Syrian Film 'Still Recording' Wins Venice Critics' Week Audience Award

Lissa ammetsajjel Still Recording Still 1 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Venice Film Festival

French film 'Blonde Animals' won the Verona Film Club prize.

The 33rd Venice International Film Festival Critics' Week concluded Friday night, with Still Recording by Syrian directors Saeed Al Batal and Ghiath Ayoub winning both the audience award and the Mario Serandrei Hotel Saturnia award for best technical contribution. 

Still Recording is about a young cinephile, Saeed, who tries to teach filmmaking to his young friends in Eastern Ghouta, Syria. His friend Milad is in Damascus under Assad's regime, finishing his studies in fine art. At one point Milad decides to join Saeed in a Douma under siege where they set up a local radio station and film everything, until the camera is ultimately turned on them. 

The audience award comes with a $5800 (5000 Euros) prize from Sun Film Group. 

French film Blonde Animals by Alexia Walther and Maxime Matray won the Verona Film Club prize, which is meant to honor the most innovative film of the lineup. The film follows a former star of a short-lived sitcom who drinks too much, forgets too much and comes across another man whose head is not at all what it seems.  

Critics' Week director Giona A. Nazzaro described the week as: "a selection that carries in its own DNA a desire for future, the pleasure of diversity and the search for new gazes; a selection that, at a time when politics are closing doors, wants to open all the windows, in a Rossellinean way, inviting us to think about today's contradictions and work for a combative cinema."

The award for best short film went to Tommaso Perfetti for Malo Tempo. Best short director went to Domenico De Orsi for Gagarin, I Will Miss You. And best short technical contribution went to Those Bad Things by Loris Giuseppe Nese. 

Critics' Week is composed of seven international debut films and two special event screenings as well as a selection of shorts from Italian filmmakers.