DocFest announces prizes

Sansón and Me, Master Of Light and Lyra among winners

by Amber Wilkinson

Sansón and Me
Sansón and Me Photo: Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival
Sheffield DocFest has announced the winners of its 2022 edition as the festival drew to a close.

The Best Film in International Competition was awarded to Sansón And Me, directed by Rodrigo Reyes, which sees the director enter into correspondence with a Mexican emigre to the US who has been sentenced to a full life term in jail.

The jury of Emma Davie, Ike Nnaebue, and Raymond Phathanavirangoon said: “The filmmaker chooses to explore a subject matter which is all too often invisible and neglected: the incarceration of immigrants in the US. By collaborating with the young protagonist to find an innovative filmic language to evolve the socio-economic circumstances behind his desperation, the filmmaker allows us to empathise with a personal narrative beyond the law.”

Special mentions were given to One Day in Ukraine, Volodymyr Tykhyy (Ukraine, Poland - 2022) and After the End of the World, Nadim Mishlawi (Lebanon - 2022)

The Best First Feature Award went to Master of Light by Rosa Ruth Boesten (USA, Netherlands - 2022), which tells the story of painter George Anthony Morton, who spent 10 years in jail.

The jury, Roman Bondarchuk, Nainita Desai and Natasha Gadd, said: “The jury commends the film for its bold and fearless vision in creating an intimate portrait of artist George Anthony Morton and his personal and artistic journey to reconcile his past through his art. The documentary, like George’s paintings, is a fully rendered canvas, shining light on the shadows cast by systemic racism and the resulting intergenerational trauma by drawing on technical craft and lived experience to reveal deep personal, political and artistic histories.”

Special mention was given to Julie on Line by Mia Ma (France- 2021).

The Best Short Film was awarded to Fawley by Chu-Li Shewring and Adam Gutch (UK - 2022).

The jury, Zeynep Güzel, Cherish Oteka and Saskia Wilson, said: “This is a distinctive and beautifully crafted exploration of the intersection of nature, architecture, and the human experience. Bringing together the many voices involved in the landscape – power plant workers, bird watchers, local people and the creatures inhabiting the space – the film is a powerful poetic reflection on the psychological role of our surroundings and our symbiotic relationship with nature. It is fantastically detailed, from observing the beauty in the Brutalist architecture to the tiny minnows swimming in the shallows, the film connects the audience with a range of universal themes such as ‘power’ structures, preserving nature and the impact we leave on our environment.”

Special mention was given to Calling Cabral by Welket Bungué (Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Brazil- 2022)

The Tim Hetherington Award - named after the photojournalist and filmmaker and given to a film that best reflects his legacy - was presented to Lyra by Alison Millar (UK- 2021), a profile of murdered Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee.

The jury, Elena Cosentino, Akuol de Mabior and Philippe Sands QC, said: “For its celebration of a short but hugely inspiring life and career, devoted to fearless and independent journalism, LGBTQIA+ equality and the rights and dignity of the disadvantaged, for the loving and painstaking craft of a film that celebrates a level of courage and selflessness in journalism which evokes that of Tim Hetherington, the jury is unanimous in offering the award to LYRA.”

Special mention was given to The Territory by Alex Pritz (Brazil, Denmark, USA - 2022).

The Alternate Realities Award which honours the best innovative non-fiction work was presented to The Sound Voice Project by Hannah Conway, with a special mention given to The Acquisitions Panel by Rachel Briscoe.

The Youth Jury Award was presented to Alis by Nicolas van Hemelryck and Clare Weiskopf (Colombia, Romania, Chile - 2022), with a special mention for Four Journeys by Louis Hothothot (Netherlands, China - 2021).

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