Malik Bendjelloul’s Searching for Sugar Man (pictured) picked up the audience and the music doc awards at the 25th IDFA in Amsterdam, while Alan Berliner’s Alzheimer’s doc First Cousin Once Removed won the best feature doc prize.
The victories for Searching for Sugar Man cap a year of success for the film, which earlier this week triumphed at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival. The film focuses on mysterious American singer-songwriter Rodriguez, and had its world premiere at the start of the year at Sundance in Utah.
The IDFA Melkweg Award for Best Music Documentary comes with a €2,500 (US$3,240) prize, while the IDFA Audience Award comes with a €5,000 prize.
In taking the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, and with it a €12,500 prize, First Cousin Once Removed beat Bad Boy High Security Cell by Janusz Mrozowski, and The Gatekeepers by Dror Moreh.
Elsewhere, the IDFA Award for First Appearance (€5,000 prize) went to Esther Hertog for Soldier on the Roof, which offers an insight into the everyday lives in a Jewish enclave in Hebron. Hertog also won the IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary (€5,000) for the film.
The prize for Best Mid-Length Documentary (€10,000) was won by Lida Chan and Guillaume Suon’s Red Wedding, which tells the story of Cambodian Sochan Pen, who as a 16-year-old was forced to marry a soldier of the Khmer Rouge.
Red Wedding was supported by the IDFA Fund and was one of the alumni of the IDFAcademy Summer School. In September, the film also picked up the IDFA Worldview Award – a grant contributing towards the finance of production.
Meanwhile, the IDFA Award for Student Competition (€2,500) went to Chico Pereira for Pablo’s Winter, a doc billed as “a humorous portrait of inveterate smoker Pablo,” who spends his retirement complaining and reminiscing.
Finally, the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling (€2,500) went to Miquel Dewever-Plana and Isabelle Fougère for Alma, a Tale of Violence – an interactive tablet documentary graphically telling the story of a former gangster – while the IDFA DOC U Award, worth €1,500 and awarded by a jury of young people, went to Marcel Barrena for Little World.
The latter doc focuses on a poor, wheelchair-bound 19-year-old who travels with his girlfriend across the globe.
In attendee numbers, IDFA said that the festival had achieved slight growth on last year, with the total number of visitors set to be at least 200,000 and net takings to exceed €1 million.