42nd Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival
The juries have made their decisions. The winners were published 18 Nov. 2023.
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Children’s Film Competition
Oulun Energia Children's Film Competition Award given by the Children's Jury to director Ted Kjellsson
for his film HÅKAN BRÅKAN
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ECFA Award for the Best European Children's Film
Given by the International Jury to
directed by Sander Burger
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ECFA Short Film Award
Given by the International Jury to
directed by Alžbeta Mačáková Mišejková
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Youth Film Competition
Oulu 4H Global Future Prize given by the Youth Film Competition Jury to
directed by Crazy Pictures
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Finnish Competition
Look at Me... Award of the Media Foundation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland to
directed by Petteri Saario
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A Better World Award to Antonia Rinbbom
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The Children's Jury gave the Children’s Film Competition Award, sponsored by Oulun Energia, to the director of the best film in the Children's Film Competition. The award consists of 3000 euros. The jury members were Omar Arifi, Milja Hirvonen, Kalle Hotakainen, Onni Huikari, Adele Jämsä, Ester Jämsä, Lumi Jänkälä, Oona Knuutinen, Inkeri Mäkinen, Martta Pörhö, Iina Salmi and Nandhu Saravan.

The winner of the Children's Film Competition is Ted Kjellsson with his Swedish film HÅKAN BRÅKAN.

Jury statement: “A lot of effort has gone into devising the plot of the film. It is well scripted, well executed, easy to follow and inspiring. One of the lessons to be learned from the story is that adults can play and have fun in the same way as children and not always have to be so strict. The plot has exciting underlying ideas and twists, with music and sound effects to contribute to them. There is plenty of humour in the events and dialogue and a climax in every scene. The structure is good because it is compelling, creative and unpredictable. All the actors do well in their roles, in showing emotion and are believable, with special mention to Håkan and the funny security guards. Even the animals are up to their tasks. The ostriches in particular play an important role in the plot twists. The quality of the cinematography is good and the video game world is effective and coherent. ”

Title role actor Silas Strand: “Thanks for this award. It means a lot to me and the people behind the movie. Rakastan Oulua! [I love Oulu!]"

Honourable Mention

The Children's Jury gave an Honourable Mention to director Andrei Huțuleac for the Romanian film THE WISHING TREE: CHILDHOOD MEMORIES. ”We want to give this film an honourable mention because it is touching and sad in a good way. It is also unique in that it tells the story of a young person with cancer, a subject rarely dealt with in children's films. The plot moves along smoothly and the actors know how to immerse themselves in their roles. It is skilfully shot and the subject is beautifully handled. The idea of a fantasy world and the wishing tree leading to it is a very good one.”

Winner's statement: "We would like to thank the Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival's children, its jury, organizers, and amazing audience for this distinguished award. It honours us at HOSPICE House of Hope and shows us that our efforts in promoting the importance of palliative care amongst younger audiences are paying off. This project was created from the hearts of hundreds of people and was dedicated to those who unfortunately hear that there is nothing left to do, when, in fact, there still is. We are deeply grateful for this award, and, from Romania, we would like to invite you to cherish every moment of life. Thank you!" "

The ECFA Award was founded by the European Children's Film Association in 2010. It is given to the best European film in the Children's Film Competition by the International Jury – actress-writer Kolbrún Anna Björnsdóttir from Iceland, director of the KINOLUB International Film Festival for Children and Youth Marta Kraus from Poland and writer-producer Aleksi Puranen from Oulu, Finland.
The winner is Dutch-German-Luxembourgian co-production TOTEM, directed by Sander Burger.

Jury statement:
"In a world full of borders and social obstacles, Ama, a strong and determined girl fights for her right to have big dreams and a place to call home. 
The actors, especially the lead perform really well in a wide spectrum of emotions. 
The film has a distinct and consistent - dark and raw - visual style that’s different from what we usually see in children’s films. 
The spirit animal is a fun and clever way to visualize the themes of freedom and equality while also adding a heightened touch to the overall mood and look of the film. 
The film takes the audience on an adventure while still beautifully maintaining a sense of realism, but never falls into the trap of gender stereotypes. 
The grown-ups don’t have all the answers. Even the parents sometimes do the wrong things for the right reasons that is of course love. 
The film is a beautiful and edgy reminder for us all of how everybody should be treated equally.”

The Totem team:
"We are over the moon with the ECFA Competition Award at the Oulu International Children’s and Youth Film Festival. Thank you for the incredible honour! 
In TOTEM Ama discovers her roots on a courageous odyssey through Rotterdam with a smidgen of magic. We hope that the audience felt inspired to stand for your rights no matter what age and to stimulate the imagination.
Truly amazing to see how TOTEM resonates in different countries and to receive such heartwarming reactions. Many many thanks!"
ECFA Short Film Award was founded by the European Children's Film Association in 2018. It is given to the best European short film by the same International Jury.

The winner is the Czech film DON’T BLOW IT UP, directed by Alžbeta Mačáková Mišejková.

Jury statement: “The winner has a clear story and message, It's a beautiful, universal story that applies to both young and adult audiences. The inner mood of the characters is portrayed in an inventive way. The film shows an honest essence of a childhood without falling into the trap of gender stereotyping."

Producer Martin Vandas: "If our film is about not being puffed up and insulted, then this award is the way to go.
We are very happy about it because it is a film that a mother made for her children and about her children. And now she has to show them that she won't be puffed up with pride that she won such an amazing and prestigious ECFA Short Film Award.

Awarded by the Finnish 4H Organization's Association in Oulu, the 1000-euro Global Future Prize is given by a jury of young people to the best youth film in the festival. The jury members were Adele Kyllönen, Kerttu Lampinen, Miska Niinimäki, Mona Nuopponen, Amanda Roininen and Ida Skiftesvik. The winner is  the Swedish film UFO SWEDEN, directed by Crazy Pictures.

Jury statement: “The characters were well written and the audience was interested in what would happen to them. Creative camera work and high-quality music created a good mood and the sound design was effective. The film was exciting and funny and kept the viewer interested throughout, right from the gripping beginning. The plot was not predictable and the film's story unfolded in a suitably swift and straightforward manner. It was a positive surprise that the film dealt not only with UFOs but also with human relationships. It had a nice 80s-90s sci-fi vibe to it.”

Comments from Crazy Pictures: "What an honor to receive this award from the Oulu jury. Thank you very much! We’re so glad that the film has been received so well in all ages and especially among the youth audience! Thank you for screening the film!"

Honourable Mention

The jury gave an Honourable Mention to the Australian film SWEET AS, directed by Jub Clerc. The reasons for the recognition were that the film was a humane and beautiful depiction of the characters' emotional development in a beautiful Australian setting. The characters were sympathetic, relatable and realistic..

Jub Clerc's comment: "My cast and crew would like to say a very heartfelt thank you for our honorary mention at the Oulu International Children's and Youth Film Festival. It is always a great joy to know that our work has been able to reach audiences and juries who connect with the 'Sweet As' story. We would also like to congratulate the winner of this special award and all the other filmmakers who are in your amazing festival."

The Media Foundation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland grants a 1500-euro award to a Finnish feature or short film at the festival. This year the recipient was chosen by producer-writer-educator Outi Rousu. The award goes to the documentary film RAP AND REINDEER, directed by Petteri Saario.

Statement from Outi Rousu:

"The film skilfully ties together three stories. The film closely follows the protagonist, a young man, as he reflects on his life choices and his own identity.

Through its protagonist, the film examines the culture and status of minorities, in this case the Sámi, but also how important nature and living in harmony with nature are to us. This makes the viewer reflect on the life values and the global issue of the state of the environment and climate change.

Director Petteri Saario: "A warm thank you for this great honour. As a documentary filmmaker myself, I think it is extremely important to make films for a young audience. It is somewhat shameful how little we know about the Sámi, the indigenous people of Finland. It has been a pleasure to make the film and follow Mihkku's life for several years."

The new Better World Award is given to an individual, organisation or body that has made a significant contribution to the field of children's and youth cinema. The 2023 award will be presented to animation artist, director and producer Antonia Ringbom. For decades, she has carried out valuable work for children and young people through her film workshops around the world. Many of these workshops have taken place in Africa, some as far away as South America.

"Antonia Ringbom's work is invaluable. We can only imagine what a difference it makes to children and young people in slums to be heard and to be able to express themselves through film. The impact of the experience can be lifelong," says festival director Mika Anttolainen.

Antonia Ringbom: “A better world. Wow, what a beautiful name for the award. My ambition is to be empathetic, understanding and present. I believe in equality and co-operation. In the beginning of the 80s the world looked almost as terrible as now. The threat of the nuclear bomb and pollution made me make the film Anima and the Monster Destruktor. The monster turned out to be conducted by humans. So it was also possible to be stopped by humans. Should be done now. The Yellow Giraffe TV series took me to Africa in the 90s. The Senegalese started the cultural centre RIAC, now participating in a co-production called Les copains, Friends. Hope, optimism, pacifism, solidarity need a lot of support and force now. But creativity and art, nature, being together... We can not only cry, we must lunge, laugh, dream in colours. For a better world. Thanks!” 

Festival Director Mika Anttolainen

Festival Producer Marja Seppänen
Hallituskatu 7 (2nd floor of Cultural Centre Valve), 90100 Oulu