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07 April

2016 Winners: What are they doing now? Michael Labarca and Nadja Andrasev, Joint 3rd Prize Winners

In the run-up to the unveiling of the 2017 Cinéfondation selection, let’s talk with last year’s prize winners, look back at the 2016 Festival, and find out what’s happened to them since.

4 questions for Michael Labarca, 2016 prize winner for LA CULPA, PROBABLEMENTE

How did you react to winning your award at the 2016 Festival de Cannes?
I was literally shaking with joy. I remember that I jumped out of the seat and then, like the good Caribbean I am, gave Naomi Kawase, the President of the Jury, a big hug. Above all, I thought that my parents would now understand that my decision to become a filmmaker had been worthwhile.

What has your award brought you?
Cinéfondation clearly opens doors for the younger generations. Besides the award itself, I was helped by two incredible producers: Juan Carlos Lossada (Venezuela) and René Osi (France) who have given me unconditional  support in my new projects. After Cannes, many different film festivals worldwide programmed my film, giving me the opportunity to communicate with different audiences and to learn from the experience. 

What is your happiest memory from the Festival de Cannes?
I have three fond memories above all: the first one is the mail I received from Dimitra Karya telling me my film had been selected, because of the beautiful words she used to tell me the news.
The second was the hug that Clarisse Robillard gave me after the jury announced my name as one of the winners. I remember her saying "I'm so happy for you". That really touched me to the core.
And finally, the generous words of Naomi Kawase on the terrace of the Cinéfondation after the awards. She really inspired and encouraged me to continue building my own style as a filmmaker.

Are you currently working on new projects?
I`ve been working on new projects since Cannes. I came back really fired up by that experience, not only for the prize itself but especially because of the positive impact of the films I saw during the event and also because of the outstanding range of artistic points of view from my colleagues in the Cinéfondation. Since then I’ve shot a new short film and have been writing the story-line for my first major work.

4 questions for Nadja Andrasev, 2016 prize winner for A NYALINTÁS NESZE

How did you react to winning your award at the 2016 Festival de Cannes?
From the moment I found out that the film had been selected for Cinéfondation, it’s been one of the most surreal experiences of my life. I still can’t really get my head round the fact that I had my very first international premiere in Cannes. I felt so lucky to be among such talented directors with great works, that my sense of unworthiness about even being there outweighed any expectations of winning  anything. Besides everyone who helped in the production of course, I am extremely grateful to Dimitra Karya for giving the film a chance, and to the awesome Cinéfondation team for their hard work.

What has your award brought you?
Well first of all, the award itself of course,  and then being in the selection has opened many doors - including some that I possibly still don’t know about. Of course, it doesn’t and shouldn’t mean automatic invitations to festivals, or guaranteed funding for a next project. But there is a much wider benefit, people are curious to see the film and ask you to submit it for consideration. Which is a great boost for the work itself and any future projects. I know that raising funds for my next film would have been far harder if it hadn’t been for the Cinéfondation.

What is your happiest memory from the Festival de Cannes?
It’s hard to single out the happiest memory as the days flew by in a daze and we were always busy and having a great time. I wished the entire team could have been there, but I was delighted that my friend Luca Tóth’s film, Superbia was also premiered in Cannes. We share the same sound designer, Péter Benjámin Lukács, so the two crews got to enjoy this crazy experience together. It was a special year in that two Hungarian animated shorts had their premiere in Cannes and we were very proud of that.
Meeting the other Cinéfondation directors was also great, because it was a bonding experience. I try to follow their successes from afar and get excited when I learn someone’s film has won an award or is screening somewhere. It would be nice to see them again in the future.

Are you currently working on new projects?
Yes, I am currently in Denmark at the Open Workshop residency, doing some pre-production work on my next animated short. It’s a very exciting time and I’m grateful to have received funding from Hungary relatively quickly to make a second film. I definitely feel that having been a part of the Cinéfondation Selection and winning an award was a huge help in this.