Searching for identity and family, along with cultural and political traditions, has always been at the heart of student and debut films, and this year will be no exception. The story of a girl searching for her Roma-Slovak partisan ancestors unfolds in dramatic, intimate scenes combined with raw archival footage (How I Became a Partisan), while the tragedy of the war in Ukraine is captured through two playful teenagers trying to survive and find some inner peace (Away). We meet a young transgender person dreaming of a modelling career in pre-war Ukraine (I Am Michelle), a taxi driver fighting his lonesome battle in remote Russia (Far Eastern Golgotha), and diamond-seeking adventurers who never give up on their dreams, no matter how impossible the circumstances (Portrait on the Search for Happiness). We discover how a mentorship develops into a friendship between a college student and a woman with mental health disorders (Unwell Mind), as well as why and how a civil servant manager starts a new life as a bike messenger (Almost Fine). We get a glimpse into the seemingly bizarre, yet perfectly ordinary, everyday life of a Belarusian village (Khan’s Flesh), and the human destinies behind the flowery, beautiful portals of Kazincbarcika (Jozef in Autumn). The extremity of forms mesh well together in Memoria, a classical-lyrical mix of archival material, and Rocks in a Windless Wadi, a poignant story using experimental images. And in the most unique piece of the selection, fiction and documentary are pitted against each other to tell the story of a German puppet theater company's guest performance in Africa and the resulting culture shock (The Revolution Devours Its Children!).
Janka Barkóczi, Beja Margitházi, Balázs Varga
Student and Debut Film Competition selection committee