This year’s San Sebastian Nest competition for international student short films has awarded Sara Gregory’s Croatian relationship drama “In the Woods” this year’s Nest Award, along with a পুরস্কার 10,000 ($ 11,800) cash prize.
“Because of its complexity and its accuracy, because it says something huge with little, and since we’ve seen it, it stays with us, we’ve rewarded ‘In the Woods’,” the jury said at the time of their announcement.
The Spanish production “Pont de Pedra” was also recognized by a nest special mention, “the respect with which its protagonist is portrayed and because there is magic in every frame.”
Below, Variety breaks down the sleeves of shorts found at this year’s San Sebastian’s Nest.
2021 San Sebastian Nest Short Films
“In the Woods” (Sara Gregory, Croatia) – Nest Award
In this short time, written and directed by Sarah Gregory, the sun-shining and summer-skin scenes are inconsistent against the quiet inner death of a desperate young woman on vacation with her boyfriend. Sania and Philip sign their love signature with the last signature of love. Heartbreaking in its reality, “In the Woods” shows how far apart two people can be in the moment of hope.
“Pont de Pedra” (Artur-Paul Campruba, Spain) – Special mention
Feature film experience working in various departments at the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia Alum Camprubi and is currently working on a postgraduate degree at the prestigious Elias Carrizeta Zine Escola in San Sebastian. Shortly after her debut, filmmaker Angelica followed, a Romanian woman living in the Spanish province of Aragon, who was shocked to witness the birth of an animal.
“Rec La Recherche d’Aline” (Rokhaya Marieme Balde, Switzerland)
On his return to Dakar, director Rokhaya Marime Balde paid tribute to Alain Sito Diata, the heroine of the Senegalese resistance during the French colonization. Documentary-style interviews are assigned to briefly give the diatti the context, then combined using abstract scenes of supersaturated re-enactment. Singing and touching memories full of lively emotions.
“After a Room” (Naomi Pacific, Switzerland)
Writer-director Naomi Pacific brings out a kaleidoscopic meditation for self-discovery in “After a Room”. In this picture set in a cluttered bedroom, Naomi and Ram think about the mood of compound error after time, childhood, life, and ego. Ambient guitar provides backdrop while warm tones and young skin set the stage. The Pacific plays with intimacy in this close relationship.
“Algo Aso Como La Nache” (Alvan Prado, Spain)
On a cold winter morning down a forested mountain path, friends Marcos and Evan fight a crime they committed, and it will be clear whether to keep the cover, or their involvement. A little more than a conversation between two shaky people, a constantly moving camera and a friendly atmosphere give the thrill of the short scene around an almost thrilling energy. Chile’s latest short-trained and educated but worldly experienced prado.
“Crashing Waves” (Lucy Kerr, USA)
In this short excerpt from American filmmaker Lucy Kerr, the stories of stunt professionals working in mainstream Hollywood are shared, Kerr narrates himself, and behind-the-scenes footage of the TV show “The Exorcist” is shown, a much different mix of drawing Presented in the finished film. A strong statement is made on behalf of a large number of employees who risk their safety for their time, energy and the few seconds of on-screen thrills experienced by viewers.
“The Hole” (Christopher Ansel, Denmark)
Christopher Ansel co-wrote and directed this allegorical story of Frank and Elias, father and son, and their monotonous lives of filling endless giant holes in the floor of their living room. When Elias begins to question the motives, their relationship is exposed with contemplative consequences. Freud’s overtones are underscored by dry strings. Ansel provides a dark, yet priestly analogy to the Sicilian proportions.
“Little Swallow” (Nikita Merlini, Switzerland)
Nikita Merlini writes and directs this twist on a groundbreaking story: Sophia and her mother Carla have to stay together at The Little Swallow Hotel after their house burns down. When Sophia gets a chance to go to Zurich for university, Carla struggles to lose something again. Merlini contains a sense of commitment that stays on the launchpad of youth at a young age and uses subtle scenes of hope and empathy.
“Neon Phantom” (Leonardo Martinelli, Brazil)
The winner of the Best Short Golden Pardino at this year’s Locarno Festival, “Neon Phantom” is the brightly colored look of Rio Bike Messenger’s career, focusing on Joey who dreams of buying a motorcycle. A student at PUC-Rio, Brazil, Martinelli often combines drama and documentaries in his experimental work, and has played several of his shorts at prestigious festivals around the world, including Locarno, Chicago and Toulouse.
“A Nocturnal Wandering” (Feng Yi, China)
E studied at the China Film Art Research Center and has already come up with several acceptable shorts. In “A Nocturnal Journey”, Escort Mudu walks through the People’s Park in Shanghai late at night with author Mianshan. Mianshan speaks of a post-apocalyptic novel he wrote and dedicated to his fiance, and as he explains the story, the park seems to become more isolated from the real world. To get back to reality, Mianshan must look at his own story.
“Ob Cena” (Paloma Orlandini Castro, Argentina)
One of the most experimental shorts of the year, “Ob Sina” uses decades-old psychiatric texts written about sex to reflect modern sensitivities around pornography. Questions are raised in isolation about how gender public representation is regulated and filtered. A native of Buenos Aires, Orlandini has studied and worked not only in film, but also in advertising for ethics and jurisprudence as an honorary professor.
“Rhyme” (Katesina Hronkov, Slovakia)
Katenina Hronokovi wrote and directed this textural tone poem about pensioners Libus and Jerome, who decided to move things around with a lifestyle subscription service called The Sun. Bespoke daily rituals and vague mantras support their already uncomfortable routines and both together and at a lonely age are forced to face their frustrations in a forgiving meditation. Sensitive, humane, colorful-fresh Medveka and Zia Ohanka give strong performances in this crisp close-up.
“Summer Plan” (Alexandru Mirnescu, Romania)
Written and directed by Alexandru Mironescu, this unfinished vintage features a glimpse into the pre-summer summer of young Andrei and his divorced parents. Plans to go to summer camp were thwarted when her father paid for her camp fees, and Andrei was forced to choose. A color-washed rose, “Planuri de Vacanta” was repeatedly accused of emotional violence, then quietly extracted. DP Adrian Smile-Dragon shows subtlety with a meaningful Miss N scene.
“Earlings” (Melanie Acoca, France)
Sorbonne and NYU Tisch school-educated filmmaker Mélanie Akoka writes and directs the story of a young girl, neglected by her mother, in her late teens who has to fight alone with a new sense of longing for a charismatic young handman who visits an old stone family. Repair the wall. A low hanging afternoon sun, earthy tones and heavy sweaters match the autumn aesthetics of the film towards the end of a season in the young woman’s life.