Docs

“Advocate”, “Midnight Traveler” take top honors at Thessaloniki 2019

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival unveiled its top winners for its 21st annual event this past Sunday (March 10) in Greece. The Greek festival – which ran from March 1 to ...
March 11, 2019

The Thessaloniki International Film Festival unveiled its top winners for its 21st annual event this past Sunday (March 10) in Greece.

The Greek festival – which ran from March 1 to 10 – honored the Golden Alexander award for best documentary in international competition to Rachel Leah Jones and Phillippe Bellaiche’s Advocate (pictured). The movie tells the story of Jewish-Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel who has represented political prisoners for nearly 50 years. The honor is accompanied by an €8,000 (US$8,998) cash prize.

Advocate also took home the FIPRESCI award, which is dolled out by the International Federation of Film Critics.

The special jury award in the international competition for a film over 50 minutes, meanwhile, went to Hassan Fazili’s Midnight Traveler. The autobiographical film about the Afghani director garnered a cash prize of €2,000 (US$2,249).

Elsewhere, the human values award went to Pawel Ziemilski’s In Touch, which looks at how families stay connected when they are worlds apart. The award is presented by the Hellenic Parliament, while  the Amnesty International award, which explores issue around human rights, bestowed the honor of best film to Barbara Miller’s #Female Pleasure, a project that explores female sexuality around the world.

The Peter Wintonick audience award, given to a film more than 50 minutes in length in the international section, went to Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s feature doc The Silence of Others. The audience award for a film under 50 minutes in the international section, meanwhile, was awarded to Raúl Riebenbauer’s Yesterday/Tomorrow. 

Nikos Aslanidis’s feature-length film The Band was feted with the audience award for a Greek film over 50 minutes, which also picked up the the ERT Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation award for the Greek film over 50 minutes that wins the Fischer audience award.

Giorgos Kivernitis’ The Canaries picked up the audience award for a Greek project under 50 minutes and Lucy Greenwell’s Songbird took home the €3,000 (US$3,373) prize in the VR/Virtual Reality Films Competition.

The WWF award, which is given to the best film in the Habitat section, went to Enrico Parenti and Stefano Liberti’s Soyalism, while the Greek Film Critics Association Award was handed out to Iliana Danezi for her film 4 Levels of Existence.

The Greek Film Centre award for debut documentary over 50 minutes and a film participating in the TDF Agora Doc Market’s Docs in Progress section was won by Panos Arvanitakis’ Fossils and Dimitra Kouzi’s School 54. Both awards are accompanied by a €3,000 (US$3,373) cash prize.

Katerina Patroni’s Four Seasons and Salah al Ashkar’s Our Choices received docs in progress awards. As such, Four Seasons will receive an accompanying prize of €15,000 (US$16,859) for post-production services, while Our Choices receives €3,000 (US$3,373) in music and sound services.

Finally, the doc on air award, bestowed to the best project of the EDN Docs in Thessaloniki, went to Roser Corella’s Intimate Outsiders, along with a €2,000 (US$2,249) cash prize.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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