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SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2021 Awards

The hybrid edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest 2021 hands out its gongs

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- The award-winning European films included the co-productions Equatorial Constellations by Silas Tiny and Ali and His Miracle Sheep by Mayhem Ridha

The hybrid edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest 2021 hands out its gongs
UK Competition winner Ali and His Miracle Sheep by Maythem Ridha

After having to split the festival into two separate online and in-person parts in pandemic-ridden 2020, Sheffield Doc/Fest returned to its typical June dates (4-13) this year, this time with a full online component to add to its physical screenings. Saturday’s awards capped off a successful second year at the helm for new festival director Cintia Gil, where many of the gathering’s typical features, including its pitching sessions with major broadcasters and filmmaker Q&As, were able to return in a more expansive way.

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The nine main awards of the festival were announced on the closing night, ahead of the world premiere of Northern Irish documentarian Mark CousinsThe Story of Looking [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, an adaptation of his book, which recounts the surgery to restore his eyesight.

Best Film in the International Competition was awarded to Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! by Brazilian indigenous filmmakers Isael Maxakali and Sueli Maxakali, and the Special Jury Award to Equatorial Constellations by Silas Tiny, a film focusing on the humanitarian efforts of São Tomé and Príncipe, the former Portuguese colony, in 1967 as it assisted the state of Biafra with its military conflict against its own former coloniser, Nigeria. The prizewinners were selected by a jury made up of curator Karen Alexander, Peruvian cinematographer Inti Briones, Colombian-Brazilian filmmaker Paula Gaitan, Japanese festival director Hiroko Tasaka and German-based Italian programmer Sergio Fant.

The UK Competition was notable for including a bevy of short and medium-length works among the features, and this was duly reflected in the awardees. Best Film went to the Iraq-set Ali and His Miracle Sheep, a 25-minute short by Maythem Ridha. Portrait of Kaye by Ben Reed, a touching study of a woman’s agoraphobia, won the Special Jury Award. The jurors for this strand were US-based curator Ashley Clark, critic Wood Lin, writer Keiko Sei, and filmmakers Leonor Teles and Campbell X.

Here is the full list of prizewinners:

International Competition

Best Film
Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! - Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali, Carolina Canguçu, Roberto Romero (Brazil)

Special Jury Award
Equatorial Constellations - Silas Tiny (Portugal/São Tomé and Príncipe)

Special Mentions
Summer - Vadim Kostrov (Russia)
Double Layered Town / Making a Song to Replace Our Positions - Komori Haruka, Seo Natsumi (Japan)

UK Competition

Best Film
Ali and His Miracle Sheep - Maythem Ridha (Iraq/UK)

Special Jury Award
Portrait of Kaye - Ben Reed (UK)

Special Mention
The Battle of Denham Ford - Bradley & Bradley (UK)

Other awards

The Tim Hetherington Award
The Silence of the Mole - Anais Taracena (Guatemala)

Special Mention
Nũhũ Yãg Mũ Yõg Hãm: This Land Is Our Land! - Isael Maxakali, Sueli Maxakali, Carolina Canguçu, Roberto Romero

Youth Jury Award
If God Were a Woman - Angélica Cervera (Colombia)

Award for Best First Feature
Fixed Barricade at Hamdalaye Crossing - Thomas Bauer (Guinea/France)

Special Mention
Charm Circle - Nira Burstein (USA)

Short Film Award
Barataria - Julie Nguyen Van Qui (France/Spain)

Special Mention
Homage to the Work of Philip Henry Gosse - Pablo Martin Weber (Argentina)

Audience Award
Charm Circle - Nira Burstein

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