Iranian film Like a Fish on the Moon, winner of the Transilvania Trophy at Transilvania IFF.22 | TIFF

Iranian film Like a Fish on the Moon, winner of the Transilvania Trophy at Transilvania IFF.22

18.06.2023 12:20

Like a Fish on the Moon by Iranian director Dornaz Hajiha was the big winner at the Transilvania IFF.22 Awards Gala that took place on Saturday evening in Cluj – Napoca. Together with Carolina Markowicz (Best Directing Award) and director Tia Kouvo (Special Jury Award), Hajiha marks a premier in the history of the festival as it is for the first time when the most important awards are won by women.

I think whether you're a five-year-old or a grown man in your fifties, the pressure to do things you don't want to do is terrifying. I'm glad that the jury understood the message of this film,” said Dornaz Hajiha at the presentation of the €10,000 Transilvania Trophy. The first Iranian film to win the Transilvania IFF official competition impressed the jury with the originality of the idea behind the plot and the intelligence in tackling sensitive issues related to parenthood. The performance of the cast was also singled out by the jury, with Sepidar Tari, the protagonist of Like a Fish on the Moon, winning the Best Performance Award. She shares the award with Nacho Quesada, who plays the lead role in the Argentinian film The Barbarians.

Part of a generation of strong and authentic filmmakers, Carolina Markowicz confirms her rising career as a writer and director with a new award - the Best Directing Award from the Transilvania IFF.22 jury for Charcoal. The €3,500 prize was offered by Fortech. The relationship dynamics and dry humor of her debut film earned Finland's Tia Kouvo the Special Jury Prize for Family Time and €1,500 from Cemacon.

In the Romanian Film Days competition, Andrei Tănase wins the Debut Award for Day of the Tiger, offered by Banca Transilvania. Between Revolutions was named Best Feature Film, with Vlad Petri's film being chosen by the jury for the strong emotion it stirs in viewers. The director will receive the prize of €1,500, offered by DACIN SARA, and analogue laboratory services worth €10,000, offered by CINELAB Romania.

Now in its second year, the What's Up, Doc competition’s big winner is Anhell69, a documentary by Theo Montoya, the story of a generation that has to deal with violence in the city of Medelin. The prize of €2,000 is offered by TenarisSilcotub.

The 1000 spectators applauded the three special guests of the Gala for minutes on end. American director Oliver Stone and Australian actor Geoffrey Rush received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Romanian actor Horațiu Mălăele was rewarded for his career in film and theatre with the Excellency Award.

All the awards I have received so far, and there have been many important ones, are overshadowed by the fact that I am here in Cluj-Napoca, in a theatre that reminds me of the beginning of my career. Everywhere I have been in Cluj and its surroundings, I have always been received with love and that can only make me feel honored”, said Geoffrey Rush in a speech he gave half in Romanian.

The public had the final verdict for two special awards. Carbon, directed by Ion Borș, was voted the most popular film in the official competition. Freedom, directed by Tudor Giurgiu, also received a special award: the Audience Award for the Most Popular Romanian Film - Vodafone Hearts' Award. It was voted by viewers online, on the platform, as the most emotion inducing film in the festival.

The full list of awards presented at the 22nd Transilvania International Film Festival is available on