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

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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