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Emmy-Winning U.S./Israeli Rachel Leah Jones, Ukraine’s Kateryna Gornostai Grab CPH:Industry Prizes

After six-days of intense pitching and networking from 2,023 accredited docu industry guests, Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX industry showcase wrapped Thursday with an awards ceremony, where two urgent projects tackling the current war in Ukraine and the complex Israeli and Palestinian conflict were handed out prizes.

The Ukrainian documentary “Timestamp” by Kateryna Gornostai scooped the biggest cash prize of €30,000 associated to the new Eurimages Outreach Award. The project, to be delivered later this year, chronicles the wartime school years 2023-24, through the everyday lives of kids and their teachers during martial law. Ukraine’s 2Brave Productions is producing, together with Dutch outfit Rinkel Film & Docs.

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Praising the film’s “highly cinematic film that avoids traditional narrative structures, the jury said in its motivation statement: “This war movie takes place far from the frontline where soldiers, mostly men, fight for their country. It is the story of teachers, mostly women, who fight to preserve a sense of normalcy for the children going to school in bombed out buildings, underground metro stations, or on Zoom from laptops in their teacher’s backyard.“

“This film provides a nuanced image of life in a war-torn country, and we hope that this award will help it find broad international audiences,” added the jurors.

Meanwhile Emmy-winning docu filmmaker Rachel Leah Jones and producer Philippe Bellaiche (“Advocate”) were handed the Unifrance and Titra Film award for their upcoming project “Podium (You Have Three Minutes),” which showcases the reality of Palestinian lawmakers at the Knesset in Israel. The Israeli/Canadian/French/Swiss co-production between Home Made Docs, with Close-Up Films, Filmoption International and Temps Noir, is due to be delivered in August 2025.

On the prize handed out for a second time at CPH:DOX to a French co-production pitched at the Forum, the jurors said: “We have chosen a film that’s a timely exploration of the power dynamics at stake in a democratic context, offering an unexpected and insightful perspective. Its ability to connect with current issues demonstrates its relevance and importance and puts it in a larger historic perspective, creating a dialogue between the past and present.”

Paying tribute to world documentarists’ ability to uncover rare human stories, the new Rise & Rise Award was handed out to the Tanzanian/U.K. project “Children of Honey,” a rare look at the Hadza community in Tanzania, seen through the story of three young friends from the indigenous hunter-gatherers ethnic group. Helmed by Indian/Tanzanian Jigar Ganatra (“Among the Lillies”) in collaboration with the Hadza tribe, the pic is being produced by Natalie Humphreys, credited for BBC Horizon’s “How to Sleep Well.”

Meanwhile four CPH:LAB projects in development also scored with CPH:DOX jurors.

The Danish XR multi-use interactive installation “Garden Alchemy,” co-helmed by Uri Kranot and Michelle Kramot, scooped the new €20,000 Eurimages Lab Innovation Award. In their motivation note, the jurors said they were sensitive to “the audiovisual experience combining beautiful hand drawn visuals with innovative.”

The Portuguese/Brazilian VR experience “Follow the Carnation,” by Catarina de Sousa & Lui Avallos, Pedro Neves Marques and Rodrigo Moreira, won the Sunny Side of the Doc Award and a ticket to the 35th French festival.

The U.S./Romanian installation “The Bald Altuus” by artists Kat Mustatea and Peter Burr scooped the Newimages-Forum des Images Award, while the U.K./Polish collaborative immersive installation “Hermaphrogenesis” by artist Marcin Gawin picked up the Onassis ONX Studio Award.

Commented on this year’s CPH:Industry, newly appointed head of industry Mara Gourd-Mercado told Variety: “I’m very pleased with the event. Feedback has been very positive and we’ve had really good comments on the Forum selection, but also the CPH:LAB prototypes.”

She said the 2,023 accredited industry delegates, 145 attendees from 16 international delegations, 1,023 1:1 meetings and 477 delegation round table meetings were on par with the 2023 edition, which was CPH:DOX’s most successful one.

Among the heavyweight players, Eurimages’ project manager Sergio Garcia de Leaniz said: “The Forum is a perfect venue to discover a broad variety of documentaries in the making that will make us think, discuss and reflect on a diversity of topics, themes and challenges in our society.”

Bente Roalsvig, deputy director of Oslo-based Fritt Ord Foundation, which had backed eight Nordic titles selected at CPH:DOX, including the Sundance Norwegian winners “Ibelin” and “A New Kind of Wilderness,” added: “This year’s Forum edition was a very special one. All the projects felt so unique and super relevant in the turbulent times we are living in. I was struck by the filmmakers subtle and thoughtful way of dealing with speech and action in the different documentary projects. In these dark times, it was inspiring to experience so many moving, urgent and playful project. The projects in the ‘Forum’s Change’ section [for Eastern European docs] were also strong,” she noted.

The CPH:DOX festival closes March 24.

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