BUDAPEST FILM AWARDS
The Letter Room
BEST EXPERIMENTAL SHORT
Masel Tov Cocktail
BEST ANIMATION SHORT
The Bird and the Whale
De brume et de sang
BEST STUDENT FILMMAKER
Almost all of the films at the Budapest Film Awards were incredible, but Masel Tov Cocktail was on a level that is beyond words.
From the Molotov to the Masel Tov Cocktail - We watched the Budapest Film Awards’ winner movies
- Review by 'Filmsor'
This was the first time that the international short film festival called Budapest Film Awards was organized.
Last Wednesday, we had the opportunity to attend the so-called Budapest Film Awards (BFA) and watch the international film festival’s winner movies in the different categories at the Cinema City Aréna in the Aréna Mall.
The BFA, which is dedicated to present short films, was established this year by the Budapest Film Academy, the Eötvös Loránd University’s Department of Film Studies and the Loyola Marymount University School of Film and Television which has its headquarter in Los Angeles.
Short films always had a special place in my heart, it was about 15-20 years ago that the characteristic short films of Jamin Winans grabbed my attention, and with this, a journey has started that has not stopped ever since.
Although Winans did not have one of those classical breakthroughs in Hollywood, he still directed exquisite movies such as the Ink, the 11:59, the Frame, and the Childhood 2.0. Thanks to events similar to the Budapest Film Awards, the creators of the movies below, and even you have a great chance to show what you are capable of when it comes to movies.
The aim of the Budapest Film Awards is to discover talented moviemakers from all around the world, to help them make their movies better-known and extend their contacts. The best of the candidates get the possibility to broaden their knowledge in this field, and they can even participate at the ELTE’s filmmaker programme, where they can better themselves by learning from recognized filmmakers.
The internationalism of the BFA was clearly visible after presenting one Hungarian short movie out of contest, since it was followed by an Israeli and a Palestinian work, moreover, apart from the nationalities, the duration, the style and the creativity also moved on a rather wide scale. The only things that were constant, were the punch lines and the messages.
THE LAST OF THE USHERS
To begin with, the evening started with an out-of-contest movie made by the Budapest Film Academy, produced by Jenő Hódi, who was the host of the evening as well. The Last of The Ushers movie was directed by Ákos Dobos, and it is based on the first piece of an Edgar Allan Poe trilogy. This piece of work set the mood perfectly for the continuation. The movie was inspired by The Fall of the House of Usher and it has a characteristic spooky atmosphere accompanied by great acting performance, not to mention the outstanding work of the cameraman.
The Israeli short movie titled Molotov could be compared to a work made by the collaboration of Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson. Ariel Semmel’s short film is characterised by incredible pace and editing (not surprisingly awarded by the best editing title). A dystopian Israel came to life in front of us, where the viewer and the director found themselves in the middle of the battle between protesters and the police.
As I have mentioned above, after the Israeli movie, the audience watched a Palestinian one that focused on a completely different topic in a completely different manner. Farah Nabulsi directed the film titled The Present which was also nominated for an Oscar, and awarded with the BAFTA title. It is no surprise because the movie presents a really sensitive topic in an excellent way. The Present won not only the best actor award from the BFA, but it was also granted the most outstanding creative filmmaker title. The movie handles the story of a simple shopping in Cisjordania, still it visualises it perfectly how the soldiers, the segregated roads and the checkpoints put pressure on everyday people. The Presents lays the most emphasis on the drama and ends with a magnificent punch line.
MIST AND BLOOD
The Mist and Blood (original title: De brume et de sang) French film was one of the climaxes of the screening. Jenő Hódi did not exaggerate when he said that the movie’s director Roland Collin could make a fascinating movie even out of a telephone directory. The protagonist of the French thriller is Charles Morel, a well-known writer. One night he is unexpectedly visited by a journalist of the Le Monde. The actions take a sudden turn and end in an astonishing finale. During the screening of this Stephen King-like best-director-award-winning movie, the audience’s tension was almost tangible, everybody was holding their breath while watching the movie, and no one could know for sure who the cat was and who the mouse was in this game.
THE LETTER ROOM
The Letter Room managed to get both the best script and the best short movie awards. What’s more, this film was the one, which worked with the biggest stars. The hero of Elvira Lind’s film is Richard, who works in a correctional facility. One day he gets promoted, which means that from that day on he has the honour to look through all the letters that are sent to the prisoners before handing them over to the inmates. Soon our unmarried hero, Richard, however, happens to take too much interest in these letters and intervene a bit more than he should in the prisoners’ private lives. It is the movie’s bitter humour and Oscar Isaac’s brilliant performance that makes it memorable, and let me tell you, The Letter Room was the one, that had the biggest impact on me…
MASEL TOV COCKTAIL
The best experimental movie award went to the Masel Tov Cocktail! Arkadij Kahet and Alexander Wertmann. These are the two names that you have to memorise, since there is a high possibility that you will hear from them again in the near future. The absolute peak of the event to me (and based on the round of applause from the audience to others as well) was the short film titled Masel Tov Cocktail in which we can get an insight into Dima’s life played by Alexander Wertmann.
Dima, a Jewish teenager from Russia, lives in Germany and gets into a school fight. This is what triggers the chain of events, in which our hero leaves no stone unturned and demonstrates our hypocritical and way too tolerant world in a frantic pace.
Actually, the Masel Tov Cocktail reforms the movies’ communication, the character is not only aware of being the protagonist of the story, but he also takes every chance to engage with the audience and grab the viewers’ attention. In the meanwhile, the music, the visual effects and the form of the movie make a perfect piece of art.
The second Budapest Film Awards will be held this year since the BFA organises a summer and a winter festival as well. The date of the winter awards is 15 December 2021, and the deadline for entering the short film contest is 25 November.
Edina Zsanna Bali
Such a high standard film festival provides a great opportunity not only to the filmmakers but to the viewers as well. At the end of the event, when Jenő Hódi, the director of the Budapest Film Academy, asked the audience to stand up, if they study film making, many people stood up in response. It was good to see, and it is nice to believe that in our world it is indeed necessary to have this means of communication, that movies are needed, and that there is no life without art.
Wednesday evening, the Budapest Film Academy’s premier was like sitting on a roller coaster made up of fascinating movies. We watched the eight awarded movies in about three hours accompanied by the audience, who filled up the cinema hall. The shown movies, coming from various countries, were remarkably creative in many aspects. My three favourites were the Israeli, the Palestinian, and the American productions.
In my opinion, it is completely fair that the Budapest Film Academy movies cannot enter the competition, however, one of them is shown before the contest. This way the BFA gives a chance also for our own movies to be presented on the big screen and the contest stays fair regardless. I’m more than happy, that The last of the Ushers short movie made by the BFA was chosen for this purpose, it was excellent to open the festival.
It was good to see familiar faces from the movie-making industry gathered in a room, sharing this experience with each other.
All in all, each film was unique and interesting in its own way, therefore I believe that everyone in the audience could find something that matched their taste. I am glad that I had the chance to attend this event.
My favourite was the one about the Jewish guy, it grabbed my attention because it addressed the topic from a totally different aspect compared to other movies or stories dealing with the same question that I have seen so far. It was humourous but awareness-raising at the same time and because of this, it can make a bigger impact on the viewers in contrast with an average, sad approaches.