Poet on a Business Trip and 4.7 win at ZagrebDox
by Vladan Petkovic
- The Chinese documentary has triumphed in the international competition, while Djuro Gavran's short is the first Croatian film to win the regional one
Chinese filmmaker Ju Anqi's Poet on a Business Trip won the main award, the Big Stamp, in the international competition of the 12th International Documentary Film Festival ZagrebDox (21-28 February). Following an acclaimed poet on his journey to the autonomous region of Xinjiang, the director shows those aspects of modern China that are rarely, if ever, shown in the media. The film also won the NETPAC Award at Rotterdam in 2015.
The jury, consisting of directors Bruno Gamulin and Nino Kirtadzé, and film theorist Nikica Gilić, also gave out two Special Mentions: to Chad Gracia's wonderfully dynamic political-historical investigation The Russian Woodpecker [+see also:
film profile] (UK-US-Ukraine) and the UK's Tell Spring Not to Come This Year [+see also:
interview: Saeed Taji Farouky
film profile], in which directors Saeed Taji Farouky and Michael McEvoy follow the soldiers of the Afghan National Army who took over Helmand province, well known as a Taliban hotspot, after NATO troops had withdrawn.
In the regional competition, for the first time in the festival's history, the Big Stamp went to a Croatian film: Djuro Gavran's 4.7, a 29-minute documentary about an alcoholic who is on probation and under surveillance after being convicted of domestic violence. He goes through rehab, keeps his job and even gets custody of his children.
Special Mentions from the jury comprising director Marcell Gerő, cinematographer Silvestar Kolbas and Sheffield Doc/Fest director of programming Claire Aguilar went to two of last year's festival hits, Vladimir Tomić's Flotel Europa [+see also:
film profile] (Berlinale) and Klára Trencsényi's Train to Adulthood [+see also:
film profile] (DOK Leipzig).
Swiss director Nicolas Steiner received the Little Stamp, awarded to the best director under the age of 35, for Above and Below [+see also:
film profile], which follows three characters from the fringes of society on their trip across the USA. In 2015, the film won awards at the Milan Film Festival and DOK.fest München.
A jury consisting of directors Karpo Godina, Dénes Nagy and Daina O Pusić gave Special Mentions to Serbia's Marko Grba Singh for Abdul and Hamza and to Croatia's Nikica Zdunić for Sanja.
US filmmaker Melissa Langer's 17-minute My Aleppo won the Movies That Matter Award, with Special Mentions going to Women in Sink by Iris Zaki (UK) and Home [+see also:
film profile] by Metod Pevec (Slovenia).
A group of students from a Zagreb high school made up the jury for the Teen Dox Award, giving it to the Brazil-US-Norway-Paraguay co-production Landfill Philharmonic by Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley. Jerzy Sladkowski received the My Generation Award, traditionally decided on by ZagrebDox director Nenad Puhovski, for Don Juan [+see also:
film profile]. Lastly, Sylvain Biegeleisen's Twilight of a Life, the winner of national awards for Best Documentary last year in both of its co-production countries, Israel and Belgium, won the Audience Award.
Here is the complete list of winners:
Poet on a Business Trip – Ju Anqi
The Russian Woodpecker [+see also:
film profile] – Chad Gracia
Tell Spring Not to Come This Year [+see also:
interview: Saeed Taji Farouky
film profile] – Saeed Taji Farouqi, Michael McEvoy
4.7 – Djuro Gavran
Abdul and Hamza – Marko Grba Singh
Sanja – Nikica Zdunić
Movies That Matter
Movies That Matter Award
My Aleppo – Melissa Langer
Teen Dox Award
Landfill Philharmonic – Brad Allgood and Graham Townsley
Twilight of a Life – Sylvain Biegeleisen