DOK.FEST 2006 - The Winners
The Documentary Film Award from Bayerischer Rundfunk and Telepool (10.000 EUR) goes to the film
CASTELLS, directed by Gereon Wetzel, Germany
Director Gereon Wetzel (3rd from left hand) is happy accepting the award. The director of the festival and the international jury are content as well (from left to right): Keith Shiri, Hubert von Spreti, Kristina Schulgin, Hermann Barth and Zsuzsa Zádori.
The jury's statement:
“Castells” is a rare and compelling film about the ritual of building human towers in a small town in Catalonia. It is a universal story about a community with a strong base, which holds the future at the top. The filmmakers create a beautifully constructed imagery of a community in the process of achieving a common goal. Through the film’s narrative style we become part of this process, we experience ambivalence, sometimes sharing the same emotions at other times feeling apart because of personal fears. The story turns out to be a good match for the cinema, made in the most professional way with an exciting plot, excellent cinematography, editing and sound. The jury unanimously agreed to award this film as an outstanding, positive example of creative documentary filmmaking.
The prize for THE SPECIAL DOCUMENTARY (2,500 EUR) from Bayerische Landeszentrale für Neue Medien (BLM) goes to
SISTERS IN LAW, directed by Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi, Great Britain
In “Sisters in Law” we meet two brave women who try to encourage people by providing justice through law against traditional common behaviour and customs as well as widespread practices of violence against the powerless in Cameroon. Victims are often women and children, who find support for their rights in the activity of these two courageous lawyers. They struggle together, trying to resist abuse and violence and giving hope for this critical task.The filmmakers are particularly skilled in bringing us into the centre of things, in courtrooms as well as in the streets and in prison cells. This empowering film sets a positive example for the abused, standing up for their rights.
The Horizons Festival Prize (worth 3,000 Euros) is awarded to the film
ANGOLA – SAUDADES DE QUEM TE AMA by Richard Pakleppa, Namibia
The film sheds light on a country in which, after 27 years of war and three years of official peace, there is an overwhelming discrepancy between poor and rich. The film displays a sensitive and respectful approach towards a traumatised society, which is torn between sorrow, hope, unrealised dreams and dreams that have been realised but can’t withstand reality. Through a complex exploration of present-day lives in Angola, the film, on the one hand, reveals intolerable contradictions and perversions. Despite the country’s richness in oil and diamonds, one third of children die before they reach the age of five. On the other hand, the film is a declaration of love to the country and shows, emerging from the dirt, poison, crippled bodies, drug addictions and blatant social injustices, a small glimmer of hope for a better future for the people that the audience encounters. With his view of Angola, which is not merely documentary but also lyrical, the Namibian director Richard Pakleppa, together with Angolan musician Paulo Flores, brings together images, music and fictional letters “from the one who loves you” to create a complete piece of art which continues to affect you long after you leave the cinema. Pakleppa takes the audience’s senses on a journey through haunting images, through the parallel worlds of this tattered country, exposing the ambivalence of Angola, a country oscillating between hopelessness and the willingness to start a new life. “Angola – Saudades de quem te ama“ brings us closer to a country which is usually very much ignored by the western world, a country where people take their lives in their own hands with dignity, pride and strength despite there being every reason to give up. Richard Pakleppa’s depiction of African self-awareness thus adds a significant new face to the prevailing image of Africa and holds the interest of the audience until the very last minute.
The Jury for the "Horizons Prize" awards an honorary mention to the film
ARCANA by Cristóbal Vicente, Chile
The award for an excellent work - film director Cristóbal Vicente (2nd from right hand), Hermann Barth and the members of HORIZONS jury (from left to right): Dr. Stefan Eisenhofer, Annette Rupp, Dr. Stefan Schmaus.
The jury's statement:
In his film “Arcana”, Cristóbal Vicente shows in amazingly powerful black and white images the daily life of prisoners in the now closed prison of Valparaiso in Chile. The quintessence of this film lies in that which we don’t see and about which the prisoners cannot speak: torture, humiliations and degradations. The long and largely steady shots visualise the unbearably monotonous routine of the inmates. In the few sequences with a moving camera, we walk with the camera past cell doors from which cries for help can be heard. Towards the end, the camera, filming now in colour, slowly tears itself away from this place, which has become extremely oppressive for the audience, and thus ends 150 years of horror. The black-and-white images leave behind many more questions than answers and they remain, maybe for that very reason, in the viewer’s consciousness for a long time.
The FilmFernsehFonds Bayern Documentary Talent Award (5,000 EUR) goes to the film
YAZIDS BRÜDER (Yazid’s Brothers) by David Vogel
Gabriele Pfennigsdorf (FFF Bavaria, 3rd from right hand), framed by D.O.P. Maximilian Plettau and Production Manager Thomas Klimmer, presents the Documentary Talent Award. The decision was made by the jury New Films from Bavaria (from left to right): Friedrich Steinhardt, Josef Mayerhofer and Susan Gluth.
The jury's statement:
“Yazid’s Brothers” is a film, which, through establishing a particular closeness with its protagonists, describes a life caught between success and defeat on the outskirts of Marseille. With an unobtrusive manner, the film follows in the footsteps of its characters and invites us to share in the monotonous daily routines of people whose lives are determined by football and hope – hope for success through diligence and hard work, faithful to the great example of one who has made it: Zinedine Zidane. Their strong belief in the achievement of their goals is stronger than their fear of failure. But still these heroes will realise in the end that you also need luck on the way to the top.
This year’s AVID Prize is awarded to
PORNOTALK, directed by Martin H. Schmitt
Festival director Hermann Barth (from left to right), the jury New Films from Bavaria and an overwhelmed film director: Martin H. Schmitt receives a high class digital editing toolkit, donated by AVID Technology GmbH.
The jury's statement:
In fact we would much rather look away. This reaction seems only natural given the protagonist’s blunt manner. But the film confronts its main character with just the same directness, without embellishing anything.
Abrasive images and brightly coloured credits do indeed challenge our sense of film aesthetics, but they also emphasise an essential feature of the character being portrayed. The film achieves great intimacy and leaves space for the sensitive moments, which continue to touch us for days after we leave the cinema.