email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

DOCAVIV 2023 Awards

Kokomo City and Inbal Perlmutter: If You Let Me Go win big at the 25th Docaviv


- D Smith’s US film has triumphed in the International Competition, while Sharon Luzon and Avigail Sperber’s documentary came out on top in the national one

Kokomo City and Inbal Perlmutter: If You Let Me Go win big at the 25th Docaviv
The team behind Inbal Perlmutter: If You Let Me Go with their award: Sharon Luzon, Guy Lavie and Avigail Sperber (© Yair Kaveh)

The 25th edition of Docaviv, Israel’s biggest celebration of documentary film and the only Israeli festival dedicated exclusively to this genre of cinema, announced its winners during the official awards ceremony that took place on Wednesday 17 May in Tel Aviv. The festival started on 11 May and will continue unspooling until 20 May.

The US documentary Kokomo City, directed by D Smith, triumphed in the International Competition and thus took home the prize of ILS 20,000 (circa €5,000). Smith’s film tells the story of the strange experiences of black trans sex workers in New York and Atlanta, who break every taboo and refuse to be silent. The jury, consisting of documentary filmmakers Marusya Syroechkovskaya and Meital Zvieli as well as former Docaviv director Sinai Abt, praised the movie for its bravery in terms of both its theme and its style, plus the way it celebrates the identity of its marginalised protagonists and gives them a voice. A Special Mention was given to Mstislav Chernov’s documentary 20 Days in Mariupol [+see also:
film review
interview: Mstyslav Chernov
film profile

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

In the National Competition, the Award for Best Film was given to Inbal Perlmutter: If You Let Me Go by Sharon Luzon and Avigail Sperber. The music documentary portrays the titular protagonist, the singer in the influential Israeli 1990s rock band Ha-Mechashefot, who died tragically in a car accident just one day before the band’s comeback concert in 1997. The jury, consisting of filmmakers Paweł Łoziński, Alon Marom and Paul Sng, as well as producer Anath Kandell and international programme coordinator at the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival Angeliki Petrou, commended the filmmakers for “skilfully blending a range of narrative devices to tell a riveting and ultimately tragic story”. The Special Jury Award went to Limor Pinhasov’s My Project X [+see also:
film review
film profile
, while Lies I Told Myself scooped two awards – for Best Directing (Efim Graboy) and Best Editing (Efim Graboy and Yosef Grunfeld).

In the Beyond the Screen sidebar, the award went to Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger, while Angie Vinchito’s Manifesto scooped the Depth of Field Artistic Vision Award in the Depth of Field Competition. Tomasz Ratter and Karolina Karwan’s Moody triumphed in the Shorts Competition, while Yasmine Scheft and Amit Gavish claimed the top prize in the Student Competition for Bella’s Daughter. Finally, Elan Golod’s Nathan-ism pocketed the Yad Vashem Award for Outstanding Holocaust Documentary.

Here is the full list of award winners:

International Competition

Best International Film
Kokomo City – D Smith (USA)
Special Mention
20 Days in Mariupol [+see also:
film review
interview: Mstyslav Chernov
film profile
– Mstislav Chernov (Ukraine)

Israeli Competition

Frank Lowy Award for Best Israeli Documentary Film
Inbal Perlmutter – If You Let Me Go – Sharon Luzon, Avigail Sperber (Israel)

Yosi Kaufman Best Director Award
Efim Graboy – Lies I Told Myself (Israel)

Special Jury Award
My Project X [+see also:
film review
film profile
– Limor Pinhasov (Israel)

Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Award for Best Debut
Nora – Matan Ben Moreh (Israel)

Best Cinematography
Itay Marom – Observation Diary (Israel)

Best Editing
Efim Graboy, Yosef Grunfeld – Lies I Told Myself

Research Award
Lily Yudinsky, Gal Rosenbluth, Janan Bsoul – 1948 – Remember, Remember Not [+see also:
film review
film profile

Felicja Blumental Music Center Award for Best Original Soundtrack
Moshe Daaboul – Radio Propaganda (Israel)

Kadar Foundation Award for Best Israeli Storytelling
Hilla Medalia – Mourning in Lod (Israel)

Beyond the Screen Competition

Beyond the Screen Award
To Kill a Tiger – Nisha Pahuja (Canada)
Special Mention
Kiki – Natan Rushansky (Israel)

Depth of Field Competition

Depth of Field Artistic Vision Award
Manifesto – Angie Vinchito (Russia)
Special Mention
Anhell69 [+see also:
film review
interview: Theo Montoya
film profile
– Theo Montoya (Colombia/Romania/France/Germany)

Shorts Competition

Best Short Film
Moody – Tomasz Ratter, Karolina Karwan (Poland)
Special Mention
Bear – Morgane Frund (Switzerland)

Student Competition in Memory and Honour of Ruthi Gottesman

1st Place
Bella’s Daughter – Yasmine Scheft, Amit Gavish (Israel)

2nd Place
Before Bedtime – Fábio Zilberman Iuncho (Israel)

3rd Place
Labor Pains – Nahar Cohen (Israel)

Moshe Lev Exceptional Cinematography Award
May Abadi Grebler, Maayan Schwartz, Omer Manor, Natan Rushansky, Guy Sahaf – On Parole (Israel)

Moshe Lev Scholarship for Best Editing
Elad Maayan – Golda’s Prince (Israel)

Yad Vashem Award for Outstanding Holocaust Documentary
Nathan-ism – Elan Golod (USA)

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy