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ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival awards prizewinners

On Sunday, four prizes worth a total of 12,000 € as well as an audience award were presented at the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival's awards ceremony. The festival around international poetry film took place from 25 to 28 November under 2G-Plus rules at the Urania Berlin.

An international jury consisting of Hinemoana Baker (poet and musician, Germany/New Zealand), Doris Hepp (freelance editor and lecturer, Germany) and Delphine Maury (animation film producer, France) awarded the four prizes of 3000 € each. 30 poetry films produced worldwide competed for the titles.

The 2021 ZEBRA Prize for the Best German Poetry Film (donated by the Haus für Poesie) went to DUE TO LEGAL REASONS THIS FILM IS CALLED BREAKING BERT by Berlin-based filmmaker Anne Isensee for the film version of the Bertolt Brecht poem “Wer zu Hause bleibt” (“Who is staying at home”). In their statement, the jury said: “A wonderfully contemporary take on the theatre and theory of Brecht, utterly relevant to our world today. The film is also very funny and self-deprecating, it made us laugh out loud. We all got very involved in the street accident scene that the character deliberately tries to ignore. The animation, acting and scripting are all so efficient and elegant – nothing wasted, nothing overdone. In the end we are asked to take some kind of action ourselves, and the final repetition of ‘must’ rightly hands us back the responsibility.”

GET A LIFE by Paul Bogaert and Jan Peeters (Belgium) got a special mention. The film is based on a poem by Bogaert with the title "Is this what we want“ (Original Dutch "Is het dat wat we willen?“).

The 2021 Goethe Film Prize – Cultures of Equality (donated by the Goethe-Institut) was won by THEM PEOPLE by Nausheen Javed (Germany/India) for the film interpretation of her own poem with the same title. The jury came to their decision because, “A powerful and perfectly paced vignette about force-feeding: of attitudes, opinions and prejudices. The sound design is especially noteable in this film – especially the way the very minimal but impactful text is delivered in the voiceover. The film-maker uses this unique animation style (is it painting on glass?) with such skill that each character, as well as being themselves, somehow also comes to represent their archetype. A very strong choice to include the perspective of a child on the values of the adults around them.”

LESBIAN. by Rosemary Baker (Wales) based on a poem by Lisa Luxx with the same title got a special mention.

The 2021 Ritter Sport Film Prize (donated by Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co. KG) went to COLOUR STUDY by Anthem Jackson (Canada) for his film interpretation of the poem with the same title by Chelene Knight, Charles Demers and Shazia Hafiz Ramji. “Such a synaesthetic experience, this beautiful poetry film which spoke as much to our senses as to our minds and hearts. Superb writing and just the right balance of unembellished delivery against the very rich tapestry of visual images. Fantastic collaborative work from this diverse collective. A triumph of poetic prose with the rainbow hidden in the narrative”, wrote the Jury in their statement.

“ER CÒLLERA MÒRIBBUS” Conversazione all’Osteria di piazza della Gensola by Katia Franco and Matteo De Laurentiis (Italy) got a special mention. The film is based on the poem of the same name by Gioacchino Belli, written in 1835 during a cholera lockdown.

The 2021 Prize for the Best Film for Tolerance (donated by the German Foreign Ministry) was won by Yuri Muraoka from Japan for her film interpretation of the poem TRANSPARENT, I AM. by herself. According to the jury “A courageous, complex, lucid dream of a film which moves between dense fragments at a pace which enables viewers to fully metabolise the relationship between the visuals and the text. An extraordinary testimony to a life lived as a mother with schizophrenia, who has given us a chance to meet her on her own terms in this intimate, poetry portrait. Particularly striking was the use of the facemask as a projection surface.”

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival audience also awarded an audience prize:

The 2021 ZEBRINO Prize for the Best Poetry Film for Children and Young People was awarded to Kinder machen Kurzfilm! (Children make short film!) for the film ICHSOERSO. It was produced by the film education initiative with children from a 5th grade of Puschkinschule Angermünde and is based on the poem with the same title by Arne Rautenberg. The audience jury from the 4th grade Allegro-Grundschule Berlin justifies the choice: "We chose the film because it shows many children walking, playing pie fight and rapping together.”

Special highlights of the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival this year were the International Competition and the country focus on France. A film programme gave an insight into the country's poetry film scene, and German-speaking and French poets whose film adaptations were shown in the programme read at the ZEBRA Reading Night. In addition, a colloquium discussed the new digital evalutive potential for short films and poetry films through cinema, film festivals and streaming services. Animation film producer and this year's jury member Delphine Maury gave insight into the production of poetry films in the masterclass. The programme of Poetry in Education offered film programmes and workshops for children and young people as well as poetry educators.

The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival has been running since 2002. At the time it was the first international platform for short films based on poems – poetry films – and is still the biggest of its kind. It offers poets, film makers and festival organisers from all over the world a platform for creative exchange, getting ideas and meeting a wide audience. Featuring a Competition, programmes of films, readings by poets, retrospectives, workshops, colloquia and programme for children, it presents in various different sections the diverse genre of the poetry film.

For enquiries and information
Haus für Poesie
Silvia Jackson
PR and Media Relations
Tel: 030 48 52 45 24
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The ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival is hosted by the Haus für Poesie in co-operation with URANIA Berlin. It is sponsored by funding from the Land Berlin / the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe and from the Federal Foreign Office, and gratefully acknowledges the kind support of the Goethe-Institute, Alfred Ritter GmbH & Co KG, interfilm Berlin, the Austrian Culture Forum, pro Helvetia, the Institut français Germany, 25p and Echoo Konferenzdolmetschen. It is presented by taz, tip Berlin, EXBERLINER, ASK HELMUT and Berliner Filmfestivals.


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