ISFF 2023 Winning Films
This year, the jury watched 143 films and selected 45 finalists. During the festival these films were screened at the Cultural Center in Rogaška Slatina, and some of them were also shown on the Open-Air Stage at the European Square in the Spa Park.
1. BEST FEATURE FILM
The Baseball Player, The Phillipines
The film tells the story of a seventeen-year-old boy who aspires to become a baseball player and has a younger friend accompanying him on this journey. The film beautifully intertwines the story of friendship and the boy’s ambitions in a troubled time of war. The film stands out for its excellent cinematography and the narrative of turbulent war times, which particularly impact children. The director skillfully guided the two main young actors, and it is evident that both teenagers are exceptionally talented.
2. BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE FILM
Addicted to Life, USA
This documentary film follows a Belgian athlete, a Paralympic champion, who decides to undergo euthanasia. It is an excellent story about disability and sports, a story that is particularly relevant in the Slovenian context at the moment, as it shows that the possibility of euthanasia can also have a positive impact on a person’s health when they choose it. The film is superbly shot and, with its excellent dramaturgy, leaves the viewer both shaken and fulfilled.
3. BEST FEATURE SHORT FILM
“Dervish” is the story of a child with Down syndrome who competes in a race with his friends. He trains hard because he wants to win, but on the day of the race, something happens that overcomes his desire for victory. The film is well-shot, and the actors with Down syndrome and others create a sense of a documentary for the viewer. The overall dramaturgy leaves the audience deeply moved.
4. BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
Honey Bunny Duracell, The Czceh Republic
This film about a Czech female boxer is excellently shot, with sound and visual editing that transitions between sequences, placing the film not only in the sports genre but also in the realm of art. Boxing is a psychologically and physically demanding sport, and the director successfully portrays the effort that the athlete must overcome both in training and in fights.
5. ISFF 2023 GRAND PRIX
“Egoland” is an excellent animated story about climbers on one side and the world of ceremonies and awards on the other. The animation, sound, music, and direction are outstanding in all aspects of the narrative, and the story itself is innovative and skillfully executed in terms of dramaturgy. “Egoland” is a top-notch animated sports film that deserves special attention.