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16th DokuFest palmares

The winners of 16th edition of DokuFest were announced at the award ceremony held August 12th in Prizren, following the jury deliberation. 102 films, representing 50 countries ran for awards in six competitive categories, as well as the audience award.

The 9-day festival activities included the screening of 254 films from 63 different countries, workshops, panels, debates, masterclasses, exhibitions and a series of live acts under the DokuNights, and many others performing. Prizren once again became a city fully immersed in the celebration of cinema, culture and hope for the future.

Here is the full list of winners:

BALKAN DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION – WINNER:

BUFFET ŽELJEZARA by Goran Dević
Statement: We award BUFFET ŽELJEZARA (Steel Mill Café) as an expertly crafted portrait of a community grappling with the economic realities of a dwindling population. It deftly captures the café’s owners and visitors with subtle humor and an intimacy that conveys how difficult it is to say goodbye to one’s home.

Special Mention” for the BALKAN DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION to
ONI SAMO DOLAZE I ODLAZE by Boris Poljak
Statement: ONI SAMO DOLAZE I ODLAZE /THEY JUST COME AND GO is a visually playful and jaw-dropping allegory, dedicated to subtly painting a world in which, from dawn to dusk, human life in different stages of desire and uncertainty is captured in all its directionless interweaving.

BEST BALKAN NEWCOMER AWARD to
MY LIFE WITHOUT AIR by Bojana Burnać
Statement: We award MY LIFE WITHOUT AIR for its fresh and original visual approach and striking cinematography. With an assurance not often seen in a debut film, Bojana Burnac trusts her subject and audience and lets the story slowly unfold to reveal the personality and reality of a very private world-record holder.

Special Mention” for the BEST BALKAN NEWCOMER award to
GORA by Stefan Malešević
Statement: A special mention goes to Stefan Malešević’s visually striking and effortlessly rich meditation on a community of mountains and nature, animals and men. The time, tradition, rhythm and rules of life at GORA are, with the author’s curiosity and observation, brought closer and more familiar to those who might never have a chance to visit this part of the world.

INT’L DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION/FEATURE DOX – WINNER
EL MAR LA MAR
by Joshua Bonnetta, J.P. Sniadecki
Statement: With 16mm film, the filmmakers gaze into time and the desert landscape at the border between U.S. and Mexico. Signs of human life are barely visible, but the empty desert along with the soundscape serves as a vivid metaphor of everything invisible, yet influential, to our daily lives. The geographical, ideological and political aspects are also illuminated through the narrative structure as the journey unfolds. El Mar La Mar is a beautiful poem and a highly political statement in the contemporary context with sincerity.

Special Mention” for the INT’L DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION/FEATURE DOX to
69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS by Egil Håskjold Larsen
Statement: A sensitive film that depicts the journey of a family through innocent eyes, in difficult and uncertain times of both political and social unrest, where many approaches towards the core of this film , proper or problematic could be interpreted.

INT’L DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION/SHORT DOX– WINNER
IF ONLY THERE WERE PEACE by Carmine Grimaldi, Deniz Tortum
Statement: An original and multi-layered exploration of power relations, identity and performance that allows us to reflect upon the function of cinema as a social and cultural tool.

HUMAN RIGHTS – WINNER:
THE WAR SHOW by Andreas Dalsgaard, Obaidah Zytoon
Statement: The jury was impressed by the film’s well-crafted form, intimacy of its camera and reflective quality of its narration.
The film manages to provide a close view of the resistance in Syria; it is a beautiful homage to political activism and ultimately, an intimate story of friendships lost too soon. What begins as a personal story transforms into a tale of journalistic courage and a commitment to document the brutal impacts of war on human lives from up-close.

Special Mention” for the HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD to
A FEELING GREATER THAN LOVE by Mary Jirmanus Saba
Statement: An important and timely investigation of labor histories and working class solidarity in Lebanon in the period shortly before the civil wars.

GREEN DOX – WINNER:
AMA-SAN by Cláudia Varejão
Statement: While we were enormously impressed with the whole slate of films this year, the Green Dox award was unanimous. It goes to a work that beautifully balances a sense of community and humanity with aesthetic rigor and grace. This is a film with a keen understanding of the rhythms of nature, made by a director who not only has an incredible eye, but also knows how to immerse us in a whole world. You can sense this director’s presence in every frame of this movie, and yet she never gets in the way of the fascinating reality that she’s presenting.

INT’L SHORTS – 1st WINNER:
A DROWNING MAN by Mahdi Fleifel
Statement: A DROWNING MAN takes us on a captivating journey of a refugee, with no hint of patronization or heavy handedness. With drama that teases audiences to not only follow but engage. Mahdi Fleifel has created a stunning film with depth and breath.

INT’L SHORTS – 2nd WINNER:
THE CHIMERICAL MUSEUM OF SHIFTING SHAPES by Damián Alquichire
Statement: THE CHIMERICAL MUSEUM OF SHIFTING SHAPES is a world premiere at DokuFest and the jury were entranced by the oneness of the imagery with composed music. Damiàn Alquichire crafted every aspect of the film single handedly partnering only on the music. His talent is original and unique with a voice that cuts through cinema.

NATIONAL COMPETITION – WINNER:
SANS LE KOSOVO by Dea Gjinovci
Statement: Beauty, poetry and sensitivity are to be found in this honest portrayal of a father and daughter on a journey, longing to understand the wounds of the past. The National Competition Jury awards the main prize to the film SANS LE KOSOVO / WITHOUT KOSOVO, directed by Dea Gjinovci, for its warmth and sense of wonder, and its pure embodiment of human dignity. Befitting the theme of this Dokufest edition, we wish Dea a bright future.

Special Mention” for the NATIONAL COMPETITION AWARD to
ETHNOPHOBIA by Joan Zhonga
Statement: For an exquisite attention to detail, a great sense of humor, love, patience and the director’s mastery of the craft, we award a special mention to the film ETHNOPHOBIA. Filmmaker Joan Zhonga has gifted us with a joyous film that touches the hearts of children and grown-ups alike.

AUDIENCE AWARD
Me dasht’ Me dasht’ Me dasht’ by Ilir Hasanaj