In a statement published on September 17, the jury called the film “a truly powerful, energetic and heartfelt story which engages all of us through its masterful filmmaking.”
They also described the child labor drama as “another excellent example of Majid Majidi’s great love and care for the underprivileged children in Iran and around the world.”
The acclaimed movie follows 12-year-old Ali and his three friends. Together they work hard to survive and support their families, doing small jobs in a garage and committing petty crimes to make fast money. In a turn of events that seems miraculous, Ali is entrusted to find a hidden treasure underground. He recruits his gang, but first, to gain access to the tunnel, the children must enroll at the Sun School, a charitable institution that tries to educate street kids and child laborers, close to where the treasure is located.
Niklas Teng was the president of the jury in the feature films in the junior and youth category. Andrea Metcalfe and Tian Tsering were other members of the jury.
The Golden Slipper for best feature film in the youth category went to “Valentina” directed by Cássio Pereira dos Santos from Brazil.
“The Crossing”, a co-production of France, Czech and Germany directed by Florence Miailhe, received the special jury prize in a feature film in the junior and youth category.
“Sisters: The Summer We Found Our Superpowers” by Norwegian directors Arild Ostin Ommundsen and Silje Salomonsen was awarded the Golden Slipper for best feature film in the children’s category.
The Karel Zeman Award - Special Recognition for Best Visual Concept in the children’s category was given to “Wolfwalkers”, a co-production between Ireland and the U.S. by Ross Stewart and Tomm Moore.
“Even Mice Belong to Heaven”, a co-production of Czech, France, Poland and Slovakia directed by Denisa Grimmova and Jan Bubenicek, and “Kids Are Fine” by Korean director Ji Won Lee won special mentions in this category.
“Sounds between the Crowns” by Czech director Filip Diviak won the Golden Slipper for best short animation for children.
The Golden Apple – Zlin audience award for best feature film in the children’s, junior and youth category – was awarded to “Martin and the Magical Forest” directed by Petr Oukropec. This film is a co-production of Czech, Germany and Slovakia.