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Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 - Award Winners

An Annotated List of Award Winners at Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013

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Sheffield Doc/Fest 2013 drew to a close on June 16, 2013, with the presentation of the festival's juried awards:

Special Jury Award - The Act of Killing - Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer - Jury Statement: "From its mystical beginning, this film presented to us the celebratory narrative inside people's heads while they are committing unspeakable acts. Despite its uncomfortable length, it revealed a reality of genocide in which we are all complicit. The film leaves you asking more questions than it provides answers and is an important piece of cinema."

Special mention to Mothers - Directed by Xu Huijing - Jury Statement: "The jury wanted to give a special mention to a second film and the discussion was hotly contested. The decision was taken to award a honourable mention to the Chinese film Mothers. This verité film where the filmmaker had gained an extraordinary level of trust with his characters provided a real insight into a rural China that is rarely seen in this unflinching detail." The Special Jury: Krishan Arora (Freelance Producer, UK), Pete McKee (Artist, UK), Shirani Sabaratnan (UKTV, UK ), David Shear (Shear Entertainment, UK), Penny Woolcock (Filmmaker, UK) Sheffield Youth Jury Award - God Loves Uganda - Directed by Roger Ross Williams Jury Statement: "In 2013, kids are activists and revolutions are being started via social media. We've had a long talk about what we young people think makes a good documentary and we decided that it is simply telling a good story and telling it well. There was one film that ticked all of these boxes. Delivering an important message, with humour, tact and humanity, one film stood out from the crowd. That film is, without a shadow of doubt, God Loves Uganda." The Sheffield Youth jury: Simran Hans, Birmingham; Megan Al-Ghailani, Manchester; Chadwick Jackson, Birmingham; Curtis Holland, Sheffield; Ibrahim Ahmed, Sheffield Sheffield Doc/Fest's Inspiration Award: Now in its fourth year, the award was presented to BBC Storyille Editor Nick Fraser. Said Simon Chinn, producer: "I can't think of anyone more deserving of an award for inspiration than Nick Fraser. He has inspired me more than anyone I can think of to make documentaries, to believe documentaries can be the highest form of storytelling, and to be ambitious with them. And I know, from the many filmmakers I meet - both those who are starting out and the more established ones - that he continues to support and inspire filmmakers to do their very best work. We'd all be a lot worse off without him." In accepting the award, Nick Fraser said: "Docs - the great ones, I mean, but also docs in small pieces - have the ability to tell us things we don't know. They're also, in their own way, truthful. And they can have their own worldly beauty. Of course they must be worldly, coming from what we see, but the greatest docs are oddly innocent, too - as if they and we who watch them are seeing things for the first time". The Sheffield Innovation Award - Alma, a Tale of Violence - Directed by Miquel Dewever-Plana and Isabelle Fougère Jury Statement: "We're at a really interesting time in understanding storytelling. We are beyond supporting innovation for the sake of innovation, it's about recognising what audiences are doing and making work that builds on, and stretches that. 
We need to build sustainable models for digital storytelling. The work we liked developed techniques that other storytellers can learn from and use in their work. 
So for this reason we give the Innovation Jury award to Alma: A Tale of Violence." The Sheffield Innovation Jury: Chris Dymond (Digital Creative / UK), Anna Higgs (Film 4 / UK), Majhid Heath (ABC Television / Australia), Matt Lock (The Story , UK), Lina Srivastava (Social Innovation Strategist / USA) The Sheffield Green Award: Pandora's Promise - Directed by Robert Stone - Special mention to Fuck For Forest - Directed by Michał Marczak Jury Statement: "In choosing the winner of the Green Jury, two films stood out as the most provocative and challenging submissions. We decided to give a special mention to Fuck For Forest for its mix of extraordinary access, exceptional creativity and a new voice in documentary filmmaking that challenges the conventions of the form. Our winner though has even greater potential to provoke controversy and debate. If you believe fundamentally in the dangers of nuclear power it encourages you to interrogate that view. Applying techniques more commonly found in left-wing polemic to a seemingly contradictory view, Pandora's Promise is a great piece of filmmaking. It left us with questions and a desire to explore the issues more. Choosing a pro-nuclear film as the winner of the Green Jury may seem odd but it is in shaking our preconceptions that Pandora's Promise is so successful." The Sheffield Green Jury: Louis Bolch, CTVC/UK; Charlotte Cook, Hot Docs, Canada; Michael Christoffersen, Filmmaker, UK; Rajendra Roy, MoMA, USA; Mic Wright, Blogger, UK

Sheffield Student Doc Award: Boys - Directed by Marc Williamson

Jury Statement: "The student competition showed an impressive range in subject and approach. But this particular documentary stood out for two components key to a documentary - remarkable access and sensitivity of approach. Boys is an observational film which follows the struggles of two pupils over a term in a boarding school for boys with emotional and behavioral disorders. There are no interviews in the film and the director shows an impressive ability to shape his self-shot footage to pursue the narrative of the boys' slow progress and the challenges of the staff who try to help them. What emerges is a powerful film which unpeels layers of destructive behaviour to show the vulnerable children beneath. So for grasp of its material, for some gut wrenchingly memorable scenes and deep humanity, this year's student award goes to director Marc Williamson and producer Emma Lamont for Boys" The Student Doc Jury: Dr. Ian Dodgeon The Wellcome Trust, UK; Seb Feehan Next Door Films, UK; Jing Hasse, Nordisk Panorama, Denmark; Cinza Spironello Some Like it Short, Spain, Kate Townsend BBC Storyville, UK Sheffield Short Doc Award : Slomo - Directed by Josh Izenberg - Jury Statement: "The Smalls is an online community of over 7,500 short filmmakers. We are delighted to be a partner of this year's Sheffield Doc/Fest. We really believe in short form filmmaking as a unique medium to tell a small story with big ideas. For us this year's winning short doc, was exactly that. A story of guy, who does what he wants to. A simple idea, from a complex character. A story that takes on one of the oldest paradigms in storytelling, where the jester is the smartest of us all." The Sheffied Short Doc Jury: James Collie November Films, UK; Alisa Ferrier Artficial Eye, UK; Lina Prestwood Channel 4, UK; Syzmon Stemplewski Short Waves, Poland; Kate Trancard The Smalls Film Festival, UK

The Tim Hetherington Award presented by Dogwoof and Doc/Fest: This new award celebrates the life and legacy of photojournalist and humanitarian Tim Hetherington, whose objectives as a filmmaker were to highlight the plight of people so often ignored by the world and mainstream media. A cash-prize of £1,000 was presented to the film in the festival that best reflects Tim Hetherington's legacay. The film was selected by a jury incluing Tim Hetherington's mother, Judith and representatives from Doc/Fest and Dogwoof, the UK distributor of Tim's Oscar-winning Restrepo. The Tim Hetherington Award was given to The Square (Al Midan) - Directed by Jahane Noujaim

The AWFJ EDA award for Best Female-Director awarded by the Alliance of Women Film Journalists - Rafea Solar Mama - Directed by Mona Eldaief and Jehane Noujaim - Jury Statement: "After our deliberations, we have reached a consensus, picking a film about a very compelling lead character, a woman who accepted a challenge, conquered it and changed her world. We simply fell in love with the inspiring Rafea, Solar Mama. And we think Jahane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief rendered her story beautifully on film."

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists also presented a special EDA Award to Sheffield Doc/Fest Director, Heather Croall, naming her 2013's Ambassador of Women's Films, in tribute to her tireless work to boost documentary film and open opportunities for women filmmakers." - The AWFJ Jury: MaryAnn Johanson, flickfilosopher.com; Nikki Baughan, MovieScope Magazine; Katherine McLaughlin, Cinetalk.com; Anne Brodie, Metro Canada; Jennifer Merin, Documentaries.About.com (yes, that's me).

Full details of the festival can be found at the Official Website.

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