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Collector Alexei Krasovsky

The 2017 Prague Independent Film Festival (PIFF) took place from August 3 to 6 featuring more than 30 films.

The opening film of the second edition of the festival was “Collector” (Коллектор) by the Russian director Alexei Krasovsky starring Konstantin Khabensky. Although it is a director’s debut, it became very successful in Russia and abroad. Skillful screenplay was complemented by the brilliant acting of Khabensky. He is the only actor in the picture, which made it an even more difficult task, but Khabensky is not one to shy away from challenging roles. The picture received the Best Director, Gustav Meyrink Prize (Jury Prize) and Best Actor awards.

The Pakistani picture “Mahemir” directed by Anjum Shahzad was screened on the second day of the festival. It intersects events from the life of Mir Taqi Mir, a famous 18th century poet with a modern age poet by the name of Jamal. It features amazing cinematography, beautiful sets and is full of deep ideas about art, poetry, love. The picture won the Best Cinematography award.

The film “Maya Dardel”, written and directed by Magdalena Zyzak and Zachary Cotler, is about an aging female writer who announces on radio that she wishes to end her life. Her goal is to find a successor to her estate and she invites several men to compete for the honor. The film is bold, original and unconventional, and is one of the most compelling films of modern American independent cinema. The outstanding performance by Lena Olin and the inventive screenplay by Zyzak and Cotler received the two awards.

Lazar Ristovski receiving his Grand Prix for the film Train Driver's Diary at 2017 Prague Independent Film Festival
Lazar Ristovski receiving his Grand Prix for the film Train Driver’s Diary at 2017 Prague Independent Film Festival

The culmination of the festival was the arrival of Lazar Ristovski, an international star and producer, who presented his well-known film, Train Driver’s Diary. The comedy-drama directed by Miloš Radović about train drivers who kill people by accident was greatly appreciated by the audience, and Ristovski answered questions with charm and humor. Train Driver’s Diary received the Grand Prix, Best Feature Film and Best Actor awards.

“The Light Thief” by Bahrain based director Eva Daoud, received the Best Short Film prize. She created a fantasy film about true and false love. The atmospheric score and incredible special effects contributed to the film’s success at the festival.

Several films from Czech film students were also screened. The audience was especially impressed by the black and white expressionist film “NOCEBO” by Faraz Alam.

One of the best film schools in the world, Santa Monica College, presented two short films at the festival – “Muñecas” by Ozzy Ozuna and “A Fish Story” by Carrie Finklea. The film Muñecas received the prize for Best Student Film.

“Time – Retrograde” by David Ellis won the Best Experimental Film award for its striking visuals and hypnotic music which matched the surrealist style. It was ingeniously constructed by combining analog film and digital video.

The prize for art direction was obtained by the film “Ghosts on the Road to Camalt” directed by Jason Tovey and starring Peter Gallagher. The picture is an extraordinary piece of art. Made on a low budget it impresses by its high artistic quality, profound thoughts and musical score. Peter Gallagher who stars in the film is also a painter, and the combination of film footage and artworks, mysterious landscapes and interiors created a unique atmosphere.

“God Came ‘Round” won the award for Best Music Video. It features music by Professor T & The Eastside Shredders and was directed by Derek Frey. The music video is full of humor, eccentric characters and has a great performance by prolific actor Deep Roy.

image via Prague Independent Film Festival

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