Faya Dayi triumphs at Visions du Réel

Jessica Beshir's Ethiopia documentary also takes critics prize

by Amber Wilkinson

Faya Dayi
Faya Dayi Photo: Jessica Beshir
Jessica Beshir's Faya Dayi won the Grand Jury prize at this year's Visions du Réel documentary film festival, which presented its online event from Switzerland.

The film, which also won the FIPRESCI award, given by film critics, considers a complex picture of modern Ethiopia and its relationship with the stimulant leaf khat.

The jury - comprised of filmmaker Thomas Imbach, Torino Film Lab artistic director Savina Neirotti and MoMA curator Josh Siegel - said: "Interweaving an ancient Sufi parable about the quest for the water of eternal life with a rigorous meditation on labour, exploitation, and exile, and moving freely among different levels of reality and consciousness, Jessica Beshir has created a dreamlike fable for our own uncertain times."

They also awarded a Special Jury prize, ex aequo to Tomasz Wolski's 1970, about a watershed moment in Poland and Ahmet Necdet Cupur's Les Enfants Terribles, examining the struggles of youngsters trying to assert their independence within a Turkish family.

The Burning Lights Competition, which aims to celebrate new voices and experimental filmmaking, gave its prize to Looking For Horses by Stefan Pavlović, described as "a compelling work made with bravery and tenderness". The Special Jury Award went to Splinters by Natalia Garayalde with an additional Special Mention to The Great Void, by Sebastian Mez.

The National Award went to Nostromo, by Fisnik Maxville, with a Speical Juray Award for Maria Iorio and Raphaël Cuomo's Chronicles Of That Time.

The additional prizes are below:

International Medium Length and Short Film Competition - Strict Regime, by Nikita Yefimov

Special Mention Medium Length - My Quarantine Bear, by Weijia Ma

Short Film - The Communion of My Cousin Andrea, by Brandán Cerviño and If You See Her, Say Hello, by Hee Young Pyun and Jiajun Oscar Zhang

Special Mention Short Film The City of the Sun, by Maria Semenova

Youth Jury Award - Medium Length Film - Trees in Summer, by Suyu Lee

Interreligious Award - Little Palestine (Diary of a Siege), by Abdallah Al-Khatib

Zonta Award (for a female filmmaker whose work reveals mastery and talent and calls for support for future creations?) - Pushing Boundaries, by Lesia Kordonets

Share this with others on...

Streaming Spotlight: Tune in, drop out This week we're highlighting films that celebrate radio

On a dark and stormy night Cody Calahan on storytelling and shooting The Oak Room

Celebrating cinema of the New East We talk to Lucía de la Torre and Maria Muzdybaeva about the return of Calvert Journal Film Festival

A snapshot of memory Christos Nikou talks about Apples, the pandemic and his upcoming film with Carey Mulligan

New Directors/New Films live talks launched Ramin Bahrani, Kleber Mendonça Filho and Sara Driver are festival speakers

More news and features

We've recently covered BFI Flare , the Glasgow Short Film Festival, South by Southwest , New York's Rendez-vous with French Cinema, the Glasgow Film Festival, the first part of this year's Berlin Film Festival, Slamdance and Sundance.

Read our full for more.

Visit our festivals section.


More competitions coming soon.