Church of Sweden Youth Film Award 2022

"Olga" by Elie Grappe Wins at BUFF Malmö
Church of Sweden Youth Film Jury Malmö 2022

Parish priest in Malmö, Gunilla Hallonsten (left ), with the jury of the Church of Sweden: Oscar Westerholm, Linn Gottfridsson and Jesper Ödemark, jury chairman. Jury member Adam Hirtshals Illi is missing from the picture. (Photo: © Maria Lundström)

A jury appointed by the Church of Sweden has decided to award the Church of Sweden Youth Film Prize to "Olga" by Elie Grappe (Switzerland, France, 2021). The Prize is endowed with 100.00 Swedish Kroner, and was awarded at the International Children and Youth Film Festival in Malmö (March 19-25, 2022).

The film takes place in 2013 when Maidan Independence Square in Kyiv becomes the site of the growing popular protests that would lead to the resignation of the then Ukrainian government and president. 15-year-old elite gymnast Olga is sent away from the unrest to her dead father's native Switzerland, where she continues her preparations for the upcoming European Championships. But everyone she cares about remains in Ukraine, and as the championships approach, Olga is increasingly torn between different loyalties. The main character, Anastasia Budiashkina, is a former national team gymnast for Ukraine.

Members of the jury were Jesper Ödemark, jury chairman and parish educator who works with confirmands, young people and adults in Värby parish outside Malmö, Adam Hirshals Illi, priest in Bunkeflo Strandkyrka, Linn Gottfridsson, children's book author and screenwriter, and Oscar Westerholm, film critic in Sydsvenskan, Helsingborgs Dagblad and FLM.

The jury tookt their choice among a selection of eight films. Their motivation for "Olga" reads: "This year's winning film is a metaphorical table tennis match between elite gymnastics and world politics. The conscience and the heart are at home in Kyiv, but the security and the European Championship ticket are in Switzerland. Suggestive and sharp imagery. A story about how personal success can be meaningful, while being there for others is always meaningful. Painfully timely, but even without the events of the past month, this amazing film would be relevant and engaging."