The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Awards were given out last night to the winning films; CAMERAPERSON took home the Grand Jury award, and PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW is the winner the Audience Award. See the complete list of winners.
The Sheffield Doc/Fest Grand Jury Award went to CAMERAPERSON directed by Kirsten Johnson (US, 2016).
On behalf of the jury Nino Kirtadze said: “A work that´s both expansive and intimate, formally ambitious and morally humble. Though this filmmaker has travelled the world to tell others stories, her real bravery with this film is when she makes the decision to turn the camera on herself, questioning her own ethical choices and exposing her own personal fragilities. A film unlike any other, intuitively constructed to reflect ideas and choices and emotions, rather than a standard narrative thread, it invites the viewer to contemplate and feel these experiences along with her.”
The Grand Jury Award carries a prize of £2,000
The jury also gave special mention to THE SETTLERS directed by Shimon Dotan. Kirtadze commented, “We wanted to give a special mention to a film that stood out in the competition, a psychological spiral in storytelling that drags you deeper and deeper into the history of this very delicate issue blending together a personal and political story.
The film amazed the jury by its methodical research and incredible access gained over years of filming, it provides a brutally honest portrayal of the settler movement in Israel and as events continue to unfold will be as relevant in 10 years time as it is today.”
The Dr Clifford Shaw Audience Award – named in honor of Dr Clifford Shaw who was a great cinephile and supporter of Doc/Fest and the Sheffield film community and passed away in 2015, went to PRESENTING PRINCESS SHAW directed by Ido Haar (Israel, 2015). The award was collected by Samantha Montgomery, aka Princess Shaw.
The Tim Hetherington Award is awarded to TEMPESTAD directed by Tatiana Huezo (Mexico, 2016). The award carries a £1,000 cash prize.
Judith Hetherington says: “Tempastad documents contemporary human rights abuses against women and is an extraordinary piece of filmmaking with tension, empathy, curiosity and information. All related with steely, uncompromising words and visual poetry… It experiments with the documentary format whilst maintaining a strong personal relationship with its subjects. It’s astounding”.
The Jury also gave a special mention to HOOLIGAN SPARROW.
The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Environmental Award awarded to the documentary that best addresses or raises awareness of the environmental challenges faced by the world, goes to SEED: THE UNTOLD STORY directed by Jon Betz, Taggart Siegel (US, 2016). Jon Betz and Taggart Siegel collected the award and received a £2,000 check.
On behalf of the Environmental Jury Ryan Harrington said: “It was beautifully crafted and creatively and emotionally finds a way to make the audience care about preserving the biodiversity of our planet”.
The Jury also gave a special mention to DEATH BY DESIGN directed by Sue Williams.
“We would like to give a special mention to Death by Design for its daring journalism which truly motivates the viewer to change their consumerism/habits.”
The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Alternate Realities Interactive Award – one of only a few such awards in the documentary world – is NEW DIMENSIONS IN TESTIMONY created by Heather Maio and produced by Stephen Smith for USC Shoah Foundation (USA 2016).
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Shanida Scotland said, “This is not a story, nor a database of video clips. It’s an invitation to have a real and deeply personal conversation with the recording of someone else. The simplicity and fundamental user friendliness make you forget the complexity of the technology and filmmaking beneath it.”
The jury also gave special mention to WALDEN, A GAME
The Storytelling and Innovation Award celebrates compelling stories inspired by science, research and collaborations, told through innovative filmmaking is awarded to NOTES ON BLINDNESS directed by James Spinney, Peter Middleton (UK, France, 2016).
Other awards include the Creative Leadership Award given to honor an individual’s essential contribution to the international documentary industry was awarded to Sheila Nevins, President of HBO Documentary Films.
Award For Unsung Hero In Factual TV to honor a vital, under-the- radar contribution to factual television, was awarded to Jan Tomalin, Managing Director of Media Law Consultancy who has expertly advised almost all of the UK’s top documentary makers, companies and broadcasters on the trickiest editorial matters imaginable – and won the day.
The Whicker’s World Funding Award of £80,000 to under-30s looking to make their first full-length documentary is awarded to Alex Bescoby for BURMA’S LOST ROYALS which centers around a forgotten monarchy and an intriguing quest that threatens to tear a family apart.
The runner’s up prize of £10,000 is awarded to Adam James Smith for AMERICAVILLE – on the pursuit of Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness in a Chinese replica of an American town, right down to lessons in cooking with Jello.
The £4,000 winner of the Whicker’s World Veteran’s Award for veteran first-timers over the age of 50 goes to Keith Earnest Hoult, for Fluechtlinge – REFUGEE.
The judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need’.
Keith a fan of Alan Whicker’s ‘gentle approach’ to interviewing was inspired to create a ten-minute film about Syrians seeking refuge in a disused airport used for the Berlin Airlift. When he witnessed his friend’s wife Caroline trying to help refugees against a growing backlash he ‘felt the urge to film it if only for her family to reflect on later in life’. Keith learnt his filmmaking skills at the SAE Institute after redundancy and divorce turned his life upside-down. Judges were impressed that he made this entirely self-funded film as ‘a simple tale of ordinary people helping other ordinary people at their time of most desperate need’.
The runner up prize of £1,000.00 goes to Reporter /Presenter Norman Fowler for The Truth About Aids: Producer Smita Patel / Editor Hugh Levinson for BBC World Service.
The winner of the first prize Whicker’s World Audio Award of £4,000 goes LITTLE VOLCANOES, recorded, written and produced by Catherine Fitzgerald, sound mix by Matt Thompson and Mike Woolley. A Sky Arts online commission.
Catherine follows the rhythms of a day at Pilgrims Hospice, Margate, from early morning, meeting Claudia the cat at the end of the night shift to the nurse’s final “goodnight” to her patient. We hear conversations with patients as they talk about their illnesses; the things and people they love, and find out that people are Little Volcanoes.
The runner’s up award of £1,000 goes to THE DHAMMAZEDI BELL. Produced by Francesca Pancetta for BBC Radio 3.
The Alternate Realities VR Award celebrates the ever-growing number of high-quality virtual reality documentaries in what has now become a new creative and experiential storytelling genre.
The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Alternate Realities VR Award is NOTES ON BLINDNESS: INTO DARKNESS created by Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney.
On behalf of the all-female jury Ingrid Kopp said, “VR at its best allows us into an otherwise inaccessible world. A visual piece about blindness seems a paradox but through imaginative interactivity and storytelling we experience it as an expansion of senses, a new way of being in the world. John Hull’s testimony enriches our lives. It’s a work we want to savor and return to. The Award goes to Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness.”
The jury also gave special mention to HOME – A VR SPACEWALK EXPERIENCE.
The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury Award goes to SONITA, directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami (Germany, Islamic Republic of Iran 2015).
Speaking on behalf of the Youth Jury of five of the UK’s brightest and most passionate documentary lovers aged between 18 and 22 Maxine Sibanda said,
“During the deliberation process, our criteria eventually centered on how effectively the winner portrayed the various struggles, experiences, trials and tribulations involved in ‘growing up’.
With all of us now entering adulthood ourselves, leaving behind our youths, the film hits particularly close to home.
All of these films no doubt portrayed their concept with heart, soul and intelligence in abundance, but we settled eventually on an unanimous winner, the brilliant ‘Sonita’.
Empowering, compelling, sensitive and stylistically rich all at once Sonita is an inspiration to us all regardless of age, race, class or nationality.
The winner of the 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Short Documentary Award – which now qualifies for the 2017 Academy Awards, is I’M NOT FROM HERE directed by Giedrė Žickytė, Maite Alberdi (Chile, Denmark, Lithuania, 2015).
The spokesperson for the Short Doc Award Jury, Kathleen Lingo said, “Like a work of great literature this film has a high level of sophisticated storytelling technique to investigate fate, memory and the meaning of home. The Jury remarked on the cinematic quality of both the camerawork and dramaturgy that effectively, and with a great creative vision evokes the magic of quotidian moments.”
The 2016 Sheffield Doc/Fest Student Doc Award, made by filmmakers from film schools and universities around the world, goes to MY ALEPPO directed by Melissa Langer (US, 2015)
Speaking on behalf of the Student Doc Award jury Benjamin Huguet Said, “While confronting the refugee crisis, My Aleppo takes a step aside, offering an intimate portrait of a Syrian family. The film doesn’t victimize its protagonists but rather shows them as they work to build a new home in South Africa.
Served by beautiful observational cinematography, the camera tracks its characters very closely as they contemplate their domestic computer screen, helpless and anguished, watching the destruction of their home country and the dreadful fate of those who remain.
This interrogation of images within the new family home allows the audience to put itself in the position of its protagonists and to get a glimpse of what these people are going through – making the film a profound emotional journey for its audience and a documentary of unique value.”
Throughout the Festival audiences have been voting for their favorite documentary short, Alternate Realities Interactive Project and Alternative Realities VR project. The winners are:
Tarikat directed by Jasmijn Schrofer (Netherlands, Turkey 2015)
Alternate Realities, Interactive:
New Dimensions in Testimony, created by Heather Maio and produced by Stephen
Smith for USC Shoah Foundation (USA 2016
Alternate Realities, VR project:
Home – An Immersive Spacewalk Experience created by Kate Barlett and Tom Burton.