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IDFA picks strong slate of award winners

Of Men and WarOf Men and War by director Laurent Bécue-Renard has won the IDFA Award for Best Feature Documentary at the ceremony that marked the end of the 2014 festival in Amsterdam.

The film follows a group of American Iraq veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder during their therapy sessions in a clinic for veterans and highlights the ongoing difficulties they will likely endure the rest of their lives.

The jury’s verdict read: “The Jury recognizes a film that confronts us with our fragility as human beings, revealing that we must treat each other with gentleness and love. In a way that is never intrusive, the camera participates in therapy sessions for traumatized veterans. (…) A more powerful anti-war film is hard to imagine.”

Something Better to Come by Hanna Polak took home the Special Jury Award. The film documents the life of Yula, who lives her life in the biggest waste tip in Europe, just outside Moscow.

Both Of Men and War and Something Better to Come were pitched as projects at previous editions of the IDFA Forum.

Julia Mironova won the IDFA Award for Best Mid-Length Documentary for Kamchatka – The Cure for Hatred. The film is a portrait of the former television reporter Vijatsjeslav Nemishev who in 2001 covered the war in Chechnya and now lives a withdrawn life on an island.

The Audience Award went to Naziha’s Spring by Gülsah Dogan. The filmmaker shows how a Dutch Moroccan woman tries desperately to keep her ten children in check since she divorced from her husband – breaking all preconceived notions people have of her and Moroccan women in general.

Other awards went to:

IDFA Award for First Appearance – Drifter by Gábor Hörcher

Peter Wintonick Special Jury Award for First Appearance – Mother of the Unborn by Nadine Salib

IDFA Award for Dutch Documentary – The New Rijksmuseum – The Film by Oeke Hoogendijk

IDFA DocLab Award for Digital Storytelling – Serial by Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder

IDFA Award for Student Competition – No Lullaby by Helen Simon

IDFA Melkweg Music Documentary Audience Award –  Keep on Keepin’ on by Alan Hicks

IDFA DOC U Award – My Beautiful Broken Brain by Sophie Robinson and Lotje Sodderland

Mediafondsprijs Kids & Docs Best Youth Documentary – Giovanni and the Water Ballet by Astrid Bussink

If the trend continues over the next three days, the number of visits will have risen from 234.503 in 2013 to 250,000 this year. Net box-office takings increased from € 1.277.283  in 2013 to € 1.335.000 this year.

The next IDFA will take place from 18 until 29 November 2015.


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Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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