Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner’s Songs of Repression and Morgan Quaintance’s South were among the winners at the 17th CPH:DOX international documentary film festival.
Films competed for six international awards and two European awards handed out during an online ceremony on Friday (March 27).
The annual festival, which encompassed more than 220 films, was meant to take place March 18 to March 29 in Copenhagen, Denmark, but was canceled on March 11 due to the global COVID-19 outbreak. All on-site events were instead moved online.
Produced by Final Cut for Real, Hougen-Moraga and Wagner’s Songs of Repression (pictured) was feted with the DOX:AWARD, beating out 13 other nominees. The award celebrates “strong personal expressions and cinematic quality,” and earned the Danish directors a US$5,500 (€5,000) cash prize.
Songs of Repression was also the recipient of the festival’s new Politiken:Danish:Dox Award.
The 90-minute film, which enjoyed its world premiere at the Danish festival, explores the various strategies employed to navigate the trauma of residents in Villa Baviera, a small German colony in the Andes Mountains of Chile, that has experienced systemic child abuse, medical experiments, torture chambers and mass graves throughout its history.
“It is through a sensitive and authentic relationship to their characters, that the filmmakers create a space in which the characters reflect, sometimes it seems for the first time, upon the most private and hidden moments of their past,” the jury said in a statement.
The New:Vision Award, meanwhile, went to Quaintance’s South alongside a cash prize of US$5,500. The world premiering-film served as “an expressive study of anti-racist and anti-authoritarian movements” in southern communities that span Chicago’s South Side and South London, as well as South Africa during the apartheid regime.
“The award is given to a film that offers a portrait of “a collective voice as a mechanism for change” and pays testimony to humanity’s capacity for creating hope,” said a jury.
Special mention was awarded to Mother’s Tongue by filmmakers Wingyee Wu & Lap-See Lam.
Meanwhile, the F:act Award and its US$5,500 cash prize was presented to German director Marc Wiese for his 93-minute film We Hold the Line. The doc follows a collection of Filipino journalists as they fight for democracy and human rights despite an ongoing war on drugs waged by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that has killed thousands.
Special mention in the category was given to Jeff Orlowski’s The Social Dilemma.
The F:act Award 2020 is dedicated to films in the field between documentary filmmaking, investigative journalism and activism.
Elsewhere, Jannik Splidsboel’s Being Eriko, an intimate portrait of Japanese pianist Eriko Makimura as she attempts to liberate herself from her past, took home the Nordic:Dox Award, while David Osit’s Mayor was presented with the Next:Wave Award. The documentary follows the Christian mayor of Ramallah, Musa Hadid, and his work to end the occupation of Palestine.
Meanwhile, Fredrik Gertten’s Push (92 minutes; Sweden), which held its world premiere at the fest, took the Politiken Audience Award. The film explores the question of housing, and the global efforts to make housing a fundamental human right.
Finally, the Eurimages Co-Production Development Award was handed out to Frederik Sølberg’s Hana Korea.