And the winners are…

Utopia Festival celebrated its closing night on Saturday at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque.

We are proud to announce the winners of the festival’s competitions: The Israeli feature film competition, the Israeli short film competition, the International feature competition and the International short competition.

The Israeli feature competition

Jury: Mike Hostench, Naomi Levari, Yair Raveh

The award for Best Israeli Feature went to “Suicide“, directed by Benny Fredman. “Suicide” is an impressive debut feature – an intense thriller and a visually stunning genre experiment. The jury was impressed by the cinematography, score, cast, and the use of Jerusalem as the film’s location. As part of Utopia festival’s exclusive collaboration with the Sci-fi, fantasy and horror film festival in Sitges, Spain, the winning feature will be screened this October at Sitges.

In addition, the jury chairman, Mike Hostench was impressed by two other films in the competition: “Freak Out“, directed by Boaz Armoni and Veronica Kedar’s “Endtime“, announcing his hopes to bring them both to Sitges next year as part of a special Israeli Genre films program.

International film competition

Jury: Addie Reiss, Sarah Blau, Ayman Siksek

The award for Best International Feature went to “Under the Skin“, directed by Jonathan Glazer. The jury described the film as a unique viewing experience; one that possesses a hypnotic quality, capturing the viewer and raising questions about the essence of humanity and the inter-species relationship.
Due to its portrayal of many universal symbols, the jury found the film fitting both definitions of two other awards – best utopian film and best dystopian film. Thus the jury chose to award all three to this unique cinematic work.

The Israeli short competition

Jury: Shaked Berenson, the brothers Paz, Sasha Belson

The award for best Israeli short went to “Load“, directed by Niv Shpigel and Robert Romano. The jury has chosen the film for its portrayal of an exceptionally lively world – a film that is both moving and beautifully made.

A special mention for innovation was awarded to “Killing Time“, directed by Rafi Shor, for its integration of both hi-tech and lo-tech solutions in the film.

The International shorts competition

Jury: Adria Mones, Jason Wishnow, Marine Haverland

The award for Best International Short went to Habana (Cuba), directed by Edouard Salier.

Production grant – the Keren Rabinovich Foundation

The Keren Rabinovich Foundation is proud to collaborate with Utopia for a third year, in supporting the production of an Israeli genre film. The field of Israeli genre production is in bloom, and contributes to the diversity of Israeli cinema, and to the ability of the Israeli film industry to cater to various audiences. This year the collaboration is for the production of a student film, for the amount of 20,000 ILS. The winning film is “The Operator“, by Ben Hakim of Tel Aviv University’s Film department.

Script development grant – The Israel Film Fund

A special award for editing was given by the Israel Film Fund in collaboration with Utopia Festival to “My First Family“, written and directed by Maya Zaidman.

A grant of 25,000 ILS from the Israel Film Fund in collaboration with Utopia Festival, for the development of a feature-length script, was awarded to “Fingernails“, written by Itamar Sade, directed by Boaz Armoni, produced by Yoav Roeh.