The main festival award went to Ilya Povolotskiy in international competition and Radu Ciorniciuc in regional competition, and in the same category a special mention went to the Croatian director Đuro Gavran and his film 'One of Us'.
On Saturday, 10 October at 8pm, an online award ceremony ended this year’s special edition of the International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox. During the seven festival days the audience at the SC Cinema and &TD Theatre of the Student Centre in Zagreb had a chance to see around fifty documentaries and meet the filmmakers, at a safe distance and adhering as much as possible to the epidemiological guidelines. In a special live show hosted on the R+ platform by Robert Zuber, the festival award winners were announced.
In international competition the jury consisted of the award-winning Croatian documentary filmmaker Goran Dević, the Slovenian director, producer, teacher, artistic director and Makedox programmer Petra Seliškar, and the Czech director and photographer Anna Kryvenko. The main festival award, the Big Stamp, went to the film Froth by Ilya Povolotskiy. “In a selection of 17 films, the jury was attracted by the minimalist portrayal of an isolated community in the direct film tradition. The director managed to discover the place and its history in today’s scenes of Murmansk,” said the jury. The special mention in this category went to the film Exemplary Behaviour by Audrius Mickevičius and Nerijus Milerius, with the following statement: “For an exceptional and dramatic personal approach to saying goodbye, collective revenge and systematic punishment turning a real life story into cinematic meditation. This film helps us understand the logic of the prison system, as well as people going through it, their lives, families and stories. The director himself faces issues with the system and has to find a way to come to terms with it.”
The Croatian journalist and editor Dean Šoša, the Italian set designer and director Valentina Primavera and the film producer and artistic director of Trieste Film Festival Nicoletta Romeo are the members of this year’s regional jury, which gave the Big Stamp to the film Acasa, My Home by Radu Ciorniciuc. “A sober portrayal of the troubles of the oppressed class without any embellishment, rhetoric or moral judgment, following the taxing and intimate journey of a big Romanian family from the wilderness of the Danube delta to the big city, from an idyllic natural landscape to the civilisation and possibility for a better future, at least for younger generations,” said the jury. A special mention went to the Croatian film One of Us by Đuro Gavran. “A narrative documentary demonstrating empathetic closeness with the protagonists, a group of friends whose 15th prom anniversary unmasks a brutal discovery, a coming-of-age story about monsters from the past and a new, wiser outlook on life,” said the jury statement.
ZagrebDox also awards the Small Stamp, an award to the filmmaker up to 35 years of age. This year the Young Jury consisted of the Dutch director and producer John Appel, the Belgrade-based editor, director and screenwriter Jelena Maksimović, and the Mediterranean Film Festival Split director and Cinema Network president Alen Munitić. The Small Stamp this year went to Radu Ciorniciuc, the director of Acasa, My Home, “for a powerful directorial debut opening up important questions about the modern world and speaking about a family who have to give up their home in the wilderness and integrate with the society in a unique, plausible and emotional way,” said the jury. A special mention in this category went to Ilya Povolotskiy, the director of Froth, “for an exceptional cinematic language bringing us close to people and their daily struggle on the shores of the Barents Sea.”
In addition to the official festival awards, the Big and Small Stamp, ZagrebDox also presents several special awards. The Movies That Matter Award for a film which best promotes human rights, was given by the Hungarian director Dorottya Zurbó, the Rijeka-based activist and women’s rights and reproductive justice programme coordinator with the PaRiter association Marinella Matejčić, and the activist with many decades of experience in civil society organisations Mladen Majetić. The award went to the film Advocate by Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche. “The film sowing the faces and voices of justice in a militarised Israeli society oppressing the discriminated Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank deserves the Movies That Matter Award not only for its masterful insight into the protagonist’s internal struggle and the risks she is taking together with her family because of her devotion to justice, but also for focusing in the decade-long persistence on the small but important sprout of humanity and empathy to the Palestinians in the militant Israeli society,” said the jury. Two special mentions were also presented in this category: to the film The Euphoria of Being by Réka Szabó, and to Sunless Shadows by Mehrdad Oskouei.
The My Generation Award, presented by the founder and director of ZagrebDox Nenad Puhovski to a filmmaker of his generation, went to the American Oscar winner Alex Gibney, whose latest film Citizen K was screened in The Best of the Rest section. “This year’s winner of the My Generation Award is an Oscar winner and a winner of several Emmy awards. Alex Gibney won this for his film Citizen K, but also for his entire, truly remarkable, documentary film opus. Citizen K, his latest film, made in 2019, focuses on the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the richest Russian oligarchs, Vladimir Putin’s political opponent, imprisoned for many years and a dissident. However, much more than his biography, this is a film about the complex processes which marked the post-Soviet Russin and the new global geopolitical relations. Hailing from the media, Gibney in his films, many of which were screened at ZagrebDox, uncompromisingly speaks about the issues interesting to many, focusing on social phenomena and personal fates that marked the time we live in,” said Nenad Puhovski’s statement.
The award of the International Film Critics’ Federation FIPRESCI, decided by the Macedonian film critic, writer and Kinenova festival programme director Igor Angjelkov, the Croatian film critic Marijana Jakovljević and the Latvian film critic Zane Balčus, went to the film Acasa, My Home by Radu Ciorniciuc. “For a film tackling many contemporary social issues: what kind of lifestyle to choose, what place to call home, how to adapt to new circumstances. Exploring these issues, the filmmakers open up space for the audience to think and form their own opinion. From a long observational process we are presented with a powerful story immersing us into the lives of the protagonists and giving us access to the key moments, highlighting emotional connection,” said the jury.
The special edition of the International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox began on 4 October and the programme included around fifty recent documentary titles. In addition to the competition, divided into international and regional, The Best of the Rest programme screened around 20 select titles from this year’s official sections, and two retrospectives: an online retrospective of the award-winning British director Lucy Walker and an Author’s Night dedicated to the acclaimed Croatian documentary director Goran Dević.
The award-winning films of this year’s ZagrebDox will also be screened on Sunday, 11 October at the SC Cinema in The Best of Fest. The ticket price for all the six screenings is 70 kuna and 20 kuna for individual screenings. The winner of the HT Audience Award will be announced on Sunday morning.
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