First of all, apologies for all the different font sizes and styles going on for the last few posts. Typepad has a habit of occasionally re-jiggering their templates (with no notice), so I have to settle into finding a new look and size that I like. Helvetica never disappoints.
So I'm just back from Leipzig where I jammed my eyes and brain full of animation--it was lovely. It was, without a doubt, one of the most superbly organized events I've ever attended and downright relaxing. I don't experience that at too many fests. I did manage to see a few "live-action" docs, as well, and am pleased to see that the juries picked some really outstanding films from the program on which to bestow awards, with generous award winnings totalling 71,000 euros.
The winner of the inaugural Leipziger Ring Film Award, presented by the Peaceful Revolution Foundation, went to New Zealand filmmaker, Briar March, for her film There Once Was an Island: Te Henua e Nnoho. The jury awarded March with a 5000 euro prize for her film which tells the story of the struggle for survivial of the 400 residents that inhabit the small South Pacific island of Nukuta, a place that is disappearing due to climate change. This prize will go a long way in helping the filmmaker with her primary goal: raising global awareness about this very specific environmental issue and highlighting the spirit of solidarity that needs to be created with the inhabitants of Nukuta to save their homeland from perishing. (Still from film pictured.)
Here is an overview of most of the award winners: the International Jury for Documentary Film gave the Golden Dove to Jerzey Sladkowski's Vodka Factory from Sweden (still from film, pictured); the Silver Dove went to Miesten vuoro (Steam of Life) by Joonas Berghäll and Mika Hotakainen (Finland, Sweden). The jury also gave honorable mentions to Goodnight Nobody by Jacqueline Zünd (Switzerland, Germany), and Samir Abdallah's Gaza crève l'écran / Gaza on Air (Egypt, Palestine, France).
The German Jury for Documentary Film gave the top prize to Gereon Wetzel and Jörg Adolph for their How to Make a Book with Steidl. Chris Wright and Stefan Kolbe received an honorary mention for their beautiful and deeply moving film, The Home / Kleinstheim, about adolescents growing up together in a group home. (Still from The Home, pictured.)
The International Jury for the Young Talent Competition gave a prize to Brazilian filmmaker, Rodrigo Siqueira, for Terra deu, terra come / The Earth Giveth, the Earth Taketh. The prize of 10,000 euros will go towards initial funding for his next documentary. Prizes from this jury also went to Macarena Aguiló for El edificio los chilenos / The Chilean Building (honorable mention); Polish filmmaker, Marta Minorowicz, for Kawalek lata / A Piece of Summer (Golden Dove for mid-length); and, Anja Strelets for Natascha (honorary mention for mid-length).
The International Jury for Animated Film awarded the Golden Dove to François Alaux, Hervé de Crécy and Ludovic Houplain (France) for their brilliant film, Logorama. The Silver Dove went to Matray (France) for the delightful (and way too short!) Babioles. The best German animated film went to Felix Gönnert for his wonderful film, Apollo, definitely one of my favorites out of the 75 animated films I saw at the fest. (Did I mention that I left Leipzig with an eye infection? Too many cartoons? Who knows.) Honorary mentions for animation went to Anita Killi (Norway) for Sinna mann (Angry Man) and Vessela Dantcheva (Germany, Bulgaria) for Anna Blume. The coveted audience award also went to an animated film. Called "the mephisto 97.6 Publikumspreis," the award went to Bastien Dubois' Madagascar, carnet de voyage / Madagascar, A Journey Diary (another brilliant and stunningly beautiful piece that was way too short--still from film, pictured).
Read about these films and other award winners on the festival's website here. There are also podcasts available for downloading off the site including the master class with Sergey Dvortsevoy, the Animadoc Podium, and the DOK Podium on Crowdfunding--all well worth a listen.
For my new screening series in Berlin called Kino Satellite, co-produced and co-curated with Andrew Grant, we will be collaborating with the new head of the animation program at Leipzig, Annegret Richter, to bring our audience in Berlin some selections from the animated documentary and new German animation programs. Look for that soon.
Also, look for more of my extensive coverage on the animation program in the next issue of DOX. For those of you that don't subscribe (but you should), once the issue is published, I will re-print the article here on SIM.
Congrats to all the winners from Leipzig!