Scandalous Swedish doc The Raft wins CPH:DOX
by Jan Lumholdt
- The winners of the 15th edition of CPH:DOX were announced at the awards ceremony at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen on Friday 23 March
The winners of the 15th edition of CPH:DOX were made public at the awards ceremony that took place at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen on Friday 23 March. “I find something beautiful in human ambitions that fail to reach their originally envisioned goals. A closer look at such a scenario will give you new perspectives, new threads, new levels. I find it all very interesting from an artistic point of view,” said Swedish director Marcus Lindeen in a recent interview for national Swedish radio station SR. The director, who previously portrayed two regretful sex changers in Regretters (2010), now continues his quest for radical endeavours gone astray in The Raft [+see also:
interview: Marcus Lindeen
film profile], this year's top prize winner in the main competition at CPH:DOX.
Lindeen, born in 1980 and with a background in journalism and theatre, came across some old news clips that aroused his curiosity, reporting on a slightly “scandalous” expedition back in 1973. It all took place aboard a raft called the Acali, carrying six men and six women from the Canary Islands to Mexico. The enabler, instigator and aggressor was a man called Santiago Genovés (1923-2013), a Mexican anthropologist and seasoned seafarer through several Thor Heyerdahl expeditions, whose aim was to conduct a social experiment “on violence, aggression, sex and group behaviour” and painstakingly document it all in diaries, in questionnaires and on film. In The Raft, Lindeen juxtaposes the original material with brand-new interviews with the crew members, brought together for the first time since the experiment aboard the “Sex Raft”, as it was known in the media in its day. “We cannot imagine a better metaphor for what it is we’re all trying to do every day in the documentary field. We’re proud to announce a film that oozes CPH:DOX from all its pores, in its perfect marriage of form and content, of humanity and aesthetics,” ended the exhilarated jury motivation.
Six competitions were held at this year’s CPH:DOX, and five of the victors were selected via a jury, one by the audience. The winner of the F:ACT Award, “dedicated to investigative and socially committed films”, was Laila at the Bridge (Canada/Afghanistan) by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei, a portrait of philanthropy through an Afghan woman who devotes her life to treating heroin addicts in contemporary Kabul. The Nordic:Dox Award went to the Danish-Greenlandic title Lykkelænder [+see also:
film profile] by Danish visual artist Lasse Lau, an exploration of the relationship between Greenland and Denmark, and its fantasies and myths.
The recipient of the Next:Wave Award, “for new and emerging talents”, was Beautiful Things [+see also:
film profile] by Italian directors Giorgio Ferrero and Federico Biasin, the New:Vision Award was given to Wild Relatives [+see also:
film profile] (Germany/Lebanon/Norway) by Jumana Manna, and the Politiken Audience Award, courtesy of newspaper Politiken, went to False Confessions (Denmark/Germany), directed by Katrine Philp.
Special Mentions were bestowed upon América by Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside (USA; main competition), Translations by Tinne Zenner (Greenland/Canada/Denmark; New:Vision Award), The Night [+see also:
film profile] by Steffan Strandberg (Sweden/Norway; Nordic:Dox Award) and Minding the Gap by Bing Liu (USA; Next:Wave Award).
Here is the full list of winners:
Laila at the Bridge – Elizabeth Mirzaei, Gulistan Mirzaei (Canada/Afghanistan)
Politiken Audience Award
False Confessions – Katrine Philp (Denmark/Germany)
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