15 Aug, 2020
The winners of the 19th edition of DokuFest were announced Saturday evening, in an award ceremony taking place online. 90 films, representing 51 countries ran for awards in 8 competing categories which have been judged online by the appointed juries.
The online ceremony began with the windy footage that set off from ‘ON AIR’ castle installation and was followed by the jury deliberation and winners statements.
Full list of DokuFest 2020 winners:
WINNING FILM: Once Upon A Youth
The Balkan Film Jury is proud to have participated for DokuFest’s 2020 finalists review. Subjective opinions are often difficult to coalesce into a singular agreed upon opinion. With that being said, the jury believes that every film that has participated in the competition is a winner in this esteemed festival. However, there is one film stands out as an independent voice for this year’s award, an independent voice that gives inspiration for the common man or woman to create an engaging work with little more than archival images and video, with a passion for sharing a story of a friend who impacted all those around him. This year’s winner is, from Croatia, Ivan Ramljak’s Once Upon A Youth.
Outside The Oranges Are Blooming
The Jury also would like to acknowledge the power of observational imagery as related to the story. With an austere eye blossoming onto the screen is an honest look at a village in Portugal. Our Special Jury Award is, from Serbia, Nevena Desivojević’s Outside The Oranges Are Blooming.
We would like to thank DokuFest for including us in this world-renowned event, congratulations to the festival, the virtual audience and the filmmakers.
INTERNATIONAL DOC — FEATURE
WINNING FILM: The Metamorphosis of Birds
For its elegant reconstruction of a timeless and universal story and for its sensibility towards the creative possibilities offered by non fiction cinema, the jury decided to award an impressive first feature film, confirming the vitality of contemporary Portuguese cinema. The award in the international Documentary competition goes to Metamorfose dos Pássaros by Catarina Vasconcelos.
INTERNATIONAL DOC — SHORTS
WINNING FILM: Tender
The main award for the best short documentary goes to a curious tale of kids spending summer in a world from which grownups are excluded. What seems to be a simple approach, observing dynamic characters, gradually grows into a radical storytelling tool; offering insight into a playfully intimate universe of children carrying lives larger than themselves. We award this film for daring to be undisturbed by all the unanswered questions and sticking with what matters - kids telling a story on their own terms.
We give a special mention to a film that reconstructs the choreographed chaos and contrariness of a cross-border smuggling arrangement. The film meticulously maps a topography of economic pragmatism and complicity; we applaud the skill of this unique hybrid work.
HUMAN RIGHTS DOCS
WINNING FILM: The Earth is blue as an Orange
Best Human Rights Film goes to THE EARTH IS BLUE AS AN ORANGE for its craftful interplay between content and form. A subtle, intimate portrait of a matriarchal family during wartime and the will that endures in the vacuum it creates. The film, at once observational and reflexive, offers more than a glimpse at persistence; it gives us a taste of resistance (creativity, mutual support, self-expression).
SPECIAL MENTION 1
Special mention for RADIO SILENCE for addressing a topic of special importance — freedom of expression and freedom of the press — specifically in Mexico, but not only. We commend the filmmakers for their commitment to follow their protagonist — an incorruptible journalist and a brave woman who refuses to be intimidated or silenced — over the course of several years.
SPECIAL MENTION 2
Strike or Die
Special mention for STRIKE OR DIE for daring a risk-taking cinematic language that poses questions rather than providing answers. Approaching its fog-like subject matter from different angles, it forms a filmic syntax expressing a smouldering feeling, a mood, a condition of the hurt soul.
WINNING FILM: Smog Town
We would like to award the Green Dox Prize to Smog Town, by Meng Han. Taking a difficult topic at hand, the bureaucracy of environmental protection in China; Han manages to create a complex and multiperspective portrait of the various actors and stakes involved: state employees, small and large business and its impacts on individuals and family relations. Her film shows the shortsightedness of the government and its structures, failing to protect the most vulnerable, even while attempting positive change. Han presents individual and systemic dilemmas without ever undermining the intelligence of the viewers. In a time of reckoning with the ecological imbalance of the world and the failures and limitations of governmental leadership, Smog Town offers a thoughtful view onto one city’s institutional negotiations and power relations.
małni - towards the ocean, towards the shore
The Green Dox jury decided to award a Special Mention to małni - towards the ocean, towards the shore, directed by Sky Hopkina.
WINNING FILM: Sun Dog
In between many outstanding films, our attention captured the visionary approach of the story of a young locksmith in the frozen city where the unbearable everlasting deep winter night, is depicted through the character’s fantasy in a very unique perspective. The best film prize for the International Short Film Competition goes to ‘Sun Dog’ by Dorian Jespers.
The Last Image of Father
A special mention goes to a film that manages to find an original entrance in heavy themes like misery, poverty and disease. In a Brechtian way, through poetic imagery, the director depicts a Kafkaesque journey of a father and his son to an unpleasant destination. For that, we are giving a special mention to ‘The last Image of father’ by Stevan Djordjevic.
WINNING FILM: She Asked Me Where I Was From
A documentary essay on questions of identity and belonging takes us on a virtual journey and to a home that feels like a foreign planet, managing (very appropriately in view of the pandemic: from the laptop) to capture the ambivalence of personal perception and external attribution in partly surprising, partly poetic images. The best film in the national competition is ‘She Asked Me Where I Was From’ by Aulona Fetahaj.
WINING FILM: Collective
The winning film is a gripping and explosive journey into the heart and soul of investigative journalism. Systemic corruption is a worldwide phenomena impacting us all on many levels and in this film, which begins as an exploration into one tragedy, the filmmaker reveals something much darker and deeper than we could have anticipated, and he tells this story with a powerful spareness that builds tension with each revelation. We must celebrate the conviction for truth in the face of seemingly impossible odds and we must never give up looking, searching, questioning, and fighting. The jury’s choice for the TRUTH competition is COLLECTIVE, directed by Alexander Nanau.
The Exit of the trains
This is a film built from stories told numerous times. But this time instead of using a vast amount of graphic images and interviews to tell the story, the filmmakers experiment with a challenging approach and their artistic decisions enhance the testimonies we hear and put truth at centre stage. This film is a monument for those who lost their lives to unprecedented brutality so we may never forget. It is an attempt to say the victims’ names and describe what they had been through so that their faces and experiences could re-surface and remind us that they were fathers, sons, friends—humans made of flesh and blood. The special mention for the TRUTH competition goes to THE EXIT OF THE TRAINS, directed by Radu Jude & Adrian Cioflâncă.
The festival will continue on our online platform for 10 more days with other special film programs, online discussions and panels as well as live music performances until August 25.