Sunny Side ’15: “Terror Studios,” “Max Hudan” among winners

Documentary projects delving into the Islamic State militant group's propaganda machine and the disappearance of the son of a KGB officer from Ukraine picked up awards at this year's Sunny Side of the Doc.
June 26, 2015

Projects about the “Leni Riefenstahl of the Islamic State” militant group and the disappearance of the son of a KGB officer from Ukraine are among the winners at this year’s Sunny Side of the Doc.

During the four-day event in La Rochelle, France, producers participated in seven public pitch sessions based on genres such as investigation, natural history and wildlife, and arts and culture.

Juries of commissioning editors and producers then chose winners from each session to receive prizes of cash or equipment, depending on the award. The winners picked up their prizes during the event’s closing presentation on Thursday (June 25).

Paris-based Capa Presse and Canal+ won the Best Global Issues Project for Terror Studios: Inside the ISIS Propaganda Machine, which is a coproduction with Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions. The film will look at the people responsible for the militant group’s social media strategy and recruitment tactics.

The Best Interactive and Transmedia Project award went to Warsaw-based Impakt Film for In Search of Max Hudan, a non-linear investigation into the disappearance of the son of a Russian KGB officer who vanished from Crimea after joining the Ukrainian army to fight separatists.

Hamburg’s A&O Buero FilmProduktion picked up two awards for Bugs: Nature’s Little Superheroes: Best EBU Science & Knowledge Project and the Lighting Award.

The winner of the Best Mix Docs category, which is for investigative projects from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Middle East, was The Meddler from Australian indie Finch. The doc received €20,000 and will air on French network France Ô as part of its prize.

Other winners were Kubefilm, Austria’s Hoopoe II: The Big Journey, which won Best Natural History & Wildlife Project; Les Films du Tambour de Soie, France’s Loewy: How a Frenchman Designed the American Dream, which picked up Best Arts & Culture Project honors; and Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion, Hamburg’s Leningrad Symphony, which won Best History Project.

What’s Up Films, France won the Sonuma Award for Ireland; Gebrueder Beetz picked up the Cezame Music Agency Award for The Dream Project; and Once Upon & Les Films du Balibari snagged the inaugural Docunexion Québec-France prize for the interactive project Sea Is My Country; and producer Ladybird Films won the special award “Le Chaînon Manquant” for Waiting For Leo.

Lastly, the Best Music Award for films that screened as part of Sunny Side’s wildlife doc program went to Disneynature, Keith Scholey and Adam Chapman for Grizzly.

This year, the 26th annual Sunny Side of the Doc attracted upwards of 2,000 to La Rochelle. According to organizers, 260 decision-makers and 515 exhibiting companies from 57 countries were among the attendees.

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