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JIHLAVA 2020 Awards

Slovak-Czech film White on White takes the top honours at Ji.hlava

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- The largest festival for creative documentary films in Central and Eastern Europe has handed out accolades but continues streaming films until 8 November

Slovak-Czech film White on White takes the top honours at Ji.hlava
Hosts Johanna Nejedlová and Lukáš Houdek presenting the awards ceremony of the 2020 Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (© Jan Hromádko)

The 24th edition of the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival, which was transformed into a virtual affair owing to the outbreak of the pandemic (see the news), maintained its original structure and handed out its awards on Saturday 31 October. The main Opus Bonum competition was judged by one sole juror, the director of In Between Dying [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Hilal Baydarov. Baydarov picked White on White [+see also:
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film profile
]
, a film by Slovakian director Viera Čákanyová, as Best World Documentary Film 2020.

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Baydarov said he picked the film for the top prize for “being a very honest, brave and inspirational film. The feature shows us how difficult and almost impossible it is to make a film about oneself.” White on White is the sophomore feature by Čákanyová, a follow-up to her feature debut, FREM [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Viera Čakányová
film profile
]
, which bowed as a world premiere at last year’s Ji.hlava IDFF and was showcased in the Forum sidebar of this year’s Berlinale. The video diary White on White captures the director’s stay at the Polish Antarctic Station while she was shooting FREM. Baydarov granted a Special Mention to Marie-Violaine Brincard and Olivier Dury’s A Man Leaning [+see also:
film review
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]
, based on a diary by French poet Thierry Metz.

Ivars Zviedris’ portrait of the Latvian-Russian border, Latvian Coyote, was named Best Central and East European Documentary Film in the Between the Seas competition, for adopting “a sensitive approach to its well-chosen protagonists” and for showing “a global and a well-known topic from a unique, unconventional perspective, which still allows the audience not only to get very close to the main protagonist, but also to dive into the whole story”. Judith Zdesar’s cinematic survey of the lives of the visually impaired, THE LAST IMAGE, earned a Special Mention from the jury for “its poetic aesthetics, in search of a sensory representation of a daily and familiar environment”.

Emerging Czech documentarian Jindřich Andrš, whose A New Shift [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
opened the festival, netted the Best Czech Documentary Award for his time-lapse portrait of a miner’s transformation into a coder in order to get a second chance at a career in a constantly changing world. Wolves at the Borders [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
by Martin Páv, which follows a dispute between farmers and environmentalists regarding the reintroduction of wolves in the Broumov region, received a Special Mention. Tiago Siopa was honoured with the Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film Award for Ghost: A Long Way Home, his first feature film, blending ethnographic study, family archive and live-action film about Portuguese mythology. Judith Auffray’s observational A House [+see also:
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]
, revolving around an association that helps young people with autism to nurture their independence, received a Special Mention along with the Student Jury Award. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose films Coronation and Vivos [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(which in fact received a Special Mention in the Testimonies section) screened during the festival, was honoured with the Award for Contribution to World Cinema.

The festival is running until 8 November and is available to international viewers, who can watch a selection of the films from the line-up on the DAFilms platform.

Here is the full list of winners of the 24th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival:

Opus Bonum

Best World Documentary Film 2020
White on White [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Viera Čákanyová (Slovakia/Czech Republic)
Special Mention
A Man Leaning [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Marie-Violaine Brincard and Olivier Dury (France)

Between the Seas

Best Central and East European Documentary Film 2020
Latvian Coyote – Ivan Zvieris (Latvia)
Special Mention
THE LAST IMAGE – Judith Zdesar (Austria)

Between the Seas Student Film Competition
Time Is – Zaur Kourazov (Belgium/Russia)

Czech Joy

Best Czech Documentary Film 2020
A New Shift [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Jindřich Andrš (Czech Republic)
Special Mention
Wolves at the Borders [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Martin Páv (Czech Republic)

Student Jury Award
Traces of a Landscape [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
– Petr Záruba (Czech Republic/Italy)

First Lights

Best Feature-Length Documentary Debut Film 2020
Ghosts: A Long Way Home – Tiago Siopa (Portugal)
Special Mention
A House – Judith Auffray (France/Switzerland)

Student Jury Award
A House – Judith Auffray

Fascinations

Best Experimental Documentary Film 2020
We Are Without – SJ Ramir (Australia/New Zealand)
Special Mention
Baroque Femina (Nr.7-11) – Péter Lichter (Hungary)

Fascinations: Exprmntl.cz

Best Czech Experimental Documentary Film 2020
Catastrophe – Zbyněk Baladrán (Czech Republic)
Special Mentions
Sparkly shiny brightly see, kaleidoscope grows from ears – Tereza Chudáčková and Klára Ondračková (Czech Republic)
Nobody needs to know about this, he said – Ester Grohová (Czech Republic)

Short Joy

Best Short Documentary Film 2020
First Birthday After the Apocalypse – Farah Hasanbegović (Bosnia and Herzegovina/Hungary)

Testimonies

Best Film Testimony 2020
Oeconomia [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Carmen Losmann
film profile
]
– Carmen Losmann (Germany)
Special Mention
Vivos [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Ai Weiwei (Germany/Mexico)

Contribution to World Cinema Award 2020
Ai Weiwei

Silver Eye Awards 2020 (awarded by the Institute of Documentary Film)

Silver Eye Award Feature-Length Category 2020
A New Shift – Jindřich Andrš

Silver Eye Award for Best Short Documentary 2020
Son of the Streets – Mohammed Almughanni (Poland/Lebanon)
Special Mention
To Feather, to Wither – Hanna Hovitie (Hungary)

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