2018 WINNERS

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE 

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

 

BEST DOCUMENTARY

NOWHERE TO HIDE
Director: Zaradasht Ahmed
Producers: Mette Cheng Munthe-Kaas; Co-Producers: Stina Gardell & Hans Husum
2016 | 86 mins | Iraq

Nowhere to Hide follows male nurse Nori Sharif through five years of dramatic change, providing unique access into one of the world’s most dangerous and inaccessible areas – the “triangle of death” in central Iraq. Initially filming stories of survivors and the hope of a better future as American and Coalition troops retreat from Iraq in 2011, conflicts continue with Iraqi militias, and the population flees accompanied by most of the hospital staff.

Nori is one of the few who remain. When ISIS advances on Jalawla in 2014 and takes over the city, he too must flee with his family at a moment’s notice, and turns the camera on himself.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

BIG SONIA
Director: Leah Warshawski, Todd Soliday
Producers: Leah Warshawski
2016 | 93 mins | USA

For years, Sonia Warshawski (90) has been an inspirational public speaker at schools and prisons, where her stories of surviving the Holocaust as a teenager have inspired countless people who once felt their own traumas would leave them broken forever. But when Sonia is served an eviction notice for her iconic tailor shop (in a dead mall), she’s confronted with an agonizing decision: either open up a new shop, or retire. For a woman who admits she stays busy “to keep the dark parts away”, facing retirement dredges up fears she’d long forgot she had, and her horrific past resurfaces. BIG SONIA explores what it means to be a survivor and how this affects families and generations. Will you let your trauma define you? Or will your past make you stronger?

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & ETHOS JURY PRIZE WINNER

THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN
Director: Julia Dahr
Producers: Hugh Hartford
2017 | 90 mins | Kenya, Norway, France

Five years ago Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, started to use his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the damages of climate change. When a violent storm throws him and a Norwegian filmmaker together we see him transform from a father, to a community leader and activist on the global stage.

 

BEST EDITING

THE BLOOD IS AT THE DOORSTEP
Director: Erik Ljung
Producers: Erik Ljung
2017 | 91 mins | USA

On April 30, 2014, Dontre Hamilton, a black, unarmed man diagnosed with schizophrenia, was shot 14 times and killed by a Milwaukee police officer responding to a wellness check in Red Arrow Park.

Filmed over the course of three years in the direct aftermath of Dontre’s death, this intimate verite documentary follows his family as they channel their grief into community organizing in an attempt to reset the narrative. Offering a painfully realistic glimpse inside a movement born out of tragedy in what the Hollywood Reporter calls “An urgent report from the front lines of an American crisis.”

 

BEST SOUND EDITING

CITY OF GHOSTS
Director: Matthew Heineman
Producers: Matthew Heineman
2016 | 90 mins | Syria, USA

CITY OF GHOSTS follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” – a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014. This is the story of a group of citizen journalists as they face the realities of life undercover, on the run, and in exile, risking their lives to stand up against one of the greatest evils in the world today.

 


DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY & BEST DIRECTOR

GIRL-HEARTED
Director: Anne Scheschonk
Producers: Anne Scheschonk
2017 | 37 mins | USA

It’s quite plain to 7 year old Nori: She is a girl, because she has a girl’s heart. But her body is that of a boy.

Five years ago: Each and every day mother and son argue about what appears trivial: the colours of pants and shirts suddenly matter, soon all he agrees to wear are skirts and dresses, he likes to put barrettes in his still short hair. The neighbours start gossiping. Then one day, the boy reveals his favourite dream to his mum. A wizard will turn his penis into a vagina so he could be a “real” girl… It’s that day something comes to an end. It’s that day Josephin realises that she doesn’t have a son, that he had never existed – but that there is still a kid, a daughter. It becomes clear to her that she will have to break new ground to see her daughter grow up happily. The documentary GIRL-HEARTED portrays young Nori and her mother’s conflict of enabling her daughter a life worth living out of the norm. A film about being a girl.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & STYLISTIC ACHIEVEMENT JURY PRIZE WINNER

THE MAURITANIA RAILWAY: BACKBONE OF THE SAHARA
Director: Macgregor
Producers: Macgregor
2017 | 12 mins | Spain

The Mauritania Railway is a 704-kilometer line linking the iron-mining center of Zouerat with the port of Nouadhibou. Atop a hopper car, we journey through vast Saharan landscapes with the people who rely on the train for their survival.

 

BEST EDITING & BEST SOUND EDITING

NOBODY DIES HERE
Director: Simon Panay
Producer: Simon Panay
2016 | 24 mins| Benin

Perma gold mine, Benin. Some dream to find something, others realized there was nothing to be found. Some dig relentlessly hoping to become rich, others died in the process. And a few of them say that here, nobody dies.

 

STUDENT CHOICE AWARD (NEW ROADS)

HOTEL U.S.A.
Director: Andrea Meller
Producers: Andrea Meller & Marisa Pearl
2016 | 11 mins | USA

A roadside motel in Newark New Jersey harbors refugees during their first night in America. “Hotel U.S.A.” captures a group of newcomers during their first moments in the country, exploring the sense of loss and hope that pervades the refugee experience.

 


JURY PRIZES – DOCUMENTARY

LENS TO ACTION (Sponsored by Vena Cava)

A PLASTIC OCEAN
Director: Craig Leeson
Producers: Adam Leipzig, Jo Ruston
2016 | 102 mins | USA, China

A PLASTIC OCEAN begins when journalist Craig Leeson, searching for the elusive blue whale, discovers plastic waste in what should be pristine ocean. In this adventure documentary, Craig teams up with free diver Tanya Streeter and an international team of scientists and researchers, and they travel to twenty locations around the world over the next four years to explore the fragile state of our oceans, uncover alarming truths about plastic pollution, and reveal working solutions that can be put into immediate effect.

 

ETHOS (Sponsored by Black Magic Design) 

THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN
Director: Julia Dahr
Producers: Hugh Hartford
2017 | 90 mins | Kenya, Norway, France

Five years ago Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer, started to use his camera to capture the life of his family, his village and the damages of climate change. When a violent storm throws him and a Norwegian filmmaker together we see him transform from a father, to a community leader and activist on the global stage.

 

TRANSPARENCY (Sponsored by Black Magic Design) 

DEAD DONKEYS FEAR NO HYENAS
Director: Joakim Demmer
Producers: Margarete Jangård (Sweden); Co-Producer: Heino Deckert , Ma.ja.de Produktions (Germany); Co-Producer: John Webster , JW Documentaries (Finland)
2017 | 80 mins | Ethiopia

Farmland – the new green gold. Hoping for export revenues, Ethiopia’s government leases millions of hectares of farmland to foreign investors. But the dream of prosperity has a dark side where the World Bank plays a very questionable role…Dead Donkeys Fear No Hyenas investigates land grabbing and its impact on people’s lives. Pursuing the truth, we meet investors, development bureaucrats, persecuted journalists, struggling environmentalists and evicted farmers deprived of their land.

 

STYLISTIC ACHIEVEMENT (Sponsored by Black Magic Design) 

THE MAURITANIA RAILWAY: BACKBONE OF THE SAHARA
Director: Macgregor
Producers: Macgregor
2017 | 12 mins | Spain

The Mauritania Railway is a 704-kilometer line linking the iron-mining center of Zouerat with the port of Nouadhibou. Atop a hopper car, we journey through vast Saharan landscapes with the people who rely on the train for their survival.

 


VIRTUAL REALITY / 360

BEST VR EXPERIENCE & IMMERSIVE IMPACT JURY PRIZE WINNER

SEA PRAYER
Director: Francesca Panetta
Producers: Nicole Jackson, Anrick Bregman
2017 | 7 mins | UK

Inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, Khaled Hosseini, the novelist and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, has written an exclusive story brought to life in virtual reality. The night before a potentially fatal journey, a father reflects with his son on their life in Syria before the war – and on their unknown future.

 

BEST DIRECTOR & EXPERIMENTAL ADVOCACY JURY PRIZE WINNER

TESTIMONY
Director: Zohar Kfir
Producers: Zohar Kfir
2017 | 40 mins | USA

Testimony is an interactive documentary for virtual reality that shares the stories of five survivors of sexual assault and their journey to healing. Beyond just a film, Testimony is an advocacy platform to allow the public to bear witness to those who have been silenced. The Brock Turner case, Bill Cosby’s sexual assaults and Bill O’Reilly’s harassment of women are three recent examples that have helped create the perfect storm of public outcry over sexual assault and issues around consent. Despite persistent victim-shaming and the discounting of their experiences, survivors are increasingly coming forward, empowering one another to become agents of change and hope. Testimony is an interactive investigation that aims to tackle the obstacles women and men still need to overcome in order to report assault and confront the legal system. The goal of Testimony is to inspire those who have been silenced to speak out, while building courage amongst survivors. Witness these powerful testimonies and help us shatter the silence.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY & JOURNALISTIC ACHIEVEMENT JURY PRIZE WINNER

BEHIND THE FENCE
Director: Lindsay Branham
Producers: Fortify Rights, Jack Sadak
2016 | 8 mins | Burma

Behind the Fence is a 360 virtual reality documentary that looks inside the 5×5 square mile camp that imprisons the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and investigates the extremist Buddhists who propagate virulent anti-Muslim sentiment across the country.

​This is the first virtual reality film to document the Rohingya, who are surviving a Buddhist-led campaign to eliminate them.

 

BEST EDITING

LIMBO
Director: Shehani Fernando
Producers: Francesca Panetta
2016 | 7 mins | UK

What is it like to flee your home and start again in a new country? Asylum seekers live on £5 a day while they wait to hear whether they can stay in the UK. This exclusive Guardian virtual reality film allows you to experience how this period of limbo feels, waiting for a decision that will affect the rest of your life.

 

BEST SOUND EXPERIENCE

SANCTUARIES OF SILENCE
Director:Adam Loften, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Producers: Adam Loften, Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
2017 | 7 mins | USA

Silence just might be on the verge of extinction and acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton believes that even the most remote corners of the globe are impacted by noise pollution. In “Sanctuaries of Silence,” join Hempton on an immersive listening journey into Olympic National Park, one of the quietest places in North America.

 


JURY PRIZES – VIRTUAL REALITY

JOURNALISTIC ACHIEVEMENT (Sponsored by Adobe)

BEHIND THE FENCE
Director: Lindsay Branham
Producers: Fortify Rights, Jack Sadak
2016 | 8 mins | Burma

Behind the Fence is a 360 virtual reality documentary that looks inside the 5×5 square mile camp that imprisons the Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar, and investigates the extremist Buddhists who propagate virulent anti-Muslim sentiment across the country.

​This is the first virtual reality film to document the Rohingya, who are surviving a Buddhist-led campaign to eliminate them.

 

IMMERSIVE IMPACT (Sponsored by Adobe) 

SEA PRAYER
Director: Francesca Panetta
Producers: Nicole Jackson, Anrick Bregman
2017 | 7 mins | UK

Inspired by the story of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, Khaled Hosseini, the novelist and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, has written an exclusive story brought to life in virtual reality. The night before a potentially fatal journey, a father reflects with his son on their life in Syria before the war – and on their unknown future.

 

EXPERIMENTAL ADVOCACY (Sponsored by Adobe)

TESTIMONY
Director: Zohar Kfir
Producers: Zohar Kfir
2017 | 40 mins | USA

Testimony is an interactive documentary for virtual reality that shares the stories of five survivors of sexual assault and their journey to healing. Beyond just a film, Testimony is an advocacy platform to allow the public to bear witness to those who have been silenced. The Brock Turner case, Bill Cosby’s sexual assaults and Bill O’Reilly’s harassment of women are three recent examples that have helped create the perfect storm of public outcry over sexual assault and issues around consent. Despite persistent victim-shaming and the discounting of their experiences, survivors are increasingly coming forward, empowering one another to become agents of change and hope. Testimony is an interactive investigation that aims to tackle the obstacles women and men still need to overcome in order to report assault and confront the legal system. The goal of Testimony is to inspire those who have been silenced to speak out, while building courage amongst survivors. Witness these powerful testimonies and help us shatter the silence.

 


IMPACT VIDEO AWARDS

HUMANITAS 

A CHANCE TO SEE AGAIN
Director: Brent Stirton & Robert Wilson
Producer: Pam Huling
2016 | 6 mins | Namibia, Mbala

This short film profiles Dr. Helena Ndume, an internationally renowned Namibian ophthalmologist who has performed sight-restoring surgeries upon 35,000 Namibians, completely free of charge.

 

CREATIVE ACTIVISM

73 QUESTIONS
Director: Leah Nichols
Producer: Leah Nichols
2017 | 10 mins | USA

A 73-question interview with Steve Jones about being on the streets of San Francisco.

 


JURY PRIZES – IMPACT VIDEO CATEGORY

IMPACT

THE TYRANNY OF DISTANCE
Director: Gabriel Diamond, Matthew Beighley
Producer: Gabriel Diamond
2017 | 9 mins | Liberia

Fifteen years of civil war in Liberia has resulted in one of the world’s worst doctor shortages and cut off the country’s rural poor from basic healthcare. Community health workers trained and equipped by the non-profit Last Mile Health are working to deliver lifesaving health services to the 1.2 million Liberians living in the most remote reaches of the country.

 

INNOVATION (Sponsored by Rebelhouse)

A RIDE TO REMEMBER
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producers: Sinéad O’Mara, John Dwight, Greg Rutter
2017 | 10 mins | Sweden

For the past three years, researchers in Sweden have been experimenting with a stationary bike that takes dementia patients on virtual trips down memory lane. The bike is surrounded by a Google Street View display, allowing the “biker” to pedal down any street. Elder care centers in Northern Europe have been using it to give memory-loss patients the opportunity to return to their old neighborhoods. Remarkably, revisiting familiar locations from the past brings up forgotten memories and allows patients to share stories that their families didn’t even know. It turns out that sometimes, what is lost can be found again.

 


SPECIAL MENTIONS – DOCUMENTARY FEATURE CATEGORY

A CAMBODIAN SPRING
Director: Chris Kelly
Producers: Chris Kelly, Bob Moore, Edwina Forkin, Christopher Hird
2017 | 121 mins | Cambodia

A Cambodian Spring” is an intimate and unique portrait of three people caught up in the chaotic and often violent development that is shaping modern-day Cambodia. Shot over six years, the film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the ‘Cambodian spring’ and the tragic events that followed. This film is about the complexities – both political and personal, of fighting for what you believe in.

 

PLASTIC CHINA
Director: Jiu-Liang Wang
Producers: Ruby Chen
2016 | 82 mins | China

Yi-Jie, an 11-year-old girl, works alongside her parents in a recycling facility while dreaming of attending school. Kun, the facility’s ambitious foreman, dreams of a better life. Through the eyes and hands of those who handle its refuse, an examination of global consumption and culture.

 

THE WORKERS CUP
Director: Adam Sobel
Producers: Ramzy Haddad, Rosie Garthwaite
2017 | 89 mins | Qatar

The Workers Cup is set inside the labor camps of Qatar, where the World Cup is being built on the backs of 1.6 million migrant workers. The film follows a team of laborers living a real-life version of fantasy football. By day they sweat to build the World Cup; by night they compete in a “workers welfare” football tournament, playing in the same stadiums that will one day host the world’s greatest players.

We join one team of men from Nepal, India, Ghana, and Kenya whose only common ground is their love for football. Each match offers them a momentary escape from the homesickness and isolation they endure as the lowest class in the world’s richest country.

 


SPECIAL MENTIONS – DOCUMENTARY SHORT CATEGORY

MASQUERADING: TO HELL AND BACK
Director: Sofia de Fay
Producers: Sofia de Fay
2017 | 14 mins | Western Cape, South Africa

“Masquerading or impersonating a woman” during Apartheid, was considered an illegal offence and punishable with six months hard labor in prison in South Africa. The two Cape Colored Drag Queens, Sandra and Samantha, were locked up in prison and sentenced to hard labor, but they survived to became Divas and achieve legendary status in the clubs of the Cape. The two hilarious and stylish drag queens reflect on their complex friendship and remember with humor some tragic moments. Sandy hosts and organizes the beauty pageant called “Miss Gay Legend” designed for the over 40 drag queens. The film weaves their story and their unique relationship with a disabled drag queen called Balletjies or little balls. Balletijes also enters the gay pageant.

 

INDIA’S WUSHU WARRIOR GIRL
Director: Jayisha Patel
Producers: Aloke Devichand (Senior Commissioning Producer for Al Jazeera English); Fiona Lawson-Baker (Executive Producer for Al Jazeera English); Hugh Hartford (Producer for Banyak Films)
2016 | 25 mins | India

Fareeha is a 14-year-old Muslim schoolgirl who dreams of becoming a champion fighter. Her school in southern India started teaching the Chinese martial art, wushu, amid rising concerns about violence against women. Fareeha soon falls in love with the sport and qualifies for the national championships. But her family decides she can’t go, deeming it inappropriate for a girl to fight in public. Fareeha negotiates these complex issues at home, and wins them over. She emerges the winner in her category and has a clear message: “Girls should get the same freedom boys do. We can do everything they can.”

 

THE WORLD IS ROUND SO THAT NOBODY CAN HIDE IN THE CORNERS – PART 1: REFUGE
Director: Leandro Goddinho
Producers: Leandro Goddinho
2017 | 13 mins | Germany

The journey of an African gay refugee seeking asylum in Germany.

Integrate v. [ˈˈin-tə-ˌgrāt]
1. combine (one thing) with another to form a whole.
2. bring into equal participation in a social group or institution.
Refuge n. [ˈref.juːdʒ]
(a place that gives) protection or shelter from danger, trouble, unhappiness.


SPECIAL MENTIONS – VIRTUAL REALITY/360 CATEGORY

AFTER SOLITARY
Director: Cassandra Herrman, Lauren Mucciolo
Producers: Nonny de la Pena and Raney Aronson
2017 | 9 mins | USA

“After Solitary” is a groundbreaking virtual reality experience that places the viewer physically and emotionally inside an otherwise inaccessible world. Marrying cutting edge photogrammetry technology that places users inside of two photorealistic 3D scanned environments, including a solitary confinement cell, with videogrammetry capture that allows users to meet former inmate Kenny Moore, the experience pushes the boundaries of immersive storytelling, while exploring what virtual reality can bring to journalism.

 

THE ARK
Director: Kel O’Neill & Eline Jongsma
Producers: Brandon Zamel, Katie Thompson, Josh Ludmir, Eline Jongsma, Kel O’Neill, Claudia Dibbs
2016 | 7 mins | USA, Kenya

The northern white rhinoceros is the most endangered animal on the planet. Only three remain, and they are protected at all times by armed bodyguards. “The Ark” is a virtual reality documentary that puts viewers face-to-face with the last northern white rhinos, and tells the story of the global coalition scientists who are fighting to rescue the species from extinction.

 


SPECIAL MENTIONS – IMPACT VIDEO CATEGORY

CREATING GENDER INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS
Director: Jonathan Skurnik
Producers: Jonathan Skurnik
2016 | 21 mins | USA

What happens when you bring gender training to a public elementary school? In Creating Gender Inclusive Schools the Peralta Elementary School in Oakland, CA demonstrates the power of an open and honest conversation about gender.

 

STREET WORKERS UNITE!
Director: Gabriel Diamond, Matthew Beighley
Producer: Gabriel Diamond
2017 | 8 mins | India

India’s street vendors and rickshaw drivers are among the country’s most vulnerable citizens. For years they’ve lived and worked without legal protections and without access to financial services, and have been subject to harassment by the police, the mafia, and others. NIDAN is working to change all that by organizing them to stand up for their own rights and stop “feeding milk to the snake.”

 

ABBEVILLE – LYNCHING IN AMERICA
Director: Juan Mejia
Producer: Equal Justice Initiative, Human Pictures
2017 | 7 mins | USA

The extraordinary journey of a family overcoming a century of silence to expose the truth. Produced with the Equal Justice initiative, this is a film about the importance of commemorating, remembering and disrupting history. As Bryan Stevenson states, we won’t be able to move forward until we acknowledge our history and address it.