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CANNES 2022 Marché du Film / Awards

A Night of Knowing Nothing and In the Billowing Night are the victors of the 2022 Doc Alliance Awards

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- CANNES 2022: The prizes were handed out during the Doc Day, part of the Marché du Film

A Night of Knowing Nothing and In the Billowing Night are the victors of the 2022 Doc Alliance Awards
A Night of Knowing Nothing by Payal Kapadia

This afternoon, Doc Alliance, a network of seven of the most influential European documentary film festivals, announced the winners of its 15th annual Doc Alliance Awards during the Doc Day at the Cannes Film Festival. The Doc Day is part of Cannes Docs, the Marché du Film’s documentary-focused industry programme.

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The winners of the awards received a sum total of €8,000, intended for the directors to spend on their next efforts (€5,000 for Best Feature and €3,000 for Best Short). Moreover, the Doc Alliance festivals have committed to screening at least three of the nominated films at their upcoming editions. A selection of the nominated films are available to watch on Doc Alliance’s dedicated online platform, DAFilms.com, in select territories.

This year’s event saw the triumph of Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing [+see also:
film review
interview: Payal Kapadia
film profile
]
(France/India), nominated by FIDMarseille and in receipt of the Prize for Best Feature. The film follows L, a university student in India, who writes letters to her estranged lover while he is away. It is through these letters that we get a glimpse into her daily life and the lives of her fellow students, along with the drastic changes taking place around them. Through fragments of L’s observations, an image of Indian youth comes to light. The feature premiered in last year’s Directors’ Fortnight, where it won the L’Œil d’Or for Best Documentary.

In detail, the jury praised Kapadia’s “emotionally and artistically packed documentary full of love letters, to estranged lovers, to the seventh art and to revolutions”, describing the film as “an intimate yet political portrayal of modern Indian youth, all the while observing the alteration of India’s landscapes, its modifications, its need for change, but also its nostalgia”.

Meanwhile, the jury also offered a Special Mention to The Eclipse [+see also:
film review
interview: Nataša Urban
film profile
]
(Norway) by Nataša Urban. The jurors appreciated its “masterful assemblage of intimate audio statements as well as exquisite images”, which have “the ability to take the spectator on a unique mountain hike where one can feel not only at home, but also uneasy”. The feature was nominated by CPH:DOX, where it won the main Dox:Award this year. Using the solar eclipse of 1999 as a metaphor, the Serbian-born, Oslo-based helmer turned her analogue film camera on her family in the former Yugoslavia in a work that maps how a dark past remains embedded in the present.

Finally, the Prize for Best Short went to Erika Etangsalé’s In the Billowing Night (France), also nominated by FIDMarseille. Retracing the footsteps of her ancestors and questioning her identity through the story of her father, the debuting filmmaker tells the viewer “a story of silence, dark dreams, mysterious pain and muted violence”. Shooting her movie on Réunion Island and in Mâcon, the documentarian elicits a voice that recalls the memory of slavery and the whiff of colonialism from a not-so-distant policy, which remains a blind spot in French history.

For these awards, each festival nominates one feature-length film and one short by an emerging filmmaker from their most recent line-up. The winners are chosen by a jury of seven international film critics, also selected by the festivals.The jurors for the 2022 edition were Leila Basma (Ji.hlava IDFF), Frederik Bojer Bové (CPH:DOX), Esther Buss (DOK Leipzig), Nepheli Gambade (FIDMarseille), Nicolas Wadimoff (Visions du Réel), Michał Walkiewicz (Millennium Docs Against Gravity) and Cineuropa’s own Teresa Vieira (Doclisboa).

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