Last week marked the closing ceremony of Skena UP's ninth annual edition. Films and theater performances from schools around the globe enriched this year's programme, and attendance was up from last year. Following seven days of screenings, plays, parties, and socializing, the festival concluded with the awards ceremony on December 12.
The international jury awarded Best Fiction Film to Canadian short Opalescence. The four-minute film depicts a young mother's despair after the loss of her child. Directed by Alejandro Jimenez, the short was well-received by the audience for its minimalist and stylish approach. The award for Best National Film went to Albania's Baba, helmed by senior student Gledis Bica and featuring a solid performance from actor Klodian Hoxha. Guanape Suur from Italy won Best Documentary, and Conrad Tambour's irresistibly cute film The Visit nabbed Best Animated Film.
This year's edition offered great short films and docs, but the highlight of the festival came in the form and fury of Iara Solano Arana from Spain who delivered a brilliant performance in Sleepwalk Collective's one-woman play As the Flames rose, we danced to the Sirens, the Sirens. Arana walked away with the Best Actress prize, while Swiss play Sehnsucht grabbed Best Theater Performance. The announcement of Best Director elicited ferocious applause in the hall as the prize went to four young directors from the Faculty of Arts in Kosova for their fragmented execution of Antigone.
Other accolades were given; Kosovo actor Gani Rrahmani won Best Actor; The Confession (UK) got Best Script; and Oblivion (Greece) and Chief (US) shared Best Cinematography, while Kosovar film Acropolis received a special mention in the category.
Skena UP 2012 is scheduled to take place next December.