Oslo, August 31st by Norway’s Joachim Trier won this year’s € 15,000 Transilvania Trophy at the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) which closed at the weekend in Romania’s Cluj.

The drama about a man completing his drug rehabilitation and now hoping for a new life also received the Best Screenplay Award for the script by Trier and Eskil Vogt. The film premiered last year in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and will be released in Romania by Independenta Film.

The Competition International Jury comprising Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz, Romanian actress Ana Ularu, Icelandic musician Kjarstan Sveinsson, UK producer Mike Downey and Screen International’s head critic Mark Adams, conferred the Best Directing Award on Serbian filmmaker Maja Milos for her controversial film Klip, Best Cinematography Award to Bárbara Alvarez for the lensing of the Chilean-Dutch co-production Thursday Till Sunday, and Best Performance Award for Kim Kold for his role in the Danish film Teddy Bear.

Meanwhile, Russian director Sergei Loban’s Chapiteau Show picked up both the Special Jury Award and the Audience Award, while the FIPRESCI Award went to Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur.

The closing ceremony in Cluj’s 19th century National Theatre also saw Excellency Awards presented to director/DoP Iosif Demian and art director Helmut Stürmer, while there were special emotional moments and standing ovations when Lifetime Achievement Awards were handed out to veteran Romanian actor Ion Caramitru, Hungarian actress Mari Töröcsik, and actress Geraldine Chaplin whose latest film And What If We All Lives Together? was shown at the festival and will be released in Romania by Independenta Film.

This year’s edition of TIFF, which is reported to have an 11% increase in sold tickets over 2011, also presented two new initiatives.

10 For Film introduced ten theatre actors to the general public and local and film industry professionals before the screening of Twilight Portrait and at the closing ceremony on Saturday evening.

Meanwhile, TIFF’s new educational initiative Transilvania Talent Lab (TTL) offered a five-day programme of lectures and master classes. “We received 72 applications from 24 towns throughout Romania and Moldova and finally selected 18 participants, two more than originally planned,” project manager Iulia Rugina told Screen.

The participants came from a variety of backgrounds including directing, screenwriting, marketing - and photography and received lectures from five international experts - UK writer-director Richard Kwietniowski, Prague-based sales and distribution expert Marta Lamperová, Austrian writer-director-producer Michael Seeber, Milano Film Festival’s Artistic Director Vincenzo Rossini and Russian filmmaker Angelina Nikonova -, while Romanian producer Ada Solomon of HiFilm came to the Lab to give practical tips to each participant about their film project.

In addition, the TTL participants joined the general public for the Master Classes organised by TIFF with such festival guests as producer Christine Vachon, film critic Michel Ciment, and filmmaker Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.

After the great success of TIFF’s 10th anniversary last year, there was only one small dark cloud infiltrating into an otherwise resplendent edition and this concerned the absence in Cluj of Cristian Mungiu’s Cannes competition film Beyond The Hills.

Artistic director Mihai Chirilov used his two pages of introduction in the festival catalogue to express his frustration and sadness at not being able to present Beyond The Hills in a gala screening in Cluj

After the Cannes lineup was announced in April, Chirilov extended an invitation which was turned down by Mungiu, which he said was “unfair” and “unjust.”

“Of course, people are free to do as they please and to relate however they see fit to their past lived experiences,” he continued.

“Nonetheless, it is disheartening that, in the increasingly adverse and fractured context in which Romanian cinema finds itself today from an institutional standpoint, the desire to do right by it is unrequited, and the normalcy everybody dreams of remains a distant utopia.”