Awards Merlinka festival 2023


Awards in seven categories have been presented on the last night of 15th Merlinka film festival in Belgrade. The categories are: Best short film, Best short documentary, Best Documentary, Best Feature Film, Best Animated Film, Zoomer award and Special awards.

SHORT FILM JURY MEMBERS: Ljubomir Radanov (Journalist), Andrija Mitrović (Director), Vera Kulić (Director)


Fabien (Director: Pierre Guiho)
Will You Look At Me (Director: Shuli Huang)
Blond Night (Director: Gabrielle Demers)
Stone (Director: Jake Graf)
Leo by night (Director: Nans Laborde-Jourdàa)
I seek your help to bury a men (Director: Anderson Bardot)


Director: Shuli Huang

Country: China

Duration: 20

As a young Chinese filmmaker returns to his hometown in search for himself, a long due conversation with his mother dives the two of them into a quest for acceptance and love.

SHORT DOCUMENTARY FILM JURY MEMBERS: Stefan M. Mladenović (Director), Stefan Mihajlovski (Writer), Filip Obradović (Merlinka festival – Novi Sad)


Chokehole: Drag wrestlers do Deutschland (Director: Yony Leyser)
Bunny decided to go (Director: Vusala Hajiyeva)
Grandchild (Director: Claudio Steinberg)
Their voice (Director: Megan Rossman)
Unnamed (Director: Iranmehr Salimi)
Me and her (Directors: Eldar Basmanov, Ahmed Fouad Ragab)


Director: Iranmehr Salimi

Country: Iran

Duration: 13

Zainab is a successful girl who supports her family financially, but considers herself a boy in spirit, and now she has decided to undergo gender transition, but in addition to her family’s opposition and the society’s inappropriate view of this issue, she has more difficulties There is something more important to come. she, who played in the country’s national volleyball team for a while and is now in the Bartar league, if she does this, she will be removed from professional volleyball forever due to her short stature compared to men, and not only will she lose her professional future, but also her livelihood and her family who are under her care will be in trouble.

ANIMATED FILM JURY: Dragan Jovićević (Screenwriter), Mirela Srebrić (Director and animator), Kristian Ranđelović (Activist)


Pussy Love (Director: Linda Krauss)
Y (Director: Matea Kovač)
Aikane (Directors: Daniel Soussa, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson)
The boat is my friend (Director: Edouard Trefert)
Outside the lines (Director: Stan Oversteegen)
The Prince’s dilemma (Director: Devin Rowe)


Directors: Directors: Daniel Soussa, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson

Country: USA

Duration: 15

A valiant island warrior, wounded in battle against foreign invaders, falls into a mysterious underwater world. Everything changes when the octopus who rescues him transforms into a handsome young man.

DOCUMENTARY FILM JURY MEMBERS: Milan Živanović (Journalist), Nikola Spasić (Director), Aleksandar Reljić (Director)


Narrow path to happiness (Director: Kata Olah)
Chasing Chasing Amy (Director: Sav Rodgers)
It’s not the first time we fight for our love (Director: Luis Carlos de Alencar)
Before we move (Director: Aleksandr M. Vinogradov)
An Afternoon with Patrick Sarfati (Director: Antony Hickling)
Blue ID (Directors: Burcu Melekoglu, Vuslat Karan)
Ex You (Director: Milina Trišić)
Kenya (Director: Gisela Delgadillo)
Much Ado About Dying (Director: Simon Chambers)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Much Ado About Dying

Director: Simon Chambers

Country: Ireland

Duration: 86

Simon receives a distressing call from his Uncle David in India, who hints at his impending demise. However, David, a Shakespeare-loving drama queen, has no plans of departing this world just yet. Refusing a care home, David recites King Lear as his life mirrors the play’s themes. In this IDFA 2022 hit described as ‘achingly funny/sad’ by Variety and a ‘Masterpiece’ by Film Verdict, Simon takes on the challenge of ensuring his uncle’s ‘good death,’ or as David puts it, ‘going on a wonderful holiday without the bother of having to pack.’

Special mention: Narrow path to happiness

FEATURE FILM JURY MEMBERS: Petar Lakić (Director), Sholeh Zahraei (Director), Kamil Saldun (Director)


Housekeeping for beginners (Director: Goran Stolevski)
Of An Age (Director: Goran Stolevski)
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe (Director: Aitch Alberto)
Silver Haze (Director: Sascha Polak)
Before I Change my ming (Director: Trevor Anderson)
Smalltown Boys (Director: Gael Lepingle)
Two (Director: Astar Elkayam)
All the colours of the world are between black and white (Director: Babtunde Apalowo)
Breaking the Ice (Director: Clara Stern)
Norwegian Dream (Director: Leiv Igor Devold)

BEST FEATURE FILM: Housekeeping for beginners

Director: Goran Stolevski

Country: North Macedonia

Duration: 107

From acclaimed filmmaker Goran Stolevski comes a story exploring the universal truths of family, both the ones we’re born into and the ones we find for ourselves. Dita never wanted to be a mother, but circumstances force her to raise her girlfriend’s two daughters, tiny troublemaker Mia and rebellious teen Vanesa. A battle of wills ensues as the three continue to butt heads and become an unlikely family that must fight to stay together.

Special Award: Ex You

Director: Milina Trišić

Country: Serbia

Duration: 70

Through the diverse life stories of three transgender individuals, the film poses the question of freedom, understanding, and acceptance in countries torn between traditional principles and aspirations toward the West. Helena is an early retired major, the first military person in Serbia to change her gender. Kamila is from Bosnia and Herzegovina, still hoping transition in Serbia after years of trying. Vuk was baptized in Montenegro as the first transgender person who did not complete transition at that time. His gender transition unexpectedly saved his life.


Directors: Angelika Ustymenko, Alex King

Country: Ukraine

Duration: 20

Before the full-scale invasion, subversive collective Rebel Queers would defy the heteronormative and patriarchal world that so suffocated them by scrawling on the walls of Kyiv: ‘Queer Sex,’ ‘Make Queer Punk Again,’ and ‘Be Queer, Do Crime, Hail Satan,’ among others. The driving force behind Rebel Queers is Angelika Ustymenko, a non-binary and neurodivergent artist and filmmaker.  When their country and their community came under attack, they resolved to document the experiences of queer Ukrainians during wartime. On the first anniversary of the full-scale invasion, Angelika began a new phase of their documentary project, collaborating with Alex King and Huck Docs to collect queer soldiers’ reflections after a year of war and broadening the focus to include other forms of queer resistance.