Thessaloniki, SXSW award doc prizes

Keith Maitland's Tower (pictured) and Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley's Landfill Harmonic - A Symphony of the Human Spirit took home top prizes at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece, respectively.
March 21, 2016

Keith Maitland’s Tower and Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley  ‘s Landfill Harmonic – A Symphony of the Human Spirit walked away with top prizes at SXSW and the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, respectively.

Following the presentation of SXSW’s Jury Award winners last week, the Austin, Texas-set festival unveiled its Audience Award prizes on Saturday (March 19).

Picking up the Audience Award in the Documentary Feature Competition was Maitland’s animated entry Tower, which won the Grand Jury prize and the Louis Black “Lone Star” Award in the juried competition. The doc examines America’s first mass school shooting in 1966, at the University of Texas.

The Documentary Spotlight prize, meanwhile, went to Tomer Heymann‘s Mr. Gaga, on the Batsheva Dance Company choreographer and artistic director, Ohad Naharin.

Elsewhere, the Audience Award for the 24 Beats Per Second program went to Brenda Greene Mitchell and Sam Wainwright Douglas’ Honky Tonk Heaven: Legend of the Broken, about 50-year-old Austin-based honky tonk, the Broken Spoke, while Simon Stadley’s Ghostland, on a journey made by the Namibian Ju/Hoansi Bushmen from the Kalahari into Europe, took home the SXGlobal award.

Lastly, two titles that bowed at Sundance, Clay Tweel’s ALS doc Gleason and Stephen Kijak’s We Are X, won the Festival Favorites and Excellence in Title Design prizes, respectively. Designer Allison Brownmoore of Blue Spill took home the latter award on behalf of the doc.

Over in Greece, the 18th annual Thessaloniki Documentary Festival – which ran from March 11 to 20 – came to a close on Sunday (March 20).

The Peter Wintonick Audience Award, given to a film more than 45 minutes in length in the international section, was presented to Allgood and Townsley’s Landfill Harmonic – A Symphony of the Human Spirit, while the Audience Award for a film under 45 minutes in the international section went to Adam Benzine’s Oscar-nominated doc shortClaude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah.

The corresponding Audience Awards for Greek film went to Susanne Bausinger and Stelios Efstathopoulos’ film Argo Navis, and Ioannis Grigoropoulos and Michalis Aristidou’s Viktor Ullmann: Biography of a Recording.

Elsewhere, the Fipresci Awards for a Greek film and international film went to Maro Anastopoulou’s Whispers of the Sky and Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s What He Did, respectively.

The Amnesty International Award, given to the best film exploring human rights issues, went to Mani Y. Benchelah’s This is Exile: Diaries of Child Refugees. Read realscreen’s profile of the film and interview with Benchelah from IDFA.

The WWF Award was presented to Louie Psihoyos‘ Racing Extinction, while the Human Values Award went to Leonidas Vardaros’ Ludlow, Greek Americans in the Colorado Coal War. The Docs in Progress Award, meanwhile, was given to Mohamed Siam’s Amal.

Finally, the EDN Doc on Air prize – bestowed to the best project of the Pitching Forum for international co-productions – was awarded to Anastasiya Miroshnichenko’s Debut.

As previously reported, the EDN Award was this year given to ARTE France’s Marianne Lévy-Leblond.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.