When Spring Came to Bucha crowned as champion at the sixth AJB DOC
- Other winners at the Bosnian documentary gathering included My Name Is Happy, Pure Unknown and Flotation
The sixth edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival has concluded with a short awards ceremony, followed by the screening of Viktor Portel’s film The Investigator [+see also:
interview: Viktor Portel
film profile] at the Bosnian Cultural Centre, located in the very heart of Sarajevo. This year’s edition showcased 24 films in five categories, 13 of them in competition, in the presence of about 5,000 viewers in total. Other than screenings, the festival also hosted the second edition of the AJD Industry Days (see the news on the awards), the traditional Al Jazeera Media Network smartphone documentary film-production training workshop held by video journalist Faris Bajrić, and a panel titled “Role of Film and Art in Remembrance Culture: Rwandan, Uyghur and Bosnian Perspectives”, realised in co-operation with the Oyoun Cultural Centre in Berlin.
The jury, consisting of filmmakers Vitaly Mansky, Bernadett Tuza-Ritter and Nermin Hamzagić, as well as producers Vanja Jambrović and Mohamed Elmongy, singled out the best of the competition films. The AJB DOC Main Award for the best film was thus presented to When Spring Came to Bucha by Mila Teshaieva and Marcus Lenz. “We are awarding the main prize to a film that, in a very emotional, realistic, delicate and subtle way, portrays a true human tragedy that we witness in the news every day. The directors approached the topic with dignity and deep respect,” the jury stated in their explanation.
In addition to handing out the Main Award, the jury also singled out two films for Special Mentions. Valentina Cicogna and Mattia Colombo’s Pure Unknown [+see also:
film profile] was commended for the filmmakers’ powerful cinematic approach in depicting the heroic struggle of one individual against the entire system, observing the efforts of forensic anthropologist Cristina Cattaneo to identity the bodies that arrive in her autopsy room. The second Special Mention was bestowed upon Alesandra Tatić and Eluned Zoë Aiano’s Flotation. “We are presenting this special recognition to a multi-layered and poetic portrait of a society trapped in socio-economic transition, haunted by demons and torn between two realities: the harsh present and an uncertain future,” emphasised the jury.
The Al Jazeera Balkans Program Jury Award, deliberated on by festival programmers Lejla Dedić, Sead Kreševljaković and Đani Hasečić, was presented to Nick Read and Ayse Toprak for their film My Name Is Happy [+see also:
interview: Nick Read and Ayse Toprak
film profile]. The movie tells the incredible story of Mutlu Kayi (Mutlu means “happy” in Turkish), a rising Turkish pop star who narrowly escaped femicide. “This exceptionally important documentary film sheds light on the pressing issue of femicide and underscores the significance of fighting violence against women. At the same time, the film evokes empathy and compassion, strengthens resilience and nurtures hope,” the jury stated.
The Audience Award will be handed out in the next few days, once all of the votes have been counted.
Here is the full list of award winners:
AJB DOC Main Award
When Spring Came to Bucha – Mila Teshaieva, Marcus Lenz (Ukraine/Germany)
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