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SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2019

Earth and For Sama triumph at Sheffield Doc/Fest

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- Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s environmental doc has won the International Award, whilst For Sama added to its array of prizes with the Audience Award and a Grand Jury Special Mention

Earth and For Sama triumph at Sheffield Doc/Fest
The directors of For Sama, Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, and Sama herself, clutching one of their awards

The 26th Sheffield Doc/Fest wrapped up last night with an awards ceremony at the Netflix Crucible Studio, Sheffield, where Jury and Audience Awards were given out to works in the Film and Alternate Realities sections. Each winner received a bespoke Sheffield steel trophy, The Steel Core, created by local artist Harrison Moore.

This year’s Grand Jury Award, honouring a film that “best displays excellence in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking”, was awarded to Midnight Family, directed by Luke Lorentzen. The movie follows the struggle of a family who run a private ambulance service in Mexico City’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. The jury, composed of Jeremy Deller, Charlotte Cook and Jenn Nkiru, was impressed by “a technically accomplished film that combines family drama with serious moral questions for the participants and viewers alike.”

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Midnight Traveler [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
and For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
received Special Mentions in this awards bracket, comprising five films. These were described by the jurors as “two unique and unforgettable films examining the most pressing human rights crisis of our generation”. For Sama, a chronicle of the Syrian Civil War from the perspective of a young mother, also picked up the prestigious Audience Award, adding to its haul from SXSW and Hot Docs, and its Golden Eye nomination at the Cannes Film Festival.

Earth [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
film profile
]
, Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s epic landscape study of large-scale mining, picked up its first major festival prize to date, the International Award. The jury of Inadelso Cossa, Samara Chadwick and Nita Deda highlighted the film’s “sheer scale and ambition, matched by its humility towards its subject and subjects”. MOTHER [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, Kristof Bilsen’s lyrical study of a Thai Alzheimer’s carer, enhanced its world premiere at the festival with a Special Mention.

Melanie Iredale, interim director of Sheffield Doc/Fest, praised a festival programme that was “remarkable for the quality of the extraordinary, often personal, often timely stories, that demonstrate internationalism and urgency”. Filmmakers, digital creatives and industry figures from 59 countries (up from 55 in 2018) attended the six-day festival, and 54% of the film programme was directed or co-directed by women.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Jury Awards - Film

Grand Jury Award
Midnight Family - Luke Lorentzen (USA)
Special Mentions
For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
- Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (Syria/UK)
Midnight Traveler [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
- Hassan Fazili (USA/Qatar/UK/Canada)

International Award
Earth [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
film profile
]
- Nikolaus Geyrhalter (Austria)
Special Mention
MOTHER [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Kristof Bilsen (Belgium/Netherlands)

Art Award (Supported by MUBI)
No Data Plan - Miko Revereza (Philippines)

Tim Hetherington Award (Supported by Dogwoof)
One Child Nation - Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang (China/USA)

New Talent Award
About Love - Archana Atul Phadke (India)

Youth Award
Baracoa [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Pablo Briones and The Moving Picture Boys (Switzerland/USA/Spain)
Special Mention
Jawline - Liza Mandelup (USA)

Short Award
America - Garrett Bradley (USA)

Audience Award
For Sama - Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts

Alternative Realities Jury Awards

Best Digital Experience Award
Echo - Georgie Pinn (Australia)

Best Digital Narrative Award
Le Lac - Nyasha Kadandara (Chad/Kenya/South Africa)

Alternate Realities Audience Award (Supported by Rewind)
Algorithmic Perfumery - Frederik Duerinck (Netherlands)

Pitch Winners

The Whickers Pitch
All That Remains - Amanda Mustard

Runner-up
AZ House - Anna Oliker

The BBC Three Pitch (supported by the BBC)
Rebecca Southworth and Ashley Turner

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation X Guardian Pitch (supported by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation)
Edwin Mingard and Elizabeth Benjamin
Hazel Falck

The Channel 4 First Cut Pitch (supported by Channel 4)
Ashley Francis-Roy

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