John Skoog’s Ridge and Mania Akbari and Douglas White’s A Moon for My Father were among the winners at the 16th CPH:DOX international documentary film festival.
Films competed for six international awards and two European awards handed out during the festival, which ran from March 20 to March 31 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The winners were selected by juries, with the exception of the Politiken Audience Award.
Skoog’s Ridge (pictured) took the DOX:AWARD, the main award of the night, beating 11 other nominees and earning the Swedish director a US$5,600 (€5,000) cash prize.
Ridge (71 minutes), which had its international premiere at CPH:DOX, is a hybrid film with a mixture of professional actors and amateurs. It follows the Polish rural workers who arrive by ferry to Sweden in the summer to work on the farms. “If Tarkovsky had played video games and was a Swedish farmer, this might be what his films would have looked like” said the jury, in selecting the film for the fest’s top prize.
Special mention went to Searching Eva (83 minutes), from German director Pia Hellenthal.
The NEW:VISION award went to Akbari and White’s A Moon for My Father (76 minutes), which held its world premiere at CPH:DOX. The film takes an experimental approach to documenting Akbari’s experience with breast cancer, connecting her body to Iran’s political history to explore trauma, life, death, language and censorship.
“Like a punch in the gut or a needle in the abdomen, this film demonstrates that as a viewer, the medium of moving images is far more than a retinal and cognitive experience, but one of strong affect and of somatic involvement of your very own body,” said the NEW:VISION jury, which judges experiments in the borderland between documentary and artistic reflection.
Meanwhile, Canadian director Julien Elie took home the F:ACT AWARD for Dark Suns (155 minutes), which investigates the epidemic wave of killings of women in Mexico, while The Men’s Room (75 minutes), from Norwegian duo Petter Sommer and Jo Vemund Svendsen, took home the NORDIC:DOX award. The film follows a group of men who sing and drink beer together in Oslo as they prepare to sing at their choir conductor’s funeral — he’s been given a few months to live — and their biggest gig yet: opening for Black Sabbath.
The NEXT:WAVE award for emerging, international filmmakers went to Aboozar Amini’s Kabul, City in the Wind (88 minutes), which held its international premiere at the festival and offers a portrait of life in Kabul. The jury called it “an impressive, artistic and breathtaking documentary that goes beyond war and death and is a deep, devastating and deeply moving portrait of life and characters which you won’t forget.”
Meanwhile, Fredrik Gertten’s Push (92 minutes; Sweden), which held its world premiere at the fest, took the Politiken Audience Award. The film explores the question of housing, and the global efforts to make housing a fundamental human right.
Finally, the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award for best pitch and the DR Talent Award were handed out during the festival and went to Peter-Jan de Pue and Vincent Metzinger’s Four Brothers and to Kathrine Skibsted, Andrine Moland and Caroline Salic, respectively.
The awards ceremony took place at Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the official exhibition gallery of the Royal Danish Academy of Art, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Friday (March 29) evening.