Discovering new film talents has become an inherent part of the brand of the European Doc Alliance Selection Award awarded by the independent Doc Alliance platform uniting seven key European documentary festivals since 2008. The list of nominees, names of the members of the jury as well as the new location of the award ceremony – Locarno IFF – were revealed in the last week of April.
Discovering new film talents has become an inherent part of the brand of the European Doc Alliance Selection Award awarded by the independent Doc Alliance platform uniting seven key European documentary festivals since 2008. The festivals have chosen seven remarkable films and filmmakers, one of whom will become the eighth holder of the award this year. The list of nominees, names of the members of the jury as well as the new location of the award ceremony – Locarno IFF – were revealed in the last week of April.
Award Supporting Debuting Filmmakers
The financial contribution of 5000 euro and the Doc Alliance Selection Award 2015; such is the reward waiting for the future eighth winner of the documentary award of the Doc Alliance festival platform. Awarded since 2008 by seven documentary festivals CPH:DOX, Docs Against Gravity FF, Doclisboa, DOK Leipzig, FID Marseille, Jihlava IDFF and Visions du Réel, the award represents a key project of the Alliance (along with the documentary portal DAFilms.com) whose goals include collaboration between film festivals, support of quality documentary projects as well as looking for new solutions of their public presentation. “Our main goal is primarily to promote quality documentary films rather than the brands of the individual festivals. Joining forces for the purpose of supporting new filmmakers and projects; that is where we see the sense of our common activities,” says project manager Nina Numankadić about the long-term activities of the Doc Alliance platform.
Each of the participating festivals has nominated one film that they consider worthy of notice. The selection of seven competition films focuses primarily on film debuts by emerging filmmakers whose work should definitely not be overlooked. At the same time, the festivals also nominate a local film critic who will take part in the final decision-making process. “The very fact that they have been nominated represents a great benefit to the filmmakers. All of the Doc Alliance festivals have agreed to screen three of the films nominated in the given year and to make the rest of the films accessible in their video library,” says Nina Numankadić about the organization of the award.
The nominations of 2015 introduce original films that are appealing primarily for their powerful internal stories. The following films compete for the Doc Alliance Selection Award 2015:
• Homeland (Iraq Year Zero); Abbas Fahdel (IQ, 2015, 334´) nominated by Visions du Réel
• Walking Under Water; Eliza Kubarska (UK/PL/DE, 2014, 90´) nominated by Docs Against Gravity FF
• Stranded in Canton; Måns Månsson (SE/DK/CN, 2014, 72´) nominated by CPH:DOX
• Illusion; Sofia Marques (PT, 2014, 115´) nominated by Doclisboa
• I Am the People; Anna Roussillon (FR, 2014, 110´) nominated by Jihlava IDFF
• Haunted; Liwaa Yazji (DE/SY, 2014, 113´) nominated by FID Marseille
• All Things Ablaze; Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov, Dmitry Stoykov (UA, 2014, 90´) nominated by DOK Leipzig
The impact of war on the everyday lives of ordinary people is the theme of four of the nominated films. Homeland (Iraq Year Zero) by Abbas Fahdel, currently screened in international competition of Visions du Réel, is divided into two parts to look into the lives of the citizens of Iraq before and after the invasion of the American army. No less tragic life stories shaken by the Syrian conflict are presented in the debut by Liwaa Yazji Haunted, winner of Special Mention of FID Marseille’s First Film Prize. An interview with the director is available at the DAFilms.com portal which offers the documentary until May 3, 2015 for free streaming.
Anna Roussillon’s I Am the People deals with the theme of the Egyptian political unrest of 2011 through the perspective of rural inhabitants cut off from the centre of the revolutionary events. Focusing on the common denominators of all revolutionary movements, All Things Ablaze by Oleksandr Techynskyi, Aleksey Solodunov and Dmitry Stoykov captures the Ukrainian unrest which took place in the winter of 2013–2014; the film has received the MDR Film Prize for the best East European film at DOK Leipzig.
Another film to win a film festival award is the Polish documentary Walking Under Water directed by Eliza Kubarska. The swan song of Borneo’s Badjao tribe received the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs. The minimalist film Stranded in Canton by artist and filmmaker Måns Månsson is appealing primarily for its original conceptual approach balancing between fiction and reality. An unusual viewing experience, with fiction becoming reality this time, is offered by the observational film Illusion by Portuguese director Sofia Marques following the process of staging texts by Federico García Lorca.
Film Jury of European Critics
Besides nominating one competition film, the Doc Alliance festivals also nominate a local film critic to sit on the jury of experts. The jury subsequently represents the perspective of contemporary European film criticism. The jury of the 8th edition of Doc Alliance Selection Award will include: Swiss critic from Neue Zürcher Zeitung Christian Jungen, independent Polish journalist Piotr Czerkawski, Danish film critic Dorthe Hygum Sørensen, Portuguese representative of Publico daily Jorge Mourinha, German culture journalist Annette Walter, holder of the French Prix Philippe Arnaud Philippe Azoury and Czech film journalist Tomáš Stejskal.
DAS Award in Locarno for the First Time
A significant change related to this year’s edition consists in moving the award ceremony to Locarno IFF. There, the name of the new award winner will be announced on August 8, 2015 in the presence of Doc Alliance festival directors, the jury and the public. The award winner will receive the financial contribution of 5000 euro which is meant primarily as a support for future film work. An interview with the latest award holder, Portuguese director André Valentim Almeida, director of The Quest of the Schooner Creoula, is available online at DAFilms.com.
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