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- 30.6.2014 9:31 -

London Celebrates New Documentary Winners!

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UK festival Open City Docs Fest has brought an extraordinary experience to the city above Thames in June. In the course of five days, various parts of the British capital have livened up, including the central station of University College London (UCL), an area occupied by students, with energetic festival life and all it can bring. Both new encounters and repeated ones would occur. Some streets would repeat themselves, too; that is when festival visitors got lost in London’s streets. However, most importantly, Open City Docs Fest has become a place of an unrepeatable film experience.

The main star of this year’s festival edition was provocative Israeli director Avi Mograbi. The visual experimenter, who has been exploring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his works on a long-term basis, has prepared a master class for the London audiences, using samples from his films to illustrate the problematic relationship between film and visual arts, on the edge of which he would often balance in his progressive video art forms. The audiences had several occasions to test their newly acquired knowledge and experience during the filmmaker’s great retrospective running through the festival programme.

An experimental touch was also found in several smaller thematic sections of this year’s programme. Fans of the cinema of the Near East had a field day. The original section Cinemadoosti (the Persian word for cinephilia) introduced Iranian documentary film, including Trucker and the Tax, the director of which, Arash Lahooti, has won the Emerging International Filmmaker Award.

Current social themes were introduced by a selection of films from the Just Society category. The selection also included the winner of this year’s competition; Hungarian documentary Judgment in Hungary by Eszter Hajdú. For two and a half years, the director has been following the course of the trial with members of a Hungarian Neo-Nazi group who have repeatedly brutally confronted the Roma community, with one of their attacks resulting in the deaths of six people, including a five-year-old boy. The raw visual form of the film lays bare the even more raw (and cruel) reality of contemporary Hungarian society. The winning documentary stacked up against strong international competition of renowned filmmakers and films, such as Master of the Universe by Marc Bauder, Shado’Man by Boris Gerrets, increasingly popular documentary with an anthropological approach Manakamana as well as Doc Alliance Selection nominee The Special Need.

The winner of Venice IFF Sacro GRA, introduced to Czech and Slovak audiences by means of a day-and-date release in cinemas, on TV and online by DAFilms.com in May, found its place in the viewers’ programmes as well. The screened films also included short documentaries, which have been enriched with a selection of the most interesting films coming from London’s My Street Films map for a third time already. The Czech version of the project has been introduced at our portal as well.

What else has linked this year’s Open City Docs Fest and DAFilms.com? The presence of one of our members in the jury! The five main jurors of the competition included acquisitions manager Diana Tabakov. What were the highlights of her film programme? How does the jury of experts work? Did she, too, vote for the festival’s winning film Judgment in Hungary? Read more in our exclusive interview next week!

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