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Leonard Retel Helmrich – Position Among the Stars

Leonard Retel Helmrich’s Position Among the Stars, the film that opened the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, won both the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary and the Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary. This is the first time ever at IDFA that a director has won the award for feature-length documentary twice: Retel Helmrich also won in 2004 with The Shape of the Moon.

A Special Jury Award as given to directors Luc Coté and Patricio Henriquez for You Don’t Like the Truth – 4 Days inside Guantánamo (Canada). The film is about the case of Omar Khadr, who ended up incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay at the age of sixteen and is based on recordings of his interrogation.

Boris Gerrets received the NTR IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary for People I Could Have Been and Maybe Am (the Netherlands), in which the director attempts to break through the anonymity of the big city by filming conversations with strangers on the streets of London with his mobile phone.

The IDFA Award for First Appearance was presented to Monster Jimenez for Kano: An American and His Harem (the Philippines), about an American who assembled a harem for himself in the Philippines and is now in prison for rape. Nevertheless, his many wives stick by him.

The Dioraphte IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary went to Leonard Retel Helmrich for Position Among the Stars.

The Public Broadcaster IDFA Audience Award went to Lucy Walker’s Waste Land (UK/Brazil), about art photographer Vik Muniz, who is making a series of photographs of refuse scavengers at the world’s biggest refuse dump, in Rio de Janeiro.

Eva Küpper received the IDFA Award for Student Documentary for What’s in a Name (Belgium). The film is about New York body art performer Jon Cory and his sexual ambivalence: explicit performances he calls ‘gender terrorism’.

The Hyves IDFA DOC U Award went to Autumn Gold (Germany/Austria) by Jan Tenhaven. Autumn Gold follows five extremely aged athletes preparing for a competition in Finland.

The first ever IDFA Award for Best Green Screen Documentary went to Into Eternity (Denmark/Sweden/Finland) by Michael Madsen. The film is an existential message for future generations about Onkalo, a depot deep below the rocky ground, where Finnish nuclear waste is to be permanently stored.

An honorable mention was given to The Pipe (Ireland) by Risteard Ó Domhnaill about resistance by local activists on the west coast on the Irish west coast to the construction of a gas pipe line by multinational Shell.

Another first this year, the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling was presented to HIGHRISE/Out My Window (Canada) by Katerina Cizek. HIGHRISE/Out My Window portrays apartments and their inhabitants in thirteen world cities through 360-degree images.


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