Winning films of the 31st DEF competition

April 9, 2024

The award ceremony of the Days of European Film (DEF) international festival was held today in Prague's Přítomnost cinema.

The main award for BEST FILM DEBUT went to the Hungarian director Katalin Moldovai for her drama Without Air, which follows the story of a literature teacher who recommends a story to her students about the relationship between the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, only to be accused by their parents of homosexual propaganda.

The BEST MUSIC FILM award went to the director Mikel Cee Karlsson for A Tiger in Paradise, an original portrait of the indie folk singer José González which blurs the lines between fiction and documentary.

Jury members of the main competition section featuring debuts were Ester Geislerová, an actress and curator of the project Therapy of Sharing, Ivo Andrle, the CEO and co-owner of the arthouse distributor Aerofilms and also both co-owner and operator of the cinemas Aero, Světozor, Oko and Bio Central, and producer Jakub Jíra.

The European Debut of the Year competition category featured six films. “Although the director doesn't use big, flashy gestures and focuses mainly on the specific situation of the conflict between a popular teacher and her students’ parents, she manages to fully draw the viewer into the graduating drama. The film is set in the current social situation of a Central European country, but the moral level of the story remains universal and timeless," says jury member Ivo Andrle about Katalin Moldovai’s winning film Without Air. The film’s main actress Ágnes Krasznahorkai was in Prague to accept the award.

DEF’s competition section Film & Music highlights the power of two artistic disciplines and their ability to speak to human emotions and passions around the world. Jury members – the Finnish director and screenwriter, and winner of last year's DEF competition, Einari Paakkanen, musician David Žbirka, and Slovak singer and actress Alžbeta Ferencová, known as Zea – decided to select A Tiger in Paradise as the winner of the BEST MUSIC FILM award. “A Tiger in Paradise takes a more poetic and at times surreal approach to the genre of music documentary. Director Mikel Cee Karlsson's bold and unique film provides an insight into the artist’s mental state rather than a factual timeline of his career, and this unusual approach won the jury's vote,” says David Žbirka on behalf of the jury about the winning film.

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