Docs

Sheffield ’19: “Midnight Family”, “Earth” take top honors

SHEFFIELD – Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family and Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Earth took home top prizes at the 26th annual Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards. The six-day UK festival handed out awards at a Tuesday evening (June 11) ceremony at ...
June 12, 2019

SHEFFIELD – Luke Lorentzen’s Midnight Family and Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Earth took home top prizes at the 26th annual Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards.

The six-day UK festival handed out awards at a Tuesday evening (June 11) ceremony at Sheffield’s Netflix Cruciable Studio, hosted by writer and presenter Mark Thomas.

The 2019 edition of Doc/Fest saw an increacse in attendance by 1.30% from last year, with 3,489 industry delegates on the ground. Filmmakers, digital creatives and decision makers from 59 countries (up from 55 in 2018) attended the six-day festival; 54% of the film program was directed or co-directed by women.

“I am immensely proud that the majority of these stories were told by women, including 57% films in competition and 50% of Alternate Realities Projects,” said Melanie Iredale, interim director of the Sheffield Doc/Fest, in a statement. “Our winners tonight demonstrate internationalism and urgency; among them stories about healthcare, Aleppo, climate change and reproductive rights – as well as showing us the creative and technical possibilities of non-fiction filmmaking and digital art.”

Lorentzen’s Midnight Family (pictured), which held its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, took home the Grand Jury Award.

The 81-minute vérité film journeys to one of Mexico City’s wealthiest neighborhoods, where the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance, competing with other for-profit EMTs for patients in need of urgent care.

A jury statement read, “For the Grand Jury prize we would like to award a technically accomplished film that combines family drama with serious moral questions for the participants and viewers alike. A film that examines  the corruption of individuals within a pernicious market system, and that acts as a timely warning to the dangers of privatised healthcare.”

Special mentions in the category went to Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama and Hassan Fazili’s Midnight Traveller.

Geyrhalter’s Earth, meanwhile, was feted with the inaugural International Award, which honors the best new international non-fiction film challenging global perspectives and bringing audiences to the heart of the story.

The 115-minute film, which debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival, observes people – in mines, quarries and at large construction sites – engaged in a constant struggle to take possession of the planet.

A special mention in the category went to Mother by Kristof Bilsen.

Taking home the Doc Audience Award, as voted for by the Doc/Fest audience, was Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ For Sama. The intimate 94-minute feature-length film chronicles the female experience of war by documenting the five-year journey of director al-Kateab as she navigates through love, marriage and motherhood during the revolution in Aleppo, Syria.

Find a full list of the Sheffield Doc/Fest awards below:

GRAND JURY AWARD
Winner: 
Midnight Family
Special Mention: A Woman Captured 

INTERNATIONAL AWARD
Winner: 
Earth
Special Mention: 
Mother

DOC AUDIENCE AWARD
Winner: 
For Sama

TIM HETHERINGTON AWARD
Winner: 
One Child Nation

ART DOC AWARD
Winner: 
No Data Plan

NEW TALENT AWARD
Winner: 
About Love

YOUTH JURY AWARD
Winner: 
Baracoa
Special Mention: Jawline

SHORT DOC AWARD
Winner: 
America

ALTERNATE REALITIES JURY AWARDS

BEST DIGITAL EXPERIENCE AWARD
Winner: Echo

BEST DIGITAL NARRATIVE AWARD
Winner: Le Lac

 

ALTERNATIVE REALITIES AUDIENCE AWARD
Winner:
 Algorithmic Perfumery

PITCH WINNERS

THE WHICKER’S PITCH
Winner: Amanda Mustard’s All That Remains receives £80,000 to make her first feature-length documentary
Runner up: Anna Oliker’s AZ House receives a £15,000 contribution

BBC Northern Docs Pitch
Winner: 
Rebecca Southworth Ashley Turner

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation X Guardian Pitch
Winners: Edwin Mingard and Elizabeth Benjamin (Stoke Film)
Hazel Falck – United Voices of the World

The Channel 4 First Cut Pitch
Winner: Ashley Francis-Roy

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