Written by Shona Smith on Aug 5, 2020. Posted in Awards and Festivals

Young Director Award reveals 2020 winners

In what was deemed an ‘exceptional year’ for the Young Directors Award by Jury Chairman Karim Bartoletti fifty awards were awarded during an online ceremony. The year was notable not only because of the impact of Covid-19 which shifted the awards online, but due to the quality of work entered which saw two entries crowned with the Special Jury Award.

In lieu of a physically ceremony in Cannes, the YDA broadcasted interviews and speeches throughout the week leading up to the live ceremony. According to YDA President Francois Chilot the 23rd ceremony produced under Covid-19 allowed the opportunity to work more widely; the 2020 jury included thirty-nine members from different disciplines, deriving from twenty-one different countries, and more than half were women.

The theme of the YDA 2020 was humour for which a new category, Best use of Humour, was created. Two shortlisted entries were awarded in the category; Silver Screen winner from Asia Pacific, Keep it Real Online -Pornography directed by Sam Stuchbury and produced by Motion Sickness, and Gold Screen winner from Europe, The Birth of Valerie Venus directed by Sarah Clift from Lunapark Pictures and Red Breast Productions, produced by Serena Armitage and Pietro Greppi.

The awards recognise and champion young talent entering the industry as well as the production companies supporting them. For the first time in 2020, two companies that actively nurture young talent were recognised; Stink Films International won the Silver Screen award, You are Here UK took home the Gold Screen.

Again, for the first time in YDA history two Special Jury Awards were chosen unanimously by the judging panel. The Special Jury Award is given only the best of the best of the year is unanimously agreed upon by the jury - meaning that the Special Jury Award is not always given. As Jury Chairman Karim Bartoletti explains “it is not a normal year for the YDA. It is an exceptional year. During our discussion, two films stood out to us. So, in these special circumstances we are awarding two, one film school and one professional”.

The film school entry went to Balloon directed by Jeremy Merrifiels from the American Film Institute, produced Christina Cha. “It is incredible to think Balloon is a Film School film. It made me want to go back to film school. It made me think that Jeremy has accessibility like no other…It stood out over all the other projects seen this year” says Bartoletti.

Professional entry Eyelash, by director Jessie Lewis-Reece from You are Here UK and Produced by – Ike Newman and Jesse Lewis-Reece. “Eyelash was an increbile film. It won three golds throughout three categories proves that from a craft perspective it was almost perfect” says Bartoletti.

You can now see all the 2020 winners, watch the award ceremony or YDA chats online.

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