Indian Drama Girls Will Be Girls Wins Transylvania Film Festival 5

Indian cinema triumphs at the 23rd Transylvania International Film Festival, which took place June 14-24 in the Romanian city of Cluj-Napoca.

First-time director Shuchi Talati won the Transylvania Trophy, the top prize of the International competition, along with its $11,7000 (€10,000) bursary for her feature Girls Will Be Girls, a mother-daughter drama that premiered at Sundance earlier this year. The drama follows a young, academically gifted teenager at a strict boarding school in the Himalayas who gets caught up in an emotional love triangle with her mother, as they both compete for the affection of the same boy.

“The story of this film is very rooted in India, but I always hoped that people outside this very specific space and time where the story takes place would resonate with it,” said Shuchi Talati in a video presented at the Gala ceremony at the Cluj-Napoca’s historic National Theater on Saturday evening. “I feel like this award says that.” 

The Special Jury Award, with its $1,600 (€1,500) prize went to Vinothraj Palani’s The Adamant Girl, a feminist social drama focusing on gendered expectations in rural India. The Tamil filmmaker won the same award at the 2021 Transilvania International Film Festival for his debut film Pebbles. The Adamant Girl premiered in Berlin.

The best director honor, which comes with a $3,750 (€3,500) cash bursary, went to Colombian filmmaker Sebastián Quebrada for his emotional drama The Other Son about the process of mourning the death of a teenager by his family and close friends.  

Iranian actor Hassan Pourshirazi won the best performance award for his role in The Old Bachelor while the Dutch-Belgian production Summer Brother picked up three awards: A special mention for young actors Jarne Heylen and Joël in ‘t Veld, the audience award voted on by the festival public, and the Ecumenical jury award.

Alice On/Off, a Romanian documentary filmed over ten years by director Isabela Von Tent picked up three prizes: The Romanian days award for best debut, a special mention of the jury of the documentary competition sidebar section “What’s Up, Doc?” and the international film critics’ FIPRESCI award.  

Below is the full list of winners of the 2024 Transylvanian Film Festival. 

Transylvania Trophy 
Girls Will Be Girls, Shuchi Talati 

Best Director Award 
Sebastián Quebrada, The Other Son 

Special Jury Award 
The Adamant Girl, Vinothraj Palani 

Best Performance Award 
Hassan Pourshirazi, The Old Bachelor  

Special Mention of the Jury 
Jarne Heylen and Joël in ‘t Veld, Summer Brother 

Audience Award 
Summer Brother, Joren Molter 

Romanian Days Award for Feature Film 
Dismissed, Horia Cucută, George ve Ganæaard 

Special Mention of the Jury for Romanian Days Feature Film 
Family Weekend, Mihnea Toma 

Romanian Days Award for Debut 
Alice On & Off, Isabela Tent 

Romanian Days Award for Short Film 
Truth or Dare, Simona Borcea 

“What’s Up, Doc?” Award 
Kix, Dávid Mikulán, Bálint Révész 

Special Mention of the Jury “What’s Up, Doc?” 
Alice On & Off, Isabela Tent 
La Reine, Nikola Klinger 

Most Popular Romanian Film in the Festival 
Moromeții 3, Stere Gulea 

Ecumenical Jury Award 
Summer Brother, Joren Molter 

Special Mention of the Ecumenical Jury 
Where Elephants Go, Cătălin Rotaru, Gabi Virginia Șarga 

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