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NIFFF 2021 : A NEW GENERATION CROWNED

The Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival (NIFFF) is excited to unveil the winners of its 20th edition, which concludes with a bang this Saturday, July 10th, on the occasion of its closing ceremony. Organised in a context rife with uncertainty in terms of health measures, this hybrid edition ends with remarkable attendance numbers: 29,000 audience members, including 2,000 views on the online platform. General attendance reached 34,000 people, counting the Festival OFF area. This never-seen-before format was an opportunity for the NIFFF to be reunited with festival-goers as they filled the cinemas (limited to two thirds of their max. capacity) all the while strengthening the innovative online offer that was quickly adopted by the audience. The winners of the competitions are now known: LAPSIS, a cutting social satire from American filmmaker Noah Hutton that opened the festival, wins the prestigious H.R. Giger ‘Narcisse’ award (CHF 10,000 from the City of Neuchâtel). Not to be outdone, the dynamism of Swiss fantasy industry was also rewarded, as Tim Fehlbaum’s ambitious film TIDES wins two major prizes: the award for Best Production Design (CHF 5,000 from the CSEM) and the RTS Audience Award (broadcasting rights purchased by the RTS). The ceremony concluded with the festival’s new General Director Pierre-Yves Walder taking up his new post effective immediately.

Tim Fehlbaum © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021

EMOTIONAL REUNION

This highly anticipated 20th edition made an impression and stirred up some very obvious emotions. The reunion with the audience was exciting and culminated with several sold-out screenings. The participation of the guests, whether in person or remotely, was a resounding success thanks to the unique set-up. In Neuchâtel, Swiss director Tim Fehlbaum (the event sci- fi film TIDES), and Hungarian filmmaker Péter Bergendy (the bone-chilling POST MORTEM) answered questions from the audience after the premiere of their films. Additionally, the side streets of Neuchâtel became the unexpected scene where Mathieu Turi and the audience had a lively discussion following the screening of MEANDER. Many remote interventions also took place, notably from Ben Wheatley (IN THE EARTH), Prano Bailey-Bond (CENSOR), and Dash Shaw (CRYPTOZOO). The Open Air located at Place des Halles attracted many people in spite of the wind and rain; a testament to the love of festival-goers for this venue which has become a major draw in only a few editions. It is there that the complete epic THE NEVERENDING STORY was shown. A screening that will remain etched in people’s memories.

Open Air © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021

Daria Woszek © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021

Sauvage Extended © Indra Crittin, NIFFF 2021

NIFFF EXTENDED: ALWAYS MORE HYBRIDITY

The NIFFF Extended label offered an innovative format through which we multiplied the connections between domains like digital creation, new technologies, storytelling, and literature. The hybrid set-up allowed for experts and artists to meet in Neuchâtel as well as from anywhere in the world. Highlights included fascinating discussions about the Taiwanese imagination as part of the FORMOSA FANTASTICA programme, and the roundtable about Québec artists MONTREAL, A LEADING INCUBATOR FOR DIGITAL CREATIVITY. All discussions and conferences ca be found in full on the NIFFF website.

WHAT SCIENCE FOR THE FICTION ? © Miguel Bueno, NIFFF 2021 

LITERATURE OF THE IMAGINARY IN TAIWAN © Indra Crittin, NIFFF 2021

LIVE & VIDEO

PIERRE-YVES WALDER, THE NEW GENERAL DIRECTOR OF THE NIFFF

The NIFFF is happy to welcome its new General Director Pierre-Yves Walder, formerly part of its programming team. For six years, he partook in the development and the evolution of the event and has continued to be involved as part of the selection committee.

He now becomes the new General and Artistic Director of the NIFFF effective immediately and can start looking forward to the festival’s next edition, which will take place from July 1st to July 9th, 2022.

I am ecstatic to be taking the reins of the NIFFF after this anniversary edition that marked the reunion between the festival and its audience. The fantasy genre is moving with the times more than ever before, and I look forward to continuing to explore its many iterations” — Pierre-Yves Walder, General Director of the NIFFF

AWARDS NIFFF 2021 

PRIX H. R. GIGER «NARCISSE» AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE FILM (INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION)
CHF 10,000 given by the City of Neuchâtel

Noah Hutton, United States
World sales: Hyde Park International (US)

Mention : CRYPTOZOO, Dash Shaw, United States
World sales : The Match Factory (DE)

Awarded by the International Jury :
Sylvie Lainé · author · FR
Mona Chollet · author and essayist · CH
Fabien Mauro · author and essayist · FR
Mathieu Turi · filmmaker · FR
Daria Woszek · filmmaker · PL

SILVER MÉLIÈS FOR BEST EUROPEAN FANTASTIC FEATURE FILM
Nomination

Chris Baugh, Ireland, United Kingdom
Festival contact: Six Mile Hill Productions (NIR), Blinder Films (IRL)

Awarded by the International Jury

NIFFF’S INTERNATIONAL CRITICS AWARD (INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION)
Promotion

Lee Haven Jones, United Kingdom
Distributor : Praesens-film Ag (CH)

Awarded by the NIFFF International Critics Jury :
Leonhard Elias Lemke · Journalist, Deadline · DE
Ard Vijn · Journalist (NL) Screen Anarchy · CA
Rául Gil · Journalist , ScifiWorld · ES
Andrea Monili · Journalist, Nocturno · IT
Laurent Duroche · Journalist , Mad Movies · FR

IMAGING THE FUTURE AWARD FOR BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN (INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION)
CHF 5,000 offered by the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM)

Julian R. Wagner pour TIDES de Tim Fehlbaum, Switzerland, Germany
Distributor : VEGA Film SA (CH)

Awarded by the International Jury

DENIS-DE-ROUGEMONT YOUTH AWARD (INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION)
Hamilton watch

Prano Bailey-Bond, United-Kingdom
World sales : Protagonist Pictures (UK)

Awarded by the Denis-de-Rougemont High School Jury

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST ASIAN FEATURE FILM (NEW CINEMA FROM ASIA)
Honorary

Lee Cheol-ha, South Korea
World sales : M-line Distribution (KR)

Awarded by the audience

RTS AUDIENCE AWARD (INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION)
Broadcast

Tim Fehlbaum, Switzerland, Germany
Distributor : VEGA Film SA (CH)

Awarded by the audience

H.R. GIGER “NARCISSE” AWARD FOR BEST SWISS SHORT FILM
CHF 10,000 offered by the SSA and SUISSIMAGE

Joder von Rotz, Switzerland
Production: YK Animation Studio GmbH, SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Mention : LE VIGNERON ET LA MORT, Victor Jaquier, Switzerland

Awarded by the SSA/SUISSIMAGE Jury :
Kantarama Gahigiri · Director · Switzerland/Rwanda
Marie-Eve Hildbrand · Director · Switzerland
Ivana Kvesic · Director, Schweizer Jugendfilmtage · Switzerland

SILVER MÉLIÈS FOR BEST FANTASTIC EUROPEAN SHORT FILM
Nomination

Joder von Rotz, Switzerland
Production: YK Animation Studio GmbH, SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen

Awarded by the SSA/SUISSIMAGE Jury

TAURUS STUDIO AWARD FOR INNOVATION (SWISS SHORTS COMPETITION)
CHF 2,000 worth of sound post production services

Jan-David Bolt, Switzerland
Production: Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK Departement Darstellende Künste und Film

Awarded by the Taurus Studio Jury :
Marie Herny · Co-director, Centre de culture ABC · France
Claude Lander · Taurus Studio Founder · Switzerland
Stéphane Morey · General secretary, Cinéforom · Switzerland

AUDIENCE AWARD FOR BEST SHORT FILM (SWISS SHORTS, INTERNATIONAL SHORTS, NEW SHORTS FROM ASIA)
Honorary

Xavier Seron, Belgique
Production : Angie Productions, Hélicotronc

Awarded by the audience