Oyu Triumphs in the International Competition, audience awards goes to Curiosa

The juries of the Pragueshorts film festival, organized by a team from the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, have chosen their winners. Triumphing in the International Competition is the French-Japanese film Oyu, an existential meditation set at a traditional onsen bath. The jury’s two Special Mentions go to the Philippines’ Cross My Heart and Hope to Die and to director Daria Kashcheeva’s Electra, which uses surreal visuals to talk about a young woman’s traumas. Electra was also named Best Film by the National Competition jury, which voted entirely independently of the jury in the International Competition. Every year, the Pragueshorts festival also presents an Audience Award, which this year went to the British animated short Curiosa.

The international jury of the 18th Pragueshorts film festival consisted of actress Eliška Křenková, creative producer Barbora Mudrová, and screenwriter and director Dylan Holmes Williams. The jury recognized three of the twenty-seven films in competition. The award for Best Film, which comes with a financial prize of 3,000 euros, went to director Atsushi Hirai’s French-Japanese film Oyu. “This deeply human film tells a fragile yet powerful story. This powerful work affected us strongly, and we cannot wait to see what surprise director Atsushi Hirai has in store for us next,” the jury wrote in its official statement. One Special Mention went to the Czech film Electra, which the jury appreciated for “the sensitive and attractive way it deals with a difficult topic.” The second Special Mention was presented to the Philippines’ drama Cross My Heart and Hope to Die, “an intricately constructed story, beautifully told with grand, bold, and yet also mysteriously wide-angle shots. The perfect design and sensitive performances contribute to the film’s overall tone. It is a masterpiece by a director whose works it will pay to follow,” stated the jury.​

Starting Sunday 3 March, the festival moved online to KVIFF.TV, where fifty-five of the films from the festival program (including most of the winning entries) will be available for streaming until 17 March.