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‘The Flats’ And ‘No Other Land’ Land Big Honors at CPH:DOX

The Flats, a film about The Troubles in Northern Ireland, won the top award at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen at a Friday night, earning a €10,000 prize.

The documentary directed by Alessadra Celisia takes place in “New Lodge in the center of Belfast, a neighborhood still haunted by the nearly 30-year conflict between Catholics and Protestants which officially ended in 1998.”

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In their citation, the jury called the film witty, multi-layered, profound and provocative. They wrote, “Our main award recognizes not only creative and conceptual daring, but a filmmaker with the humility to realize when the story outgrows its framework, and the confidence to follow where it, and its fantastically vivid characters lead. We live in a world of divisions, borders and locked gates. Coming like a conversation shouted through one of those locked gates, our winning film is a collective portrait of several proud, funny, resourceful individuals, who would be willing to die for their community but who choose each day the harder, braver and more hopeful option of living for it instead.”

'Two Strangers Trying Not to Kill Each Other'
‘Two Strangers Trying Not to Kill Each Other’

A dozen world premieres made up the documentary competition. The jury, made up of Jessica Kiang, Nataša Urban, Monica Hellström, Rémi Bohnhomme, and Carla Gutiérrez, awarded a Special Mention to Two Strangers Trying Not to Kill Each Other, directed by Jacob Perlmutter & Manon Ouimet. Deadline premiered the trailer for Two Strangers, a film about the romantic partnership of artists Maggie Barrett and Joel Meyerowitz. [Scroll for list of CPH:DOX winners].

'No Other Land'
‘No Other Land’

No Other Land, the documentary set in the West Bank which won the top prize for documentary at the Berlinale, took the Audience Award at CPH:DOX. Yuval Abraham, Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, and Rachel Szor directed the film. Abraham in particular has received harsh criticism in Israel after his acceptance speech in Berlin, in which he contrasted his rights as an Israeli with those of his Palestinian co-director, Adra. According to CPH:DOX, No Other Land provoked strong reactions among viewers, with some audience members calling it “heartbreaking”, “eye-opening”, “brave”, “shocking,” and “honest.”

The audience award comes with a €5,000 prize.

'Black Snow'
‘Black Snow’

In the F:ACT AWARD competition, the top prize went to Black Snow, directed by Alina Simone. In the film, described by CPH:DOX describes the film as a “journalistic thriller with deep personal consequences,” a Siberian mother and citizen journalist attempts to expose a huge environmental scandal, putting her at odds with the authoritarian government.

“In a world where a government is committing environmental crimes against its citizens in the most corrupt cynical way, where communities are brutality neglected, an extraordinary courageous woman fights for justice against giant forces, where her life is at stake,” wrote the jury, composed of Lena Karbe, Sigal Yehuda, and Maria Bäck. “She continues to imagine a society that puts people before profit, while being threatened by the totalitarian system. We were inspired by her strength and commitment for humanity. The director’s sensitivity for the protagonist’s safety and the intimate relationship they created greatly impressed us.”

'Black Box Diaries'
‘Black Box Diaries’

The festival’s HUMAN:RIGHTS Award (and a €5,000 prize) went to Black Box Diaries, directed by Shiori Ito. “An extraordinary woman takes control of her narrative in a film that offers unique insight into an individual fight for womens’ rights in a country, and a world, that stigmatizes and denies rights to the survivors of sexual assault,” the jury wrote. Jurors included Leah Sapin, Mette Hoffmann-Meyer, and Hanna Atallah.

Grand me, director Atiye Zare Arandi’s film about “a 9-year-old Iranian girl [who] plans to sue her parents after their bitter divorce,” won the NEXT:WAVE Award, chosen from among 14 contenders.

'Grand me'
‘Grand me’

“‘The film we chose to award skillfully materializes the in-between and uncertain space of an ongoing custody battle in which the nine year old Melina is caught between her parents and the consequent disillusioning confrontation with the real, as well as the chasm between the separate realities of Melina, her mother, and her grandparents,” noted the jury, made up of  Sofie Cato Maas, Wim Vanecker, and Christian Einshøj. “The film finds its merit in this intersection, drawing attention to questions of motherhood, transformation, and the notion of belonging, indirectly interrogating the unequal position and rights of women in contemporary Iranian society. The film is ultimately a testament to the resilience of Melina and her grandparents, but also to the inherent imperfection and shortcomings of what it is to be human.”

The NEXT:Wave Award also comes with a €5,000 prize.

The awards ceremony took place at the Social Cinema venue within the Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the festival’s hub.

This is the full list of awards winners:

DOX:AWARD

12 feature-length world premieres competed in the festival’s main international competition DOX:AWARD. The main prize goes to the dark and very cinematic The Flats by Alessandra Celesia (France / UK / Ireland / Belgium), together with a cash prize of €10,000 sponsored by DR.

On their motivation for choosing The Flats, the jury said:

“Our main award recognizes not only creative and conceptual daring, but a filmmaker with the humility to realize when the story outgrows its framework, and the confidence to follow where it, and its fantastically vivid characters lead. We live in a world of divisions, borders and locked gates. Coming like a conversation shouted through one of those locked gates, our winning film is a collective portrait of several proud, funny, resourceful individuals, who would be willing to die for their community but who choose each day the harder, braver and more hopeful option of living for it instead. The Dox:Award goes to Alessandra Celesia for the witty, multi-layered, profound and provocative The Flats.’’

A Special Mention goes to Two Strangers Trying Not to Kill Each Other by Jacob Perlmutter & Manon Ouimet (UK, DK & USA).

F:ACT AWARD

10 films exploring the intersection between documentary filmmaking and investigative journalism were in competition for the F:ACT Award. The award goes to Black Snow by Alina Simone (US). The award comes with a cash prize of €5,000 and is supported by International Media Support and the Danish Journalist Union.

On their motivation for choosing Black Snow, the jury said:

“In a world where a government is committing environmental crimes against its citizens in the most corrupt cynical way, where communities are brutality neglected, an extraordinary courageous woman fights for justice against giant forces, where her life is at stake. She continues to imagine a society that puts people before profit, while being threatened by the totalitarian system. We were inspired by her strength and commitment for humanity. The director’s sensitivity for the protagonist’s safety and the intimate relationship they created greatly impressed us. The F-ACT award goes to Black Snow by Alina Simone.’’

NORDIC:DOX AWARD

10 films from the Nordic countries from across the festival programme were in competition for the NORDIC:DOX Award, valued at €5,000 and provided by the festival. The award goes to The Son and the Moon by Roja Pakari (DK).

On their motivation for choosing The Son and the Moon, the jury said:

“With powerful cinematic language this film chronicles the fleeting nature of life while celebrating how fragments of memory make a lifetime. An emotional experience that transfers the filmmaker’s legacy onto the audience. And the jury is proud to present the Nordic:Dox Award to Roja Pakari’s The Son and the Moon.”

A Special Mention goes to G – 21 scenes from Gottsunda by Loran Batti (DK).

NEW:VISION AWARD

15 titles, both feature and short length, were in competition for the NEW:VISION Award delving into art films and boundary-pushing experiments. A €5,000 cash prize provided by the festival was handed out to Preemptive Listening by Aura Satz (UK / FI).

On their motivation for choosing Preemptive Listening, the jury said:

“Elevating us into sensory abstraction, this film also takes us down into the underbelly of disorder and chaos, as well as the destruction and violence unleashed by human desires for order and certainty. An elegy for a listening lost, an awakening call for the siren inside each one of us. Artistically sophisticated yet socio-politically grounded, the New:Vision Award goes to Preemptive Listening, by Aura Satz.”

A Special Mention goes to Lichens Are the Way by Ondřej Vavrečka (CZ / SK) and My Want of You Partakes of Me by Sasha Litvintseva & Beny Wagner (UK / NL).

NEXT:WAVE AWARD

14 titles competed for the NEXT:WAVE Award dedicated to emerging international artists and filmmakers. The NEXT:WAVE award comes with a cash prize of €5,000 provided by the festival. The award goes to Grand me by Atiye Zare Arandi (BE / IR).

On their motivation for choosing Grand me, the jury said:

“‘The film we chose to award skillfully materializes the in-between and uncertain space of an ongoing custody battle in which the nine-year-old Melina is caught between her parents and the consequent disillusioning confrontation with the real, as well as the chasm between the separate realities of Melina, her mother, and her grandparents. The film finds its merit in this intersection, drawing attention to questions of motherhood, transformation, and the notion of belonging, indirectly interrogating the unequal position and rights of women in contemporary Iranian society. The film is ultimately a testament to the resilience of Melina and her grandparents, but also to the inherent imperfection and shortcomings of what it is to be human. The winner is: Grand me.

A Special Mention goes to G – 21 scenes from Gottsunda by Loran Batti (SE / DK).

HUMAN:RIGHTS AWARD

10 films from across the festival program were in competition for this new award dedicated to courageous filmmakers in defense and support of human rights. Sponsored by the Institute for Human Rights and valued at €5,000, the award goes to Black Box Diaries by Shiori Ito (JP, US & UK).

On their motivation for choosing Black Box Diaries, the jury said:

“An extraordinary woman takes control of her narrative in a film that offers unique insight into an individual fight for womens’ rights in a country, and a world, that stigmatizes and denies rights to the survivors of sexual assault. We are honored to present the HUMAN:RIGHTS Award to Black Box Diaries directed by Shiori Ito.”

A Special Mention goes to Marching in the Dark by Kinshuk Surjan (BE / NL / IN).

AUDIENCE AWARD

The Audience Award, with a prize of €5,000 provided by the festival, empowers festival-goers to vote for their favorite film, further enriching CPH:DOX’s commitment to engaging its audience across a spectrum of documentary filmmaking excellence.

The award goes to No Other Land.

On their motivation for choosing No Other Land, festivalgoers said:

“The film’s ability to convey both hopelessness and hope, as well as its exploration of pressing social issues, has resonated strongly with viewers. “Heartbreaking”, “eye-opening”, “brave”, “shocking”, and “honest” were some of the words the audience used to describe this film. They felt “shaken,” “touched,” “upset,” and as if “a gut-punch of reality” had hit them. It left the audience in “silence”. The documentary gave “a sense of hopelessness, yet also a glimmer of hope, and showed an ongoing struggle for justice”. With “unbelievable tenacity, genuine passion, and incredible humanity, the film explores how powerful the documentary form can be when it becomes the only tool for speaking out and reaching audiences beyond borders”. The award goes to a film that is “beautiful and deeply tragic at the same time”, a film that tells “the most important story right now” and a film that “EVERYONE should watch”. A documentary with a “powerfully moving and heartbreaking story from the West Bank narrated by two friends of Palestinian and Israeli backgrounds”. The Audience:Award goes to No Other Land.”

INTER:ACTIVE AWARD

17 pieces from VR and mixed reality to AI chatbots were in competition for a brand new award for the best immersive work. The winner will receive a winning package including two complimentary industry accreditations for Sunny Side of the Doc, two full access accreditations for the Industry Days of New Images Festival, 6 hours of legal consultation on European IP law and a cash prize of 1000€. The award goes to Intangible by Carl Emil Carlsen (DK).

On their motivation for choosing Intangible, the jury said:

“This was not an easy decision for the jury. So many inspiring diverse works made using different mediums. There is one piece, though, that we believe fulfills all the provided criteria more than the rest. The criterias were Artistic Quality, Originality, Imagination, Intellectual quality and Stickiness.

The winner is…. an immersive experience that is a playful, physically convincing and instantly satisfying experience that challenges the expression of contemporary art and left the jury wanting to come back for more.

Overall, the fidelity of this piece is second to none. Normally you cannot touch a sculpture but here you are part of interacting with it and drawn into it. It has a natural adaption of the sound design created by Anna Fišere for the piece, and is a beginning of a new chapter of the future of art. Is it storytelling? Not in a traditional sense, but we like it’s non-narrative but reminding us that technology can be organic in its nature. Intuitive, simple, yet powerful.

The winner is: Intangible, by Carl Emil Carlsen.

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