Alexandria Bombach’s On Her Shoulders and Assia Boundaoui’s The Feeling of Being Watched took home the Best Documentary Feature and Audience Award, respectively, at the 2018 Camden International Film Festival.
The 14th edition of the Maine-based feature and short docs festival hosted its annual awards ceremony on Sunday (Sept. 16). CIFF, which ran Sept. 13 to 16, presented four awards for documentary features and one for a documentary short, in addition to its Points North Pitch Award.
The 2018 Harrell Award for Best Documentary Feature was awarded to Bombach’s On Her Shoulders (pictured), a film that tells the story of Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor of genocide and sexual slavery at the hands of ISIS, who searches for justice on the international stage.
Commenting on Bombach’s film, the CIFF jury said, “The film captures the weight of bearing witness by allowing the protagonist to speak for herself. On Her Shoulders transforms a traumatic personal experience into a realization of horrifying and memorable collective responsibility.”
Meanwhile, the Audience Award went to Boundaoui for The Feeling of Being Watched. The 87-minute documentary follows the director, who is also a journalist, as she investigates rumours of surveillance in her Arab-American community in Chicago.
Vadym Ilkov’s My Father Is My Mother’s Brother was feted with the Cinematic Vision Award. The film is an unconventional family portrait that depicts a modern family navigating through life, love, loneliness and illness. A Special Jury Mention was given to Cameron Mullenneaux’s Exit Music.
Elsewhere, Ramell Ross was honored with the John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media for Hale County This Morning, an intimate portrait of African American life in rural Alabama.
Finally, Vitaly Mansky’s Putin’s Witnesses and James Longley’s Angels Are Made of Light picked up the Harrell Jury award for Special Mentions.
This year’s jury consisted of Andrea Meditch (producer); Justine Nagan (PBS ‘POV’), and Talal Derki (filmmaker, Of Fathers and Sons)
In the pitching portion of the festival, the six teams of Points North Fellows who took part in a year-long mentorship, presented their feature documentary works-in-progress to a panel of funders, producers and broadcasters in front of a live audience. Nearly 500 audience members contributed to a crowdfunding campaign that saw US$6,349 in direct funding diverted to the projects.
As part of a new partnership with Chicago Media Project, all six Points North Fellows will also have an opportunity to participate in a second public pitch session at CMP’s DOC10 Film Festival in April.
Director Sierra Urich’s captured this year’s Points North Pitch Award for Joonam, a story of three generations of women that explores the relationship between mother and daughter, Iran and America and the immigrant experience.
An Academy-qualifying festival for shorts, the winner of the Camden Cartel Award for Best Short is eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject competition for the Academy. This year’s honor went to Jayisha Patel for Circle. The runner-up was David Freid’s Guns Found Here.
The 15th edition of Camden International Film Festival also announced that will take place Sept. 12-15, 2019 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine. Submissions will open in January 2019.