|Dianne Jackson's Snowman was awarted at the Tampere festival in 1984. Photo from the festival nearly 20 years ago.|
Kisses for Winners Every Year
The main prize of the International Competition has been since the beginning, i.e. 1970, the "Kiss", or the so-called "Big Kiss", a bronze statuette designed by sculptor Tapio Junno. Category winners are presented with the "Small Kiss".
The bronze Junno designed for Tampere Film Festival is a gorgeous work of art which emphasizes the contrast between smooth and rough surfaces. So far, 32 "Big Kisses" have been presented, one each year of the International Competition.
Not once has the Grand Prix remained unawarded. The winning movie has been selected every year - even though sometimes the jury has had a hairy task voting. Monetary rewards were introduced in addition to the "Kisses" and diplomas in 1983.
Renowned top names in short film, from Santiago Alvarez, Marta Rodrigues & Jorge Silva and Zoltán Huszáriks to Dianne Jackson, Priit Pärn and Nick Park, are listed among the winners of the International Competition. Such celebrated directors as Ingmar Bergman, Jim Jarmusch, Chuck Jones, John Lasseter, Norman McLaren, Juri Nortein, Jan vankmajer and the Quay Brothers have entered the competition in the course of years.
One country has won the International Competition and the Grand Prix four times, namely the United Kingdom. The Soviet Union and France have won three times. The only double winners in the history of the festival so far are the Colombian Marta Rodriguez and Jorge Silva with their movies Chirkales in 1973 and Campesinos in 1976. A documentary film has been awarded the Grand Prix 18 times, animated film nine times and fictional film five times.
Grand Prix to Finland Five Times
The Grand Prix has been carried off twice by a Finnish short film: Hannu Peltomaa's documentary film Rantojen miehet in 1971 and PV Lehtinen's documentary film Hyppääjä in 2001. Hyppääjä made history by winning a triple: the Grand Prix of the International Competition, the main prize of the National Competition and the Risto Jarva Prize.
A Finnish filmmaker has been awarded the Grand Prix no less than five times. Besides Peltomaa and Lehtinen the main prize has gone to Johan Donner who represented Sweden in 1982 with his film En stad under huden, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen and the film Byker, representing the United Kingdom in 1985, and Marjut Rimminen, also a representative of the United Kingdom, in 1997 for the film Many Happy Returns.
The Jury's Decision - Not the Absolute Truth
A couple of memories considering the history of the Grand Prix. The first Grand Prix went to the documentary 79 Springs (79 primaveras) by the Cuban Santiago Alvarez. The film was - and still is - a radiant masterpiece and an excellent example for the festivals to come. "Movie politics", however, was already involved in the first decision of the jury.
In 1971, the "Kiss" was given to the Peltomaa brothers Hannu and Erkki for their documentary film Rantojen Miehet. It was a close run thing, though, for they took home the prize by a 4-3 vote.
-The final decision is a decision of seven people only, thus not being an ultimate truth, said Jörn Donner, the head of the jury. In 1974, the Grand Prix extremely surprisingly went to La primera pagina which leapt in as an extra in the midst of the competition. The film, directed in the Soviet Union, was the debut of a young Chilean film student Sebastian Alarcon.
Selections Have Been Booed
1979 was the rock-bottom year of the festival. The International Grand Prix was granted, however, and it went to a crazy Pakistani piece Noori, which scarcely made its way to the actual competition from the fingers of the preselection jury.
Whereas the first film to receive the Grand Prix, 79 Springs, had been the object of political desires, the one awarded twelve years later in 1982 aroused reactions no less passionate. Johan, the-son-of-Jörn, Donner's movie En stad under huden is yet the only Grand Prix winning movie to be straightforwardly booed. A letter to the editor entitled "Porn or Eroticism?" appeared in Aamulehti in which the writer dissected Donner, Jr.'s film and especially Janne Kuusi's breakthrough that gained the main prize of the National Competition.
I, a founding member of Tampere Film Festival, am one of the few who have seen all the Grand Prix winners in the years 1971-2001, most of which I have seen several times later. I reveal here the Rake's TOP 7, i.e. seven masterpieces of my kind. They are pearls of short film that have stayed in the history of movie and have or will become classics of their own description.
And, finally, a bonus question: Which year was the Grand Prix winning film not screened at the awards ceremony at all? And why?
TEXT: Raimo Silius
TRANSLATION: Terhi Kinnarinen
PHOTOS: Tampere Film Festival