Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s Erde (Earth) and Feras Fayyad’s The Cave took home Best Documentary Feature and the Audience Award, respectively, at the 2019 Camden International Film Festival.
The 15th edition of the Maine-based feature and short docs festival hosted its annual awards ceremony on Sunday (Sept. 15). This year’s festival presented 38 features, 51 short films, and 17 virtual reality and immersive experiences from more than 35 countries.
CIFF, which ran Sept. 12 to 15 in Camden, Rockport and Rockland, Maine, presented five awards for documentary features and two for documentary shorts, in addition to its Points North Pitch Award.
The 2019 Best Documentary Feature went to Geyrhalter’s Erde (Earth). The observational film (pictured) tracks the workers of mines, quarries and large construction sites as they move tons of earth in their constant struggle to take possession of the planet.
The jury – consisting of Carrie Lozano (International Documentary Organization), Nels Bangerter (editor), and Sabaah Folayan (filmmaker) – noted that the doc captured “a rare and epic sense of scope and scale that demonstrates the magnitude of mankind’s imprint on the earth.”
Fayyad’s The Cave, meanwhile, was awarded with a special jury mention in the Best Documentary Feature category while also taking home the Audience Award. The 95-minute film follows a team of female doctors treating patients in an underground hospital in war torn Syria as they are also faced with systemic sexism.
Elke Margarete Lehrenkrauss’ Lovemobil was feted with the Cinematic Vision Award. The true crime film paints a portrait of prostitutes that work along the dark country roads of rural Germany, and the murder of one of the women. A special jury mention was given to Ja’Tovia Gary’s The Giverny Document (Single Channel).
Elsewhere, French filmmaker Lucie Viver was honored with the John Marshall Award for Contemporary Ethnographic Media for her film Sankara is Not Dead (Sankara n’est pas mort), which traces the journey of Burkina Faso poet Bikontine as he meets his fellow citizens along the country’s only rail line.
Mohammad Gorjestani was honored with the Camden Cartel Award for Best Short for his film Exit 12. The film is eligible to enter the Documentary Short Subject competition for the 2019 Academy Awards. Sophia Nahli Allison’s A Love Letter to Latasha was given an honorable mention.
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. This year’s Points North Pitch Award, which included in-kind post-production services from Boston-based Modulus Studios, went to director-producer Nesa Azimi’s feature doc Driver.
A special jury mention, which included a US$5,000 grant, was handed out to Pedro de Filippis for his film Tailings.
Submissions for the 2020 Camden International Film Festival will open in December.