and relations it represents for its inhabitants. Estuary/Artery stands out in the novel ways it combines different media formats against the background of a rich soundscape, situating the viewer in a landscape that is marked by the consequences of human-made environmental destruction, while also making room for people’s continuing and caring relation with these lands.

Three Honourable Mentions

Additionally the jury awarded three special mentions.

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
A Letter To Lanka by Ilakkiya Mariya Simon, Norwegian.

Norway, 2023, 28 min

Location: Sri Lanka 
Production: University of Tromsø

Ilakkiya Maria Simon explores the history of her family that was separated by the civil war in Sri Lanka. While the filmmaker grew up in Norway, her aunt lived as a nun in Sri Lanka. The film starts as a personal and poetic narrative exploring fundamental questions of belonging, family and conflict. When visiting her aunt in Sri Lanka Ilakkiya decides to follow unforeseen political events. Her filmmaking shifts to activism.<BR> We appreciate the filmmaker's strong personal voice, her clear cinematography and her courage to adapt her filmic approach and follow unforeseen political events.

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Human Factors by Anna Dobos, British/US-American

Location: United Kingdom

United Kingdom, 2023

In her experimental documentary Human Factors, filmmaker Anna Dobos investigates the performative elements connected to the work of professionals working in the UK healthcare system and emergency services in a post COVID world. Dobos' film stands out due its careful and slow-paced approach of unfolding different strands of narratives that all document, from different angles, the dedication of the professional individuals she follows. Human Factors juxtaposes what it means working in systems that have the human at its centre, while simultaneously being composed of sterile and almost artificial environments and repetitive, performative practices that seem far removed from the fragility of the human body.    

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Ashes Living in Cracks and Hollows by Haruka Fukao, Japanese

Location: Japan

Norway, 2023

Another special mention goes to Haruka Fukao and her beautiful, honest and extremely intimate film Ashes living in cracks and hollows. The film carries a deep universal dimension inviting us to reflect on existential questions and the bond existing between the living and the dead, exploring issues of loss, grief and our relationship to dear ones who may have left this world but remain very much alive with and around us. There is a depth, delicacy and honesty of the approach that is very much worthy of praise with very special scenes that surprised and moved us deeply as a jury and we are very much looking forward to seeing the filmmaker's future works and her exploration of our humanity.  

Manfred Krüger Student Award

The Jury (Metje Postma, Rosella Ragazzi and Michael Schönhuth) decided to award the Manfred Krüger student price to a film about Bulgaria.

The Manfred Krüger Student Award went to the film
Couple More Shovels for a Few More Levs  by Pauline Shongov, Bulgarian/US-American

USA, 2023, 42 min
Location: Bulgaria

All three judges agreed that this film was remarkably shot, and that the camera-work reflected the observational and responsive nature of a phenomenological or sensorial style of filmmaking, akin to the ethos promoted by the Harvard Film School. What initially may have begun as an exploration of archaeological practices evolves into a nuanced portrayal of the men that have been hired to excavate the site. Their repetitive gestures transform into an unpassionate “choreography” of moving dust, deftly captured by the camera amidst the backdrop of the excavation. Humble yet dynamic, the camera’s attentive explorative framing enables events to unfold freely and gives the viewer the opportunity to develop an interest in an otherwise perhaps dull space of hard labour. The camera breathes life into the static setting, fostering a relational aesthetics that flourishes alongside the protagonists, who are reflecting more and more freely about personal and social relations, aspirations and dashed promises, the meanings of the past and a blocked future in post-socialist Bulgaria. We felt that the film, through its camerawork exposes an ethnographic sensitivity that can make us find relevance and interest in any situation we might encounter. And it is that sensitivity that we want to celebrate here!

Two Honourable Mentions

Additionally the jury awarded two special mentions.

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Ruins of Childhood Memories by Ignacio Rodriguez, Chilean.

Germany, 2023, 7 min
Location: Chile 

Exceptional camerawork distinguishes this film. It finds ingenious images for this journey to places of personal and political remembrance, inscribed in stony and silent witnesses of the past. Through long takes and slow tracking shots the camera leaves plenty of space for the viewers own inner images to unfold. The omission of an original soundtrack directs the concentration all the more on the poetic and figurative narrative accompanying the images.
While its brevity may perhaps not make it the best candidate for the prize, the mastery exhibited by the camera remains astounding. There are moments when one ponders if the archival footage from the 70s is perhaps not skilfully emulated by the filmmaker to capture the essence of that era? Through subtle nuances and suggestive imagery, the camera delicately alludes to the grim history of oppression and repression by the Chilean regime, and by extension, without naming the identity of perpetrators, to equally grim histories of genocide of other political dissident and Indigenous peoples. The camera gracefully navigates the weight of political violence with finesse and freedom of expression.

Descending with angels

One Honourable Mention went to the film
Oh These Beloved Hands by Rachel Runesson, Swedish.

United Kingdom, 2022, 25 min.
Location: Sweden

The film is a meticulously crafted film, capturing scenes with an unpretentious yet crystal-clear lens. The doll’s house functions as the materialized interface between the protagonist and her shrouded, unprocressed grief of an ungraspable father, but also towards the viewer who is involved in the piece-by-piece filling of this house of remembrance  While its camera style may lean towards predictability or conventionality at times, it impeccably complements the deliberate rhythm of introspection. The camera achieves a respectful exploration of intimate and domestic spheres, particularly poignant due to the familial connection between the subject and the filmmaker. Patience, curiosity but also reverence define the camerawork, as it quietly awaits revelations, delicately observing subtle shifts in atmosphere without teasing too often the pro-filmic.