The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) has crowned its 2019 award winners. The respected doc event named Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez Fernández’s In A Whisper as best feature-length documentary. The pic, which centers on two emigrated Cuban filmmakers whose passion for film, friendship, and freedom reunites them after years apart, takes a $22,000 prize. This year, for the first time at IDFA, three new awards were presented in the competition for feature-length documentary: best directing went to Mehrdad Oskouei for his film Sunless Shadows; the best editing and cinematography prizes went to Sander Vos and Maasja Ooms respectively for their work on Punks. Elsewhere, Lucy Parker won the best first appearance award for her film Soldiarity, the FIPRESCI Award was given to Alyx Ayn Arumpac for Aswang, and the award for best mid-length doc went to Jalal Vafaei for Anticlockwise. Victoria Mapplebeck won the IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling with The Waiting Room VR, while Vincent Morisset won the IDFA DocLab Award for Immersive Non-Fiction for Vast Body 22. The 2Doc IDFA Award for Best Dutch Documentary went to Reber Dosky for Sidik And The Panther. This year’s recipient of the IDFA lifetime achievement award was Danish documentary filmmaker Jørgen Leth.
Cats casting director Lucy Bevan is among a five-strong jury for this year’s European Shooting Stars initiative, which highlights promising young acting talents. Joining her is Tolkien director Dome Karukoski, Bulgarian actor and producer Vesela Kazakova, Slovak producer Katarína Krnácová, and journalist and author Rüdiger Sturm. The jury will select ten actors from 29 nominated candidates. The chosen group will be unveiled on January 9 ahead of the Berlin Film Festival in February, where they will be presented on stage. Former graduates include Carey Mulligan, Alicia Vikander, and Riz Ahmed. The programme is run by European body European Film Promotion with backing from Creative Europe’s MEDIA programme.
Yaron Zilberman’s Incitement, which is Israel’s entry to the International Oscar race this year, and Guy Amir and Hanan Savyon’s Forgiveness split the Audience Choice Award for a feature at this year’s Israel Film Festival in Los Angeles. Yonatan Nir and Dani Menkin’s Picture Of His Life, about renowned wildlife photographer Amos Nachoum, picked up the Audience Choice Award for documentary. The winning filmmakers received a combined value of $190,000 in post-production services for their next film (the feature winners take home $92,500 each, with the doc receiving $5,000).
The South Australian Film Corporation has partnered with Audible Australia to develop three stories from the region into audio documentaries. The selected projects are: Kade Richardson’s The Gaslight, a six-hour serialised drama based on true events which seriously affected the director’s family when one family-member became entrapped in an international love scam operation; Anthony Frith’s Tulpas: From Buddhism To Bronies, in which the director delves deep into the very real world of tulpas – imaginary friends who live their own full lives in your head; and Louise Pascale’s Homebirth – A Modern Day Witchhunt, which gives audiences insight into a world that has to date only been defined by the media and politicians, as the director takes on Lisa Barrett, Australia’s ‘most hated midwife’, for her own homebirth. The three projects will receive a share of development funding, with the intention that following presentation of the developed projects, one will be selected for commission by Audible and the SAFC.