Sheffield ’16: “Princess Shaw,” “Cameraperson” win top prizes

Ido Haar's Presenting Princess Shaw (pictured, left), Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson (right) and Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel's SEED: The Untold Story took home top prizes from Sheffield Doc/Fest.
June 15, 2016

Ido Haar’s Presenting Princess Shaw, Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson and Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel’s Seed: The Untold Story went home with top prizes from Sheffield Doc/Fest.

The six-day UK festival, which wraps today (June 15), handed out awards at a Tuesday evening (June 14) ceremony in Crucible Theatre, hosted by KG Tha Comedian.

Johnson’s Cameraperson, which had its world premiere at Sundance in January, took home the Grand Jury Award, with a special mention going to Shimon Dotan’s The Settlers.

Cameraperson finds the cinematographer turning the lens on herself and her work over the years for such directors as Laura Poitras and Michael Moore.

Doc/Fest's Claire Aguilar with Samantha Montgomery of Presenting Princess Shaw

Doc/Fest’s Claire Aguilar with Samantha Montgomery of Presenting Princess Shaw

A jury statement read, “A film unlike any other, intuitively constructed to reflect ideas and choices and emotions, rather than a standard narrative thread, it invites the viewer to contemplate and feel these experiences along with her.”

The Dr. Clifford Shaw Audience Award, meanwhile, went to Haar’s Presenting Princess Shaw, which first screened at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. Read realscreen’s profile of the film here.

The doc is centered on the relationship between Israeli musician Kutiman and his discovery of YouTube performer Samantha Montgomery. The latter artist – also known as Princess Shaw – collected the award on behalf of the team.

Picking up the Environmental Award was Betz and Siegel’s SEED: The Untold Story, while a special mention was given to Sue Williams’ Death by Design.

SEED follows the disappearance of seed varieties around the world, and tracks the parties taking on agribusiness and genetically modified foods in order to reverse human reliance on specific seed types. Watch an exclusive clip of the doc here.

“It was beautifully created and creatively and emotionally finds a way to make the audience care about preserving the biodiversity of our planet,” read a statement from the jury.

Meanwhile, the Tim Hetherington Award was presented to Tatiana Huezo’s Tempestad, with a special mention going to Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow, while the Storytelling and Innovation Award went to James Spinney and Peter Middleton’s Notes on Blindness.

The latter doc’s VR companion, Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness, took the Alternate Realities VR Award, while a special mention went to Home – A VR Spacewalk Experience. The latter film won the Audience Award for Alternate Realities VR.

SEED directors Taggart Siegel and  Jon Betz

SEED directors Taggart Siegel and Jon Betz

The Alternate Realities Interactive Award and Audience Award for Interactive went to New Dimensions in Testimony, directed by Heather Maio and produced by Stephen Smith for USC Shoah Foundation. A special mention for the Interactive Award went to Tracey Fullerton’s Walden, A Game.

Elsewhere, taking the Whicker’s World Funding Award was Alex Bescoby for Burma’s Lost Royals. Adam James Smith’s Americaville was runner-up.

The Whicker’s World Veteran’s Award went to Keith Earnest Hoult for Fluechtlinge – Refugee, while the Whicker’s World Audio Award was given to Little Volcanoes, which was recorded, written and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, and sound mixed by Matt Thompson and Mike Woolley. The runner-up was The Dhammazedi Bell, produced by Francesca Pancetta.

Finally, the Youth Jury Award was presented to Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s Sonita, and the Short Doc Award was given to Giedrė Žickytė and Maite Alberdi’s I’m Not From Here. The latter film now qualifies for the 2017 Academy Awards. Picking up the Audience Award for doc shorts was Jasmijn Schrofer’s Tarikat.

The Student Doc Award went to Melissa Langer’s My Aleppo.

As previously reported, the Creative Leadership Award went to HBO Documentary Films president Sheila Nevins, while the Award for Unsung Hero in Factual TV was given to Jan Tomalin, MD of Media Law Consultancy.

In other news, Doc/Fest is launching a new bespoke training and mentoring program, titled Doc/Next.

The year-long training initiative is open to documentary and other non-fiction directors, producers, line producers, editors and DOPs across all platforms. It is targeted at UK professionals who have worked in the industry for 18 months to five years.

The program will be helmed by Donna Taberer, and group training will take place in Sheffield, with activities including bespoke training, masterclasses, business development, peer-to-peer learning, networking, mentoring, placements and delegate attendance at next year’s Doc/Fest.

Doc/Next is supported by Sheffield City Council and the Yorkshire Screen Industries Consortium, delivered in partnership with Screen Yorkshire, Game Republic and Sheffield Doc/Fest, with support from the BFI’s Creative Clusters Fund.

Applications are open from today until July 28. Doc/Next will debut in September.  More information can be found here.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.