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‘Margarita, With a Straw’ and ‘Amina Profile’ Lead TLVFest Winners

'Margarita, With a Straw' and 'Amina Profile' Lead TLVFest Winners

The 10th anniversary edition of the Tel Aviv LGBT Film Festival (or TLVFest) came to a close on Saturday at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. After 8 days of movies — 44 feature films and a hundred short films — the ceremony announced Shonali Bose’s “Margarita, With a Straw” and Sophie Deraspe’s “The Amina Profile” as the top winners, with the full list (including jury statements) below. Congrats to all the winners!

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE: Margarita, With a Straw. Dir: Shonali Bose 

Jury comments: „It is a very touching movie, very beautifully told, optimistic not in a random but in a specific way as to expressing the sense of equality of a minority, considering the current political atmosphere against homosexuals in India. A brilliant story with an awesome ending!“ 

HONORABLE MENTION FOR A NARRATIVE FEATURE: Stories of our Lives. Dir: Jim Chuchu 

Jury comments: „A wonderful collection of shorts that are important to be told. The courage of the Kenyan collective is admirable!“ 

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: The Amina Profile. Dir: Sophie Deraspe 

Jury comments: „Our award goes to a very strong and multi layered story. It starts as a love story between two women, one from Syria and the other one from Montréal, Québec. It is informative, political and social. It gives a very accurate view on the current climate in the world of today, where we are manipulated by the internet and the news and are ready to believe almost anything.“ 

HONORABLE MENTION FOR A DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Prison System 4614. Dir: Jan Soldat 

Jury comments: „Jan Soldat’s Prison System 4814 impressed the entire jury. He shows us some parts of daily life of the prisoners who chose to have ‚a little vacation‘ in a self built S and M prison in Germany. Though this may seem tough, hard and severe, Jan Soldat manages to depict an unexpectedly tender portrait of the couple of men who created the prison and run it. He also lays an affectionate eye on the prisoners themselves.“ 

AUDIENCE AWARD: How to Win at Checkers (Every Time). Dir: Josh Kim 

After both their parents die, 11-year-old Oat, his little sister and his older brother Ek move in with their aunt. Ek works in a bar for male prostitutes and transgenders. His relationship with Jai, the son of rich parents, began when he was still at school. Their uneven love for one another is put to the test when the day of the annual conscription arrives; this is when a lottery decides who must do military service and who can stay at home. 

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM: Hole. Dir: Martin Edralin 

Jury comments: „In the competition of international short films we award one of socio-political importance: the Canadian film “Hole” by Martin Edralin. It boldly topicalizes the sexuality of a gay man with a physical disability. Recognizing sexual needs of people with disabilities, and aiding in their fulfillment is still a taboo in society in general, and even more so in the gay community obsessed with good looks and very strict body norms. We applaud the filmmaker, and especially his lead actor Ken Harrower, for dealing with this topic without sentimentality, but letting us glimpse into a world that many of us would rather not look at, with honesty and bravery.“ 

BEST ISRAELI SHORT FILM: Thirst. Dir: Guy Sahaf 

Jury comments: „Manipulation, sexual tension and physical violence drive a friendship to the verge of collapse. The struggle for power, physically as well as emotionally, is at all times in motion and ambiguous in this tense and gripping tale. For its tight and well written script and beautiful executed visual concept, the jury awards THIRST by Guy Sahaf for the Best Israeli Short Film.“ 

WINNER IN HIGH SCHOOL AND YOUTH FILMS COMPETITION: I feel I’m actually a man. Dir: Amit Fidel 

Jury comments: „The Israeli youth and highschool award goes to a short film which is an unpretentious portrait of a courageous young man on his journey to find his true self.“ 

TLVFEST SHORT SCRIPT WINNER: Samira Saraya 

DOCUMENTARY PITCHING WINNER: Nitzan Giladi. Courtesy of The Yehoshua Rabinovich Foundation for the Arts

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