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The 5th Edition of the Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival has certainly ended on a high note. LEFF’11 had all the main ingredients to become its best edition to date (as was predicted last week) but only time could tell if this was truly going to be an edition to remember. The programme promised a week long of high-quality events and it surely delivered.
It is one of the youngest Film Festivals in Europe but other veterans should definitely learn a thing or two from LEFF. Paulo Branco’s Lisbon and Estoril Film Festival proved worthy of the buzz surrounding it in international media outlets.
Every screening began punctually (apart from minor technical glitches) and the price of the admission tickets was very cheap, considering they allowed access to premieres and masterclasses with actors, directors, and producers. Most of the screenings were presented by one of the actors in the film, a movie critic or producer and after it a small discussion regarding the film was held.
According to LEFF’s director Branco, this might have possibly been the best edition yet, and who are we to doubt his words? In a recent interview, Branco also admitted that upcoming editions should be held in both Lisbon and Estoril, in a partnership with Lisbon’s City Hall.
Even though most of the movies shown are not what one would expect to see in a regular movie theater, most of the screenings were sold out and were incredibly entertaining.
All of the movies were divided in categories: the Official Selection, Retrospective, Tribute, Cinemart (including features by Matthew Barney and Yasmina Reza), In Memoriam, Rare Filmmakers, Film Heritage Preservation (with the cooperation of the Martin Scorcese and the World Cinema Foundation), Cinema and History, and several Special Screenings of feature films and television series.
The big winner of the Festival was Twilight Portrait, by Angelina Nikonova, as it took home the award for Best Feature. Twilight Portrait tells the story of a social worker who decides to take on her dramatic past and it is Nikonova’s debut as a film director. Cédric Kahn’s Une Vie Meilleure won the Special Jury Award – João Bénard da Costa, as well as the Cineuropa Award.
Other special mentions include Here I am, by Bálint Szimler and Aman (Safe and Sound) by Ali Jaberansari. LEFF ended on a winning streak as Almodóvar’s latest (The Skin I Live In) was shown to an eager audience in Lisbon, with the presence of Jan Cornet and Marisa Paredes. In Estoril, Melancholia by Lars Von Trier closed the Festival but hopefully LEFF’s next edition will come soon enough.