IT'S A WRAP!
The 20th edition of BIFF is over with a successful program consisting of the magical mix of fiction and documentaries that give audiences experiences they would not otherwise have had in cinemas, on television or through streaming services.
- We are very pleased with the admission numbers, which are close to 61,000 this year, says festival director Tor Fosse. This includes school screenings, events and screenings in other locations than Bergen Kino, the VR exhibition (BIFF EXPANDED), as well as the festival’s new arenas, such as the exquisite new University Aula where films were shown in collaboration with the Natural History Museum. The museum will open its doors again on October 14 after a restoration.
- Audiences were able to take part in a number of free screenings of films about science and the environment in the Aula, and in collaboration with the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, we also organized a panel debate on genome editing technology following the screening of HUMAN NATURE, said Tor Fosse.
- Once again, documentaries have made their mark on the program and offered new knowledge on important themes of our time, the festival director continues. He is also proud of the festival's continuing power to renew itself. The collaborations with local institutions such as the University of Bergen and the City Architect in Bergen were continued also this year, with separate programs devoted to, respectively, films disseminating research and on architecture.
- This year, BIFF marked the start of the celebration of the ocean city of Bergen, which will celebrate its 950th anniversary in 2020. 15 films with marine theme were the result of this year's hunt for this very interesting program, which could also offer films about the environment and climate change, during the Climate Festival, which was launched for the 9th time in collaboration with Bergen Municipality's climate section.
BIFF also celebrated more Norwegian films than ever before with the feature films DISCO (Official Centerpiece of the festival) and SWINGERS, as well as the hybrid film ASTRUP - FLAMMEN OVER JØLSTER, which all three had gala screenings with following parties during the festival. In addition to 15 Norwegian documentaries and 22 Norwegian short films, the Norwegian Music Video Competition was also arranged for the 7th time, this year in collaboration with the music festival Vill Vill Vest.
As many as 10 award winners received special attention during the festival and the main awards went to HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD from South Korea and LA LLORONA from Guatemala as winners of the Cinema Extraordinaire program. The Mexican documentary MIDNIGHT FAMILY won the Documentaire Extraordinaire competition. The Syrian documentary FOR SAMA was the opening film, and the winner of the human rights program Checkpoints. Jan Vardøen's DESCENT INTO THE MAELSTROM, which, among other things, portrays Northern Norwegian nature experiences, won the award for Best Norwegian Documentary - where one of the jurors was the Sundance FIlm Festival's senior programmer for documentary David Courier. Filmweb's Audience Award winner was the documentary WOMAN, of which one of the directors, Anastasia Mikova, also attended the festival.
- We are very pleased that NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, once again arranged for its documentary pitch to be at BIFF, and that VGTV followed with a pitch for short documentary films, and not least we are very pleased that TV2 has again become a profiling partner for BIFF, concludes the festival manager. Fosse also adds to the effect that Sparebanken Vest is invaluable as a donor for the festival and shows with all possible weight that the financial institution appreciates the work that is done, not least towards the many thousands of school students who participate in several of the BIFF school programs every year.