Doc/Fest 2011 award winners announced

The Interrupters takes top gong.

by Jennie Kermode

The 2011 Sheffield Doc/Fest awards were given out today by comedian Jeremy Hardy. Taking the Special Jury prize was Steve James’s The Interrupters, which follows a group of former gang members in Chicago working together to tackle crime. "It’s a great time to make documentaries, there is such incredible work being made," said James in his acceptance speech, stressing how much he had enjoyed the festival in general.

The Youth Jury award went to We Are Poets, a film which tracks a group of young people from Leeds as they enter a US poetry competition, finding new ways to express themselves. The jury noted that they were impressed by the way the jury portrays young people in a positive light in contrast to the prevailing zeitgeist, calling it "A poignant, truthful and uplifting perspective on youth today and its potential."

Meanwhile, the Sheffield Innovation Award was given to a documentary portrait of a Canadian mining town, Welcome to Pine Point, with a special mention also going to John Akomfrah's The Nine Muses, which has been highly acclaimed elsewhere. Anthony Baxter’s You’ve Been Trumped, exploring Donald Trump's campaign to buy up local people's homes so as to build a golf course in Aberdeenshire, won the Green Award. "We hope that this award will raise awareness and hold Donald Trump to account for his environmental and social belligerence and expose the corruption and incompetence at the heart of the Scottish authorities which let this destruction go ahead," the jury commented. Up In Smoke also received an honourable mention.

The Student Doc Award went to the simple but charming Eighty Eight and the Inspiration Award was given to Nick Broomfield, who accepted it somewhat bashfully, saying that he likes to think of himself as still being in the early stages of his career. Broomfield's current project, now in the editing stages, is a secretly filmed documentary about Sarah Palin.

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