Winners of 43rd Hong Kong International Film Festival Awards
Winners of 43rd Hong Kong International Film Festival Awards

Wang Lina’s A First Farewell and ​Ivan Salatić’s You Have the Night are the big winners at the Firebird Awards of the 43rd Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF43). A First Farewell won the first-ever Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language) Firebird Award, and You Have the Night took home the prestigious award in the Young Cinema Competition (World).

A First Farewell by Wang Lina was commended by the Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language) jury for offering “a lucid exposition of the characters’ heart and mind, and the actions driven by their inner selves” and for being “near perfection” for a debut feature.

Give Me a Ride garnered two awards – Xu Zhenhao for Best Director, and Dang Yu for Best Actor. The Best Actress Award went to Huang Yao of The Crossing for “portraying a student a cross the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border so naturally and convincingly.”

From the eight films competing in the Young Cinema Competition (World), You Have the Night was chosen as the Firebird Award winner for “its depiction of a city by the sea and the closure of a shipyard is also a portrayal of several generations, and the political evolution of a country.”  The Best Director Award went to Bas Devos for Hellhole. Gustav Lindh of Queen of Hearts and Martina Apostolova of Irina were named the Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.

For the Documentary Competition, the jury unanimously gave the Firebird Award to Midnight Family directed by Luke Lorentzen for “its non-judgmental approach to a story of interlocked poverty and tragedy is deeply moving.”  The Jury Prize was awarded to Advocate directed by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche.

All These Creatures directed by Charles Williams was selected as the Firebird Award winner in the Short Film Competition. The film was praised by the jury for having “a storyteller’s perspective to extend the poetics through the unflinching use of montage that demonstrates his mastery in short film production.”  The Jury Prize was awarded to The Call directed by Anca Damian.

This year’s FIPRESCI Prize went to The Golden-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain directed by Ridham Janve. The film received commendation from the jury for “assembling a narrative that blends nature and spirituality into an irresistible and immersive flow.” 

Young Cinema Competition (Chinese Language)

Wang Lina director of A First Farewell
Wang Lina director of A First Farewell

Firebird Award
A First Farewell
​Wang Lina
​Jury’s Comment: Through a farewell, the film offers a lucid exposition of the characters’ heart and mind, and the actions driven by their inner selves. A debut feature that achieves high congruity between form and contents. For a debut feature, it’s near perfection!

Best Director
Give Me a Ride
​Xu Zhenhao
​Jury’s Comment: A nuanced portrayal of the characters’ suppression and solitude in the city of Chongqing, where tormented souls resonate with the misty and gloomy environment. The director demonstrates his expertise in mise-en-scene, and his strong potential in this debut feature.

Best Actor​
Give Me a Ride
​Deng Yu
​Jury’s Comment: When you can no longer distinguish the boundary between the actor and the character, it’s a triumph of the performance. The Best Actor Award goes to DENG Yu who has reached that level in GIVE ME A RIDE.

Best Actress
The Crossing
​Huang Yao
​Jury’s Comment: The eight actresses are different in age and yet all delivering remarkable performances. Upon knowing the background of each actress, we appreciate a young actress who was born in Foshan, grew up in the north and yet is able to portray a student across the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border so naturally and convincingly.

Young Cinema Competition (World)

Firebird Award
You Have the Night
​Ivan Salatić
​Jury’s Comment: The Firebird Award goes to an emerging nation in world cinema and a director who is in total control of his media. Its depiction of a city by the sea and the closure of a shipyard is also a portrayal of several generations, and the political evolution of a country. A special mention to Ivan Marković for his cinematography.

Best Director
Hellhole
​Bas Devos
​Jury’s Comment: In this film, the director masterfully conveys the invisible yet profound trauma of the city, which is still suffering from recent incidents, in such a delicate yet powerful style with multiple layers from the various types of citizens.

Best Actor
Queen of Hearts
​Gustav Lindh
​Jury’s Comment: A young man performs a figure that is strong and sensitive at the same time. He touches the audience in every moment without revealing the secret of the character. His performance is full of unexpected beauty.

Best Actress
Irina
​Martina Apostolova
​Jury’s Comment: In a society of change, a young woman faces severe challenges. A personal struggle conveyed with great sensitivity, touching and moving.In a society of change, a young woman faces severe challenges. A personal struggle conveyed with great sensitivity, touching and moving.

Documentary Competition

Firebird Award
Midnight Family
​Luke Lorentzen
​Jury’s Comment: A sensitive observational documentary about a private ambulance service run as a family business in a country with poor public ambulance services. Its non-judgmental approach to a story of interlocked poverty and tragedy is deeply moving.​

Jury Prize
Advocate
​Rachel Leah Jones, Philippe Bellaiche
​Jury’s Comment: The film is a portrait of the Israeli human rights lawyer, Lea Tsemel, in her defense of Palestinians on trial for alleged terrorist activity. The film is compassionate and honest in its depiction of both the advocate’s self-doubt and her commitment to the pursuit of justice, in the face of personal hostility from the media and members of the public.

Short Film Competition

Firebird Award
All These Creatures
Charles Williams
​Jury’s Comment: A non-linear narrative that blurs the line between dreams and realities, the film has a storyteller’s perspective to extend the poetics through the unflinching use of montage that demonstrates his mastery in short film production.

Jury Prize
The Call
​Anca Damian
​Jury’s Comment: The Jury Prize is given to a film that is a congruity between form and content. Under the guidance of a narrator and the use of animation, we empathize with the mother in her quest for liberty and familial love – binding yet fleeting as the lines are connected and entwined.

​FIPRESCI Prize

FIPRESCI Prize
The Golden-Laden Sheep and the Sacred Mountain
​Ridham Janve
​Jury’s Comment: We selected a film that while using exceptionally limited resources weaves an unconditional and magical cinematic experience. The filmmaker assembles a narrative that blends nature and spirituality into an irresistible and immersive flow.

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