The International Competition jury awarded prizes for Best Film and Best Director. They chose from twelve films representing new ways of depicting human rights in documentary film.
The prize for the best documentary film was awarded to Heart of Stonedirectors Claire Billet and Olivier Jobard (France | 2019 | 89 min.). This film about the search for self-identity follows the story of Afghan refugee Ghorban, who was granted asylum in France after eight years, but certainly under less-than-ideal conditions. “The flow, pacing and structure of the film builds layers of understanding over time in a way that leaves the audience engrossed from start to finish. The filmmakers had high ambitions and accomplished these in this profound portrait of a journey from boyhood to manhood under heart-aching circumstances,” stated the jury. The protagonist Ghorban appeared personally at the awards ceremony to receive the award.
The award for best director was given to Mads Brügger, the creator of the documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Belgium | 2019 | 128 min.). The jury characterized the film as “a convoluted, complicated film that reveals the size of the director’s ambitions and the unconventional, self-deprecating humor with which he deals with the impacts of a crime that haunts us to this day.”
The Special Jury Award goes to Carl Javér, whose dramatic experiment Reconstructing Utøya (Sweden, Norway, Denmark | 2018 | 98 min.) attempts to convey the experience of the attack on the Norwegian summer camp in 2011.
“This film vastly transcends its premise and using the example of those who survived the worst terrorist attack in the history of Norway, which claimed 77 young lives, it shows with brutal honesty how people cope with the unimaginable horrors...It is a shocking and surprising insight into memory, grief and how these young survivors make sense of the incomprehensible,” reads the jury statement.
Václav Havel Jury
The Václav Havel jury chooses from the documentaries presented in the Right to Know category and awards the film that makes an exceptional contribution to protecting human rights.
The best documentary in this category is Everything Must Fall by South African director Rehad Desai (South Africa, Netherlands, Belgium | 2018 | 85 min.). The film recounts the student movement that fought against the high fees at the University of Johannesburg and escalated into nationwide protests against social inequality.
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to the documentary To The Four Winds by director Micheal Toesca (France | 2018 | 85 min.). The jury was intrigued by the story of French farmer Cédric, who let hundreds of refugees traveling from Africa to Europe stay with him in his modest dwelling in the Roya Valley near the Italian-French border. The film is an inspiring example of how an individual who is not afraid to offer their assistance can make change.
Czech Competition Jury
This was the third time that the best Czech documentary was selected. The jury chose from twelve films, eight of which premiered at the festival.
This year’s Best Film in the Czech Competition was awarded to the Czech documentary The Good Death directed by Tomáš Krupa (Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria, France | 2018 | 83 min.). The film tells the story of terminally ill Janett, who has opted for assisted suicide in Switzerland. The jury appreciated the “unobtrusive camera work and absence of judgement, as well as the filmmaker’s ability to craft a clear-eyed portrait of one’s right to die with dignity.”
The Special Jury Prize was awarded to director Eva Tomanová and her documentary Another Chance (Czech Republic | 2019 | 75 min.) - “a film that shapes years of footage into a tightly woven, shocking, and surprisingly endearing portrait of a couple burdened by societal stigmas and their demons.” The psychological film tells the story of marriage fraudster Mirek and his last victim Monika, who awaits his release from prison.
The Student Jury chooses the best film from the collection of films for students. It’s made up of high school students chosen from among the organizers of the One World in Schools Student Film Club. The Student Jury Award went to the film #FollowMe (Netherlands | 2018 | 50 min.), which reveals the inner workings of Instagram - one of the most popular social networks today. “This film was chosen because it relates directly to almost all of us young people. Thanks to it we were able to peek under the hood at things we suspect that happen, but often do not even want to admit,” explained the jury.
New this year is the Regional Jury, which is made up of three representatives of regional festivals. A judge may not be part of a festival organizing team, but rather someone who is associated with the festival. The main prize for the winning film is inclusion in the selection of documentaries available at Get Your Audience!
The Regional Jury Prize was awarded to the film Reconstructing Utøya by Swedish director Carl Javér (Sweden, Norway, Denmark | 2018 | 98 min.). This theatrical experiment in which the director worked with survivors of the tragedy, using young actors to reconstruct their experience, was chosen by the jury because of “the universality of the setting and the viewer’s own imagination, enabling the event to be experienced firsthand. This expositional method generalizes the event for any place in the world with a warning that this could happen anywhere.”
The biggest hit with One World audiences was FAR. The Story of a Journey Around the World by directorial duo Gwendolin Weisser and Patrick Allagaier (Germany | 2017 | 127 min.). The autobiographical film shows an unusual way to travel, one that is becoming increasingly popular. Gwen and Patrick journey through Asia and Central America for nearly four years without flying - they hitchhike, take buses and trains, and in some cases, even a boat. For the final part of their journey back to Germany, they even travel on foot. Coming in second place was the picture Flavours of Iraq directed by Léonard Cohen (France | 2018 | 50 min.). Viewers also enjoyed Slovak director Tomáš Krupa’s film The Good Death (Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Austria | 2018 | 83 min.), which took third place.