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THESSALONIKI DOCUMENTARY 2020 Awards

Welcome to Chechnya triumphs at the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival

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- Walchensee Forever and The Year of the Discovery also won the newly introduced Golden Alexanders at the festival, which went online this year

Welcome to Chechnya triumphs at the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
Walchensee Forever by Janna Ji Wonders

The 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF, 19-28 May), which this year unspooled online, has announced its award winners, with David France’s Welcome to Chechnya scooping the Golden Alexander Award for Best Documentary in the International Competition, which comes with a cash prize of €15,000. The film also picked up the Mermaid Award for Best LGBTQI+ Documentary and the FIPRESCI Award.

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The jury, comprising directors Marco Gastine and Claire Simon along with IndieWire editor at large Anne Thompson, mentioned: “This chilling docu-thriller lifts the curtain on a largely ignored humanitarian crisis in the Muslim Russian federal republic of Chechnya, where the persecution of homosexuals is ongoing: they are hunted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed, in an effort to liquidate LGBTQ Chechens. The film introduces us to the brave queer community based in Moscow that has pulled together to rescue people from Chechnya via a vast underground railroad taking them to safety. By documenting this resistance, the filmmaker enables us to experience what it means to escape from persecution, losing everything that your life was made of, while also discovering a warm and nurturing community.”

The Special Jury Award, worth €5,000, went to Radu Ciorniciuc’s Acasă, My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Ciorniciuc
film profile
]
, with the jury stating: “Filmed in the watery delta just outside Bucharest, Romania, this piece of cinéma vérité contests the boundaries between freedom and society, between nature and civilisation, between difference and identity.”

In the Newcomers International Competition, which included debut or sophomore features, the Golden Alexander Newcomers Award, accompanied by a cash prize of €8,000, was bestowed upon Walchensee Forever [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Janna Ji Wonders. The jury members, Philippe Bellaïche, Catherine Le Clef and Alexandre O Philippe, described it as “a brilliant film, directed with honesty and generosity, that slowly unveils and unravels the lives of multiple generations of women — each of them lovable, rich, generous and free in their own way”. Also, the Special Jury Award, accompanied by a cash prize of €3,000, went to Lady Time [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by debutant Elina Talvensaari.

In the »Film Forward International Competition, the jury comprising Gürcan Keltek, Maria Tsantsanoglou and Eduardo Williams gave the Golden Alexander, which comes complete with €3,000 in cash, to The Year of the Discovery [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Luis López Carrasco, as he “shows that very little has changed in Spain since the 1990s: the working class is still being crushed by both the ruling class and the state”.

Katja Høgset, Margreth Olin and Espen Wallin’s Self Portrait [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
picked up the Human Values Award from the Hellenic Parliament. The Music of Things [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Menios Carayannis
film profile
]
by Menios Carayannis won the FIPRESCI Award for Best Greek Film, which also comes with €3,000 from the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT). Finally, the Greek Film Centre Award for Best Greek Debut Documentary Film Over 50 Minutes went to Nikos Karouzos – Poems on a Tape Recorder by Yannis Karpouzis.

Here is the full list of the award winners of the 22nd Thessaloniki Documentary Festival:

International Competition

Golden Alexander
Welcome to Chechnya – David France (USA)

Special Jury Award
Acasă, My Home [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Radu Ciorniciuc
film profile
]
– Radu Ciorniciuc (Romania/Finland/Germany)

Newcomers International Competition

Golden Alexander
Walchensee Forever [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Janna Ji Wonders (Germany)

Special Jury Award
Lady Time [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Elina Talvensaari (Finland)

»Film Forward International Competition

Golden Alexander
The Year of the Discovery [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Luis Lopez Carrasco (Spain)

Mermaid Award
Welcome to Chechnya – David France
Special Mention
Madame [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Stéphane Riethauser (Switzerland)

Human Values Award of the Hellenic Parliament
Self Portrait [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
– Katja Hogset, Margreth Olin, Espen Wallkin (Norway)

Greek Film Centre Award
Nikos Karouzos – Poems on a Tape Recorder – Yannis Karpouzis (Greece)

Amnesty International Award
Aswang [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Alyx Ayn Arumpac (Philippines/France/Norway/Qatar/Germany)

FIPRESCI Award (International Competition)
Welcome to Chechnya – David France

FIPRESCI Award (Best Greek Film)
The Music of Things [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Menios Carayannis
film profile
]
– Menios Carayannis (Greece)

WIFT (Women in Film & Television) Award
Katerina Patroni – The Fourth Character [+see also:
interview: Katerina Patroni
film profile
]
(Greece)

Youth Jury Awards

Best Film Award
Good Morning, Mr Fotis – Dimitra Kouzi (Greece)

Special Jury Award
In-mates - Iakovos Panourgias, Nikos Voulgaris (Greece)

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