Sheffield DocFest announces its awardees
by David Katz
- The Best Film Award was won by Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes for Sansón and Me, whilst the First Feature Prize went to a US-Dutch co-production, Rosa Ruth Boesten’s Master of Light
With a new interim director at the helm in the form of erstwhile BFI London head Clare Stewart, and a streamlined and revamped programme, Sheffield DocFest, one of the industry’s leading documentary festivals, was finally able to hold a fully “back to normal” edition this month, after two years of pandemic-related disruption. Taking place from 23-28 June – a shorter duration than in previous years – the festival hosted screenings, Alternate Realities exhibitions, and industry-focused marketplace activity and talks programmes. The winners were feted this past Tuesday, with the awards themselves a set of ornamental silver cutlery – a nod to Sheffield’s manufacturing heritage.
At earlier editions, the main competitions were split between international and UK-produced titles; now, just a single, International Competition exists comprising nine titles, the same number of which made up the First Feature Competition. The Best Film Award in the International Competition went to rising Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Reyes for Sansón and Me, the story of a friendship between two Mexican migrants who face trouble in the USA. The jury, composed of Scottish director and lecturer Emma Davie, celebrated Nigerian filmmaker Ike Nnaebue and Thai producer Raymond Phathanavirangoon, remarked, “The filmmaker chooses to explore a subject matter which is all too often invisible and neglected: the incarceration of immigrants in the USA. By collaborating with the young protagonist to find an innovative filmic language to evolve the socio-economic circumstances behind his desperation, the filmmaker allows us to empathise with a personal narrative beyond the law.” Special Mentions were also given to Volodymyr Tykhyy’s One Day in Ukraine [+see also:
film profile] and Nadim Mishlawi’s After the End of the World.
Best Film in the International First Feature Competition went to Dutch director Rosa Ruth Boesten, for Master of Light, her study of George Anthony Morton, an artist from Kansas City, Missouri, who went from serving a ten-year federal prison sentence to acclaim as a classical painter. The jury, consisting of Roman Bondarchuk, Nainita Desai and Natasha Gadd, “commended the film for its bold and fearless vision in creating an intimate portrait of George Anthony Morton, and his personal and artistic journey to reconcile his past through his art. The documentary, like George’s paintings, is a fully rendered canvas, shining light on the shadows cast by systemic racism and the resulting intergenerational trauma by drawing on technical craft and lived experience to reveal deep personal, political and artistic histories.”A Special Mention also went to Julie on Line by Mia Ma. Finally, the audience’s favourite turned out to be the UK production A Bunch of Amateurs [+see also:
film profile] by Kim Hopkins.
The full list of prizes, including those for the short films, is as follows:
Sansón and Me - Rodrigo Reyes (Mexico/USA)
One Day in Ukraine [+see also:
film profile] - Volodymyr Tykhyy (Ukraine/Poland)
After the End of the World - Nadim Mishlawi (Lebanon)
International First Feature Competition
Master of Light - Rosa Ruth Boesten (USA/Netherlands)
Julie on Line - Mia Ma (France)
Tim Hetherington Award
Lyra - Alison Millar (UK)
The Territory - Alex Pritz (Brazil/Denmark/USA)
Youth Jury Award
Alis [+see also:
film profile] - Nicolas van Hemelryck, Clare Weiskopf (Columbia/Romania/Chile)
Four Journeys [+see also:
film profile] - Louis Hothothot (Netherlands/China)
International Short Film Competition
Best Short Film
Fawley - Chu-Li Shewring, Adam Gutch (UK)
Calling Cabral - Welket Bungué (Guinea-Bissau/Portugal/Brazil)
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