2nd European University Film Award 2017

In 2016 Filmfest Hamburg and the European Film Academy launched the European University Film Award (EUFA) which is presented and voted by European university students. The aim of this initiative is to involve a younger audience, to spread the "European idea" and to transport the spirit of European cinema to an audience of university students. It shall also support film dissemination, film education and the culture of debating. The discussions within the local universities and during the debate in Hamburg are about fostering a common understanding, articulating values and ideas, searching for a way to understand this world and each other and overcoming national, social and stereotype marks.

Starting off with 13 universities from 13 countries in first edition, the second edition in 2017 already saw 20 universities from 20 countries:

  • Belgium | Antwerp: University of Antwerp
  • Czech Republic | Prague: Charles University
  • Denmark | Aarhus: Aarhus University
  • Finland | Oulu: University of Oulu
  • France | Paris : Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris 3
  • Germany | Rostock: University of Rostock
  • Greece | Mytilini (Lesbos): University of the Aegean
  • Hungary | Budapest: Pázmány Péter Catholic University
  • Ireland | Cork: University College Cork
  • Israel | Sderot: Sapir College/Scha'ar HaNegev
  • Italy | Udine: University of Udine
  • Netherlands | Utrecht: Utrecht University
  • Poland | Lodz: University of Lodz
  • Portugal | Lissabon: University of Lisbon
  • Romania | Cluj: Sapientia University/Cluj-Napoca
  • Serbia | Belgrad: Singidunum University/Belgrad
  • Spain | Bilbao: University of the Basque Country/Bilbao
  • Sweden | Växjö: Linnaeus University
  • Switzerland | Lausanne: Université de Lausanne
  • Turkey | Istanbul: Kadir Has University
  • United Kingdom | Liverpool: John Moores University

Out of the 51 feature films and 15 documentaries eligible for the European Film Awards 2017 a committee consisting Fabian Gasmia (Producer / Germany), Juho Kuosmanen (Director / Finland), Elli Mastorou (Journalist / Belgium and Greece) and Dagmar Brunow (Film Scholar / Linnaeus University / Sweden) decided and announced a shortlist of five films nominated for the European University Film Award in early October at Filmfest Hamburg.
The Five Nominated films were:

  • HEARTSTONE (HJARTASTEINN) by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. Iceland/Denmark 2016. Fiction
  • HOME by Fien Troch. Belgium 2016. Fiction
  • LOVELESS (НЕЛЮБОВЬ) by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russian Federation/Belgium/ Germany/France 2017. Fiction.
  • THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE (TOIVON TUOLLA PUOLEN) by Aki Kaurismäki. Finland/Germany 2017. Fiction
  • THE WAR SHOW by Andreas Dalsgaard and Obaidah Zytoon. Denmark/Syria/Arab Republic/Finland 2016. Documentary

From then on between October and early December the five nominated films were viewed and discussed by students in film and media studies classes at the participating 20 European universities. Each film was analyzed, evaluated and passionately discussed over the course of two months and in the end each institution voted by a point system for their top three films. These results were sent in for the final vote.

One student representative for each of 19 universities came to Hamburg for a two-day deliberation meeting that took place 6/7 December.

The First Day was characterized by discussing and reflecting all five films, finding arguments and describing the qualities of each film. During a boat tour the results from the "national votes" – the Top 3 films (HEARTSTONE, LOVELESS and THE WAR SHOW) were announced and continued the journey with the students.
On the Second Day the students were developing criteria for the award. The discussion turned out to be very profound and enhancing reflecting aspects of all facets of the award: How do the films correspond to EUROPEAN, to UNIVERSITY and to FILM. The discourse was extremely rewarding and very touching for everybody.

The 2nd European University Film Award went to the Icelandic film HEARTSTONE (Hjartasteinn) by Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson. During a public presentation at the Körber-Stiftung on the same evening the winner was announced by the students and the film was shown. The award was presented to Guðmundsson by Filmfest Hamburg director Albert Wiederspiel as part of the 30th European Film Awards in Berlin, at the welcome reception hosted by the Creative Europe Desk on December 8, 2017.

The jury statement:

"HEARTSTONE is a story about exploration of identities and growing up within an isolated Icelandic community. It highlights the pressure placed on people to conform to particular gender conventions and social norms. The film offers an individual and unique perspective on the difficulty of experiencing and suppressing same-sex attraction in small, disconnected communities. As an up and coming talent, Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson delivers an immersive story visualized by overwhelming natural landscapes and beautiful performances. It stands out not only because it is a good film, but also because it explores relevant contemporary issues within today's society."

Thanks to our wonderful students for their passion for European Cinema !!!

The 2nd EUFA Edition 2017 was supported by the Körber Foundation and the Joachim Herz Stiftung and realised in co-operation with NECS–European Network for Cinema and Media Studies.