DocPoint gives awards to Ruthless Times - Songs of Care and Where Are We Headed
by Marta Bałaga
- The Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, which was forced to move online owing to the Omicron wave, wrapped on 6 February
Over the weekend, Finland’s biggest documentary film festival, DocPoint, presented the best documentary films of the year with the DocPoint-Yle-Award, worth €5,000. The international jury gave out two Special Mentions, while the audience voted for their favourite film in the Audience Ballot, financed by The Documentary Guild.
Susanna Helke’s opening film, Ruthless Times – Songs of Care [+see also:
interview: Susanna Helke
film profile], produced by Road Movies Oy and exploring the state of the Finnish public care sector, was named as the winner of the National Competition, which also featured the likes of It’s Raining Women [+see also:
film profile] and Power of the People.
“The musical documentary that looks into the care of the elderly in a small Finnish community, where the privatisation of the nursing home is looming, echoes the malaise of all ageing societies where the quality of care is often sacrificed in the name of profitability. An avatar of the liberalisation of the health sector, the mistreatment of our elders and caregivers is brilliantly set to music and sung by the chorus of protagonists in this modern tragedy,” argued jurors Elise Jalladeau, Kim Young-woo and Susani Mahadura, who appreciated the director’s approach.
“This is such a great honour that it makes my organs tremble! To think that such a professional international jury has received the film like this is astonishing,” said Helke. “I wondered beforehand how this movie would appeal to those who are not from Finland. How do we take care of every member of society? How do we shoulder the responsibility? I am extremely happy that these themes opened up to the international jury as well.”
While Helke also scooped the Audience Award, Inka Achté’s Golden Land [+see also:
film profile] received a Special Mention. Produced by Napafilms, it tells the story of Finnish-Somalian Mustafa, who returns to Somalia with his family to open a mine on his family’s land. Achté was also appointed as the new head of programming.
“I want to be a part of making a more inclusive and diverse film culture that shakes the audience and makes them realise something new about the world they live in. Therein lies the power of documentary film,” she said.
Ruslan Fedotov’s Where Are We Headed, set in the Moscow Metro, won DocPoint’s International Competition. The jury, it was stated, was impressed by this “colourful portrait of contemporary Russian society”. Fedotov’s film was previously noticed at IDFA. Finally, Jessica Beshir’s Faya Dayi, a story about the intoxicating khat plant, the problems it brings and the cultural significance it has in Ethiopia, received a Special Mention.
The festival programme included 64 domestic and foreign films, which received over 10,000 views in total. The viewership increased by one-third compared to the 2021 festival, which was held online as well.
Here is the full list of winners:
Ruthless Times – Songs of Care [+see also:
interview: Susanna Helke
film profile] - Susanna Helke (Finland)
Golden Land [+see also:
film profile] - Inka Achté (Finland/Sweden/Norway)
Where Are We Headed - Ruslan Fedotov (Russia/Belarus)
Faya Dayi - Jessica Beshir (Ethiopia/USA/Qatar)
Ruthless Times – Songs of Care - Susanna Helke
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