Lucas – International Festival for Young Film Lovers, Frankfurt

Lucas Film Festival Ident

I had the great pleasure of being on the jury for the Lucas Film Festival in Frankfurt this September. The jury for the 13+ age range comprised of three young people and three adults, of which I was one.
It was a brilliant experience. It was so lovely to sit in the cinema and then discuss the considerable merits of the films we’d seen afterwards.

There were lots of films that were well worth a mention, both in and out of our category. I was particularly taken with Skate Kitchen in the 16+ range, which conveyed life as part of a New York skate gang with such clarity. It’s really something. I loved the director’s previous film, The Wolfpack, too.

I was deeply inspired by our young jury members. They approached each film with fairness and balance and were able to use their considerable critical abilities to get under the skin of the movies, break them apart and figure out what why they worked or why they didn’t work for them. This they were able to do with great precision in both English and German. I was very impressed indeed!

Here’s the 13+ Jury statement that we wrote to read out at the awards ceremony on the final night of the festival.

13+ Jury Statement

We would like to start off by saying thank you to the festival for having us and for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this jury. We have all enjoyed the experience of the festival, the films and the chance to work together. The chance to discuss the films and to evaluate their considerable merits has been very stimulating indeed.
There is so much to say about each film that we’ve seen.

The first thing we would like to do is to give a special mention to the short film Il Prezzo del Biglietto by Mariama Baldé.

We were struck by the use of cinematography in the reflected space which opened up aspects of the story.

The topic of the film is something that is current and based on a true story, which gave it greater meaning and created a significant emotional response in the viewer.

The character’s emotional response was very real, and the way that the drama was presented was tasteful, which left more space for the audience’s engagement.

And now the award for Best Short Film

Of this film’s many merits, we particularly appreciated the way in which it was shot, including the setting, which was very bright, in contrast to the central character who had a great darkness inside her. This made for dynamic storytelling. With so few words so much was said. It was very funny, which resonated with us and allowed us to feel angry on behalf of the character – and ourselves. The whip-panning of the camera showed a dynamic approach to visual storytelling which excited and engaged the audience. There is a sincere feminist message contained within the story which we feel was very important. This short film left us wanting to see more.

The award for best short film goes to… Fuck Les Gars by Anthony Coveney

And now we have a Special Mention for a feature film

We would now like to give a special mention to Sophie Lorain’s film Charlotte a du Fun / Slut in a Good Way

We were greatly impressed by seeing representations of sexuality from a young female point of view.

We were struck by the use of comedy and irony to allow immediate access to urgent issues that can, if badly treated, define how an individual fits into their society and their view of themselves.

It provoked stimulating discussions that would be very useful to younger audiences. The importance of this film lies in the conversations that follow it.

Next we have the award for Outstanding Cinematic Achievement

The form of this film feels very original. It pushes the documentary form into an immediate register, which takes the viewer away from their reality and makes the character’s worlds the most important thing to them at that moment in time. The questions and messages that the film proposes linger with the viewer for many days after first seeing the film. It draws into question the stability and luxury of our own lives.

The voices and perspectives of the central characters connect with viewers of a similar age in a way that few other films do. It is like it is spoken in our words, but with another accent.

Although the visuals were striking and contained a lot of profound action they were not too heavy, which allowed the audience into the story and didn’t push them away in fear.

It is a great collaborative piece of cinematic work. The sourcing of the visuals and the texts that accompany them is so subtly done that the audience is totally immersed in the burning realities of the world that is presented to us.

In its structure it also presents how the film was made, showing young people how to take their own world into account, should they wish to. It is a call to action, and a call that must not be ignored.

The Award for Outstanding Cinematic Achievement goes to… Espero Tua (Re) Volta by Eliza Capai

And finally we come to the award for Best Film

We have chosen this film as best film for many, many reasons. Firstly, if we look at the characters in this film they seem totally real, the actors’ performances seem truthful and sincere, we believe the human reality that we are presented with. Their dynamic relationships make superb storytelling. The characters and how they are presented drew us into the film and allowed it to have a profound resonance with our own realities.

The use of music and sound, and how the characters actually reacted to it on screen made the situations seem more real, and provided a great connection with the audience. We also appreciated the use of music as a narrative device.

The construction of the images on screen was brilliant. The way that the central dramatic scene was shot perfectly reflected the ambiguity of the situation, we were drawn into the immediacy of the moment, its drama and the consequences of the act by how it was filmed and presented to us.

This film pushed past cliché, using potentially familiar situations to tell an important story that, in other hands, may not have been treated with such sincerity, love and care.

It treats sexual identity in a way that we’ve never seen before. This film takes our society a few steps forward, encouraging us to meet the sexuality of both ourselves and others without judgment and labels.

The best feature film goes to… Giant Little Ones by Keith Behrman

The 13+ Jury. Photo by Oliver Leicht