Film und Medien Stiftung NRWNewsNewsGolden Lion of Venice for NRW-backed co-production „A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”

Golden Lion of Venice for NRW-backed co-production „A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence”

  • The Swedish director Roy Andersson accepts the highest award from Biennale President Paolo Baratta
  • International co-production backed by the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW
  • 71st  Venice International Film Festival (27 August to 6 September, 2014) ends today with the awards ceremony

„A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ by the Swedish director Roy Andersson was awarded the Golden Lion, the Grand Prix of the 71st  Venice International Film Festival, in a gala ceremony at the Sala Grande on the Lido on Saturday evening. The decision was made by the International Jury under the chairmanship of the French film composer Alexandre Desplat. Roy Andersson accepted the prize from the Biennale’s president Paolo Baratta.

„Congratulations to director Roy Andersson and the producers from Sweden, France, Norway and Germany“, says Petra Müller, CEO of the Film- und Medienstiftung NRW. „The Golden Lion is one of the most important awards in the international film industry. We are pleased that the Filmstiftung NRW participated in this great work which enthralled both critics and audiences on the occasion of its world premiere in Venice this week.“

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ is the story of two world-weary men who travel around selling party novelties, and also provides insight into a chaotic world of past, present and future, and between reality and fantasy; a world of dreams and fantasies. The leads were taken by Holger Andersson, Nils Westblom, Sture Olsson and Ingvar Olsson. The film was made as a co-production between Roy Andersson Filmproduktion AB (Sweden) with Essential Filmproduktion (Berlin), Société Parisienne de Production (France) and 4 1/2 Fiksjon AS (Norway), with backing from broadcasters ZDF/ARTE, Arte France Cinéma and Sveriges Television. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the production with 100,000 Euros, with additional funds coming from Eurimages, the Swedish Film Institute, the Nordic Film & TV Fund, the Norwegian Film Fund and the Centre National du cinéma et de l’image animée.

The film will be shown on Monday evening at the Toronto International Film Festival in the prestigious „Masters“ sidebar.

As one of a total six documentaries, „Possessed By Jinn“ („Besessen von Dschinn“) by the Jordanian film-maker Dalia Al-Kury was screened in the second edition of the Final Cut sidebar and had already received an award on Thursday. Two partners will invest 10,000 Euros each in the postproduction of the NRW-backed film: Titra TVS will support colour correction, the production of a master and subtitles, while the CNC will back further postproduction work on the film in France.

About the film: the belief in spiritual beings and demons, so-called Jinn, may now be taboo in the Arab societies of today, but it is still very common. The investigation of the tragic murder of a four-year-old girl leads the Jordanian film-maker Daria Al-Kury into a cryptic parallel world between tradition and modernity. Her experimental documentary sees her mixing detective investigation with self-discovery and essayistic elements. This is the first documentary ever to be shot by a local woman director in Jordan. The Film- und Medienstiftung NRW backed the production with 20,000 Euros. The producer is the ifs graduate Lino Rettinger (Lichtblick Film). The project had already been awarded a Bosch grant at the 2014 Berlinale.

The Filmstiftung NRW had been represented at the festival with a total of seven films. No less than three productions made with support from NRW were running on the prestiogious competition for the Golden Lion: Fatih Akin’s „The Cut“, Benoît Jacquot’s „3 Hearts“ and the winning film „A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence“ by the Swedish director Roy Andersson. „El 5 de Tallares” by Adrían Biniez could be seen today as the closing film for the Venice Days sidebar. The documentary „Possessed By Jinn“ of the Jordanian director Dalia Al-Kury was selected for screening in The Final Cut. Cologne’s Pandora Filmproduktion played a key role in three of the international co-productions. Both parts of „Nymphomaniac“ by Lars von Trier screened out of competition as the Director’s Cut.

The Mostra internazionale d’arte cinematografica di Venezia is being held this year for the 71st time and is not only regarded as the world’s oldest still existing film festival, but is also one of the internationally most important of its kind alongside Cannes and Berlin. The film festival is part of the Biennale for contemporary art in Venice and annually awards the Golden Lion as its main prize.