“Hooligan Sparrow” wins at Jerusalem Film Festival

Nanfu Wang's Sundance entry Hooligan Sparrow (pictured) picked up the Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary Film at the 33rd annual Jerusalem Film Festival.
July 18, 2016

Nanfu Wang’s Hooligan Sparrow (pictured) is among the documentary award winners at the 33rd annual Jerusalem Film Festival.

The feature doc – which premiered at Sundance in January – picked up the Ostrovsky Award for Best Documentary Film at the festival, which ran from July 7 to 17.

The film finds Wang trailing Chinese activist Ye Haiyan (a.k.a. Hooligan Sparrow) as she protests the case of six elementary school girls allegedly sexually abused by their principal. The group meets with frequent government surveillance and, over the course of filming in China, both Sparrow and Wang become targets for undercover security agents.

Hooligan Sparrow screened as part of the “In the Spirit of Freedom Competition in Memory of Wim van Leer.” A jury statement described the doc as “a courageous and moving film which embodies the essence of documentary filmmaking, revealing on the screen some of the most disturbing parts of our reality.”

An honorable mention was given to Rithy Panh’s hybrid Cannes entry Exile.

“A brilliant film that cannot be classified into fiction or documentary, which is at once both a moral lesson and a visual statement,” reads a jury statement on the doc.

Doc winners in the Israeli Film Competition included Michal Aviad’s Dimona Twist, which picked up the Van Leer Award for Best Documentary Film; Forever Pure helmer Maya Zinshtein, who won the Van Leer Award for Best Director of a Documentary; and Forever Pure editors Justine Wright and Noam Amit, who received the Haggiag Award for Best Editing.

In the Israeli Short Film Competition, Tamar Kay’s The Mute’s House won the Van Leer Award for Best Short Documentary, while Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie won the Avner Shalev – Yad Vashem Chairman’s Award for Holocaust-Related Films.

This year’s edition of the fest also included an inaugural international competition that featured Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Weiner, from Josh Kriegman and Elise Steinberg.

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.