The winners of the IDFA competition programs were announced at the IDFA 2021 Awards ceremony, held in Amsterdam’s Compagnietheater, concluding the 34th edition of the event.
Sergei Loznitsa‘s Mr. Landsbergis (pictured), profiling one of the founders of Lithuania’s peaceful “singing revolution” from 1989 to 1991 as the country exited the Soviet Union, took the IDFA Award for Best Film in the International Competition. It also won the award for Best Editing.
“It is not easy to bring history to life. It is even more difficult to make it thrilling, urgent, and totally enriching, to make it feel like we are living through it as it happens,” the jury wrote in a statement about the film, which it praised as “a monumental achievement that fully explores the role one man, one nation, and one historical moment can play in the still-unfolding story of the global struggle for freedom and self-determination.”
Also in the International Competition, Vietnamese filmmaker Diem Ha Le took the prize for Best Director for Children of the Mist, which explores child marriage and the clash between tradition and modernity among the Hmong ethnic minority in Vietnam.
The award for Best Cinematography went to Where Are We Headed, about the Moscow subway, which was filmed and directed by Ruslan Fedotow. It also took the prize for Best First Feature.
In the Envision Competition, Karim Kassem won the award for Best Film for Octopus, about the aftermath of the 2020 Port of Beirut explosion.
“It was made with great respect toward the subject matter and it felt like a story told from the inside,” the jury’s statement said. “There are no answers presented, just the questions of life in the face of a disaster.”
The award for Best Direction in the Envision Competition went to Pim Zwier for O, Collecting Eggs Despite the Times, about German ornithologist Max Schönwetter, who studied bird eggs during WW2, while the Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution went to Lindiwe Matshikiza for One Take Grace, which follows the life of a Black South African woman over 10 years.
Taking the IDFA Award for Best Dutch Film was Jason from Maasja Ooms; the FIPRESCI Award went to Jafar Najafi for Makeup Artist; and the Beeld en Geluid IDFA ReFrame Award for Best Creative Use of Archive went to Robin Hunzinger for Ultraviolette and the Blood-Spitters Gang.
Sacha Wares and John Pring won the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction for Museum of Austerity, while the Special Jury Award for Creative Technology went to Marcel van Brakel and Mark Meeuwenoord for Symbiosis.
Finally, Tamara Shogaolu took the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling for Un(re)solved; the Special Jury Award for Creative Technology went to Ravi and Emma by Kylie Boltin, Ella Rubeli, Ravi Vasavan, and Emma Anderson; Pavel Mozhar’s Handbook won the IDFA Award for Best Short Documentary; and the IDFA Award for Best Youth Film went to Shamira Raphaëla for Shabu.