Live life to the full with Walk this Way

After its fifth collection, This is War, Walk This Way is presenting its sixth and last selection of films for 2016. The VOD distribution programme, which brings films to platforms such as iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Filmin, Flimmit, Universciné and more, is releasing the collection Award Winning Dramas, a selection of emotional life stories that won awards at all the biggest film festivals.

The first film in the collection comes from Poland, where it won four prizes at the Polish Film Awards, and is directed by Molgorzata Szumowska, who won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 2015 Berlin Film Festival. Body tells the story of Olga, an anorexic girl who, after the death of her mother, is sent by her father to see a psychiatrist, Anna, who is dealing with a loss of her own. The film is a drama with dark comedy elements that provoke empathy in the audience and help us to understand what drives the three main characters. Described by Variety as a film “whose peculiar sense of humour and competing points of view make for an almost cubist fruitcake comedy”, Body stars Janusz Gajos, Maja Ostaszewska, and Justyna Suwala. It will be available in Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

After being selected for festivals such as the Berlin Film Festival, the Hong Kong Film Festival and Paris Cinema, Georgian film In Bloom also comes to Walk This Way for this last selection. In Bloom, a drama directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Groß, is set in Tbilisi in 1992, and tells the story of Eka (Lika Babluani) and Natia (Mariam Bokeria), two girls who leave childhood behind as they ignore society’s customs and work to escape their turbulent family lives. This portrait of two teenage friends has been compared to Turkish success Mustang, and has received rave reviews from critics all around the world. The film will be available in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, and Sweden.

The third film of this selection comes from Austria. In Macondo, an 11-year-old Chechnyan refugee living in Vienna sees his life thrown into disarray when a friend of his deceased father suddenly pops up. Directed by German filmmaker Sudabeh Morteza, the film has been shown at the Berlin Film Festival, the London Film Festival, the Seattle Film Festival, and the Hong Kong Film Festival, where it won the Golden Firebird award. Macondo has been described by Indiewire as “a rich, affecting drama centred on an outstanding child performance”. The film will be available in Denmark, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden.

Life in a Fishbowl is up next, and follows three different people who must accept their past and present choices to help themselves and the people around them. In this story told from multiple points of view, Icelandic filmmaker Baldvin Zophoniasson focuses on subjects such as motherhood, fraud, and alcoholism. The film was well-received by critics worldwide, and won 12 Edda Awards, the most prominent film awards in Iceland. This social drama is one of the biggest-ever hits in Icelandic cinema and has been compared with the work of Mexican writer and filmmaker Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams, Babel). The film will be available in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

In Global Player, German filmmaker Hannes Stöhr tells the story of the Bogenschueltz family, a middle-class family that fights to be successful in business in times of globalisation. Described as an ironic comedy drama, the film is a crowd-pleaser that brings humanity and emotion to the world of global economical transactions. This is Stöhr's fourth film, and completes a very interesting filmography that he started in 2001 with Berlin is in Germany, a comedy that won the Panorama Audience Award at the Berlin Film Festival. The film will be available in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden.

Harmony Lessons is the next film in the Award Winning Drama collection. The film is a thriller from Kazakhstan that tells the story of Alan (Timur Aidarbekov), a lonely teenager who is bullied at his new school. It was selected for and awarded at a number of festivals, including the Chicago Film Festival, the Hong Kong Film Festival, the Seattle Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival, winning the Silver Bear for outstanding artistic contribution for cinematographer Aziz Zhambakiev at Berlin and the award for Best New Narrative Director for Emir Baigazin at Tribeca. Harmony Lessons is Baigazin's first professional feature, and is the most acclaimed film from Kazakhstan in recent years. The film will be available in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

From Latvia comes Mother, I Love you, the seventh film of the selection. In this drama, 12-year-old Raimonds starts a spiral of lies after trying to cover up a bad mark at school which soon spins out of control. This coming-of-age story has been compared to François Truffaut's The 400 Blows for its truthfulness and rawness. After being selected for a number of festivals around the world, the film won seven awards, including the Grand Prix of the Generation Kplus at the Berlin Film Festival, and the Narrative Award at the Los Angles Film Festival. Director Janis Nords and actress Vita Varpina were also awarded at the Latvian National Film Festival, where Mother, I love you was honoured as Best Latvian Film. The film will be available in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Closing this great selection of films is The Girl With Nine Wigs, a dramatic comedy by German filmmaker Marc Rothemund. A decade ago Rothemund directed Sophie Scholl, a critically acclaimed historical drama that won two Silver Bears at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival. This time the director focuses on Sophie (Lisa Tomaschewsky), a young woman who, after finding out that she has cancer, decides to shave her head and wear nine different wigs to express herself, thus stopping the disease from taking control of her life. Based on an international bestseller by Sophie Van Der Tap, The Girl With Nine Wigs has been described as an all-round crowd-pleaser. The film will be available in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. 

24 November 2016, by Cineuropa