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Last Men in Aleppo came first at Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX Film Festival

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- The Danish Sundance winner, which opened the documentary competition, “plunged us into a Shakespearean tragedy”, according to the jury

Last Men in Aleppo came first at Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX Film Festival
Directors Feras Fayyad (centre) and Steen Johannessen picking up their award for Last Men in Aleppo (© Hjalte Abrahamsen)

Produced by Denmark’s Larm Film, Syrian director Feras Fayyad’s Last Men in Aleppo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– which earlier this year received the Grand Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the Sundance International Film Festival – was last week (24 March) handed the top DOX:AWARD at the prize ceremony of Copenhagen’s 14th CPH:DOX International Documentary Film Festival, held in the Charlottenborg Art Gallery.

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Co-directed by Denmark’s Steen Johannessen, Last Men in Aleppo follows three volunteers in the White Helmets rescue service during the Syrian Civil War, and the daily attacks on Aleppo by the Assad regime and the Russians. Khaled, Mahmoud and Subhi run towards the bombsites, while others run away. They are constantly confronted by doubts: should they flee and save their families, or should they stay and try to save lives in the ruins?

“The film’s devastating emotional immediacy plunged us into a Shakespearean tragedy of a people striving to retain their humanity in the face of impossible realities,” said the jury, including US director Joshua Oppenheimer, which gave Special Mentions to US directors Austin Lynch and Matthew Booth’s Gray House, and Danish director Jeppe Rønde’s The John Dalli Mystery [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
.

Another two movies about Syria won prizes in Copenhagen: the first was Dutch director Reber Dosky’s Radio Kobanï, which came out on top by winning the F:ACT Award – it follows a strong 21-year-old woman’s efforts for her local radio station in the war-torn Syrian city of Kobanï. Secondly, US director Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts, which describes how a group of Syrian journalists reports from the ISIS-occupied city of Raqqa under the banner ‘Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently’, took home the Politiken Audience Award.

In total, the festival screened 200 films, 75 of them world premieres. Earlier in the gathering (23 March), also at the Charlottenborg Art Gallery, Swedish director Maria Bäck and producer Anna-Maria Kantarius received the €15,000 Eurimages Co-Production Development Award for their Psychosis in Stockholm (Garagefilm International). This year, 29 national and international projects were presented as part of the festival’s finance and co-production programme, which for the fourth time was organised into four categories: FICTIONONFICTION, CINEMA, F:ACT and ART. Besides filmmakers, participants included leading broadcasters ARTE (France/Germany), ZDF, NDR (Germany), the BBC (UK) and DR (Denmark), European film funds and other foundations such as the Ford Foundation, Tribeca Film Institute, Sundance Institute (US), Tate Modern (UK) and Fondation Cartier (France).

Here is the full list of award winners at the 14th CPH:DOX Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival: 

DOX:AWARD
Last Men in Aleppo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
– Feras Fayyad, Steen Johannessen (Denmark/Syria)

F:ACT Award
Radio Kobanï - Reber Dosky (Netherlands) 

NORDIC:DOX Award
Land of the Free – Camilla Magid (Denmark/Finland) 

NEW:VISION Award
Life Imitation – Zhou Chen (China) 

NEXT:WAVE Award
1996 Lucy and the Corpses in the Pool – Marcos Migliavacca, Nahuel Lahora (Argentina) 

Politiken Audience Award
City of Ghosts – Matthew Heineman (USA)

Roma_Lazio_FC
Bridging_the_dragon_Home
 

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