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.”
“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.