“For Sama” — a documentary telling the story of one woman’s journey through love, motherhood, war, and survival over five years of the Syrian conflict — was awarded the Golden Eye for Best Documentary at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival yesterday.
A special prize went to Patricio Guzman’s “The Cordillera of Dreams,” about the landscape and mysteries of his homeland Chile.
Both winners are automatically eligible for Oscar submission in the Best Documentary category.
Directed by Emmy award-winning filmmakers Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, “For Sama” chronicles the experiences of 26-year-old Syrian filmmaker al-Kateab — who filmed her life in the rebel-held city of Aleppo over a five-year period.
It’s the first time that a FRONTLINE documentary has been honored with the top documentary prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
Following a theatrical release this summer, a broadcast version of “For Sama” is slated to premiere on PBS later this year.
Hot Docs, North America’s largest documentary film festival, named director Pailin Wedel’s “Hope Frozen” the winner of its best international feature prize.
“Hope Frozen” follows a Ph.D. in laser science who loses his two-year-old daughter to cancer in 2015. Unable to cope with her death, he and his wife make the difficult decision to make her the youngest person in the world to be cryopreserved.
The Toronto-based film festival awarded its top jury prize to “For Sama,” directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts. The film is about a young mother creating a video diary for her baby daughter during the Syrian civil war.
The emerging international filmmaker award was given to Nuno Escudeiro for “The Valley,” a film about immigrants trying to cross the French-Italian border on foot through treacherous mountain routes.
The 2019 Tribeca Film Festival on Thursday announced the winners in its competition categories.
This year’s awards ceremony took place at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
“Scheme Birds,” directed and written by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin, won in the Best Documentary Feature category while “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” directed by Carol Dysinger, was the winner in the Best Documentary Short category.
The complete list of documentary film winners is below.
Best Documentary Feature Film
“Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden), directed and written by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin
Best Cinematography in a Documentary Feature Film
Yang Sun and Shuang Liang for “Our Time Machine” (China)
Best Editing in a Documentary Feature Film
Jennifer Tiexiera for “17 Blocks” (USA)
Albert Maysles New Documentary Director Award
“Scheme Birds” (Scotland, Sweden), directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin
Best Documentary Short Film
“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” (UK), directed by Carol Dysinger
You should never take for granted a documentary that fills in the basics with flair and feeling. Especially when the basics consist of great big amounts of some of the most revolutionary and exhilarating popular art ever created in this country.
Roger Ross Williams’ documentary “The Apollo,” which kicked off this year’s Tribeca Film Festival on a note of soulful celebration (at a premiere held, of course, at the Apollo Theater), fills in the 85-year history of the 1,506-seat show palace on 125th St. in Harlem that changed black culture and changed American culture. No, it was more than that — the Apollo Theater changed black life and changed American life.
The film pulls off that feat in a bracing and moving way: by flowing back and forth between past and present, performance and political activism, so that by the end we know in our bones how false it would be to separate them.
This year’s Copenhagen International Documentary Festival (CPH:DOX) in Denmark handed out its top prize, the Dox:Award, to John Skoog’s “Ridge.”
The film is an artistic hybrid documentary portrait of the Swedish summer, featuring visual art, abstract fiction, and documentary material from Skåne, the country’s southernmost county.
The jury, consisting of producer Katrin Pors, critic and curator Eric Hynes, filmmaker Soudade Kaadan, filmmaker Frederic Tcheng, and Berlinale Panorama program director Paz Lazaro, also gave a special mention to Pia Hellenthal’s feminist doc “Searching Eva” about a young woman living in Berlin.