Award Winners 2017
We are pleased to announce our award winners for Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017. Hosted for the first time by BBC Radio Sheffield presenter and Doc/Fest fan, Paulette Edwards, the Sheffield Doc/Fest award winners each received a bespoke Sheffield steel trophy, The Steel Core, created for Sheffield Doc/Fest by Sheffield artist Harrison Moore.
GRAND JURY AWARD SUPPORTED BY SCREEN INTERNATIONAL & BROADCAST
WINNER: CITY OF GHOSTS
SPECIAL MENTIONS: THE WORK and THE DEATH AND LIFE OF MARSHA P. JOHNSON
The Grand Jury Award carries a prize of £2,000
The Sheffield Doc/Fest Grand Jury Award, supported by Screen International & Broadcast, honours one film that best displays excellence in style, substance and approach to documentary filmmaking. This year’s Grand Jury Award goes to Matthew Heineman’s City of Ghosts (USA, 2017), in which he turns his attention to the covert citizen journalist group RBSS (Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently) who are intent on exposing the horrors of life under ISIS rule via the only weapon they have: the media.
There was also a special mention to The Death and The Life of Marsha P. Johnson (USA, 2016), Academy Award-nominated director David France’s gripping and inspiring story about the beginning of the rights movement, and The Work (USA, 2017), Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous’ film which follows an intense group therapy session inside a single room in Folsom Prison.
Andrea Arnold (Filmmaker)
Anand Pathwardan (Filmmaker)
Paul Mason (Writer, Filmmaker)
ENVIRONMENTAL AWARD SUPPORTED BY DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS
WINNER: A RIVER BELOW
SPECIAL MENTION: THE LAST ANIMALS
The Environmental Award carries a prize of £2,000
In recognition of how scientists, photojournalists and activists are joining together through filmmaking to report on how the natural world endures and challenges forces beyond its control and is awarded to the documentary that best addresses or raises awareness of the environmental challenges faced by the world. This year’s Environmental Award, supported by Discovery Communications, goes to A River Below (Mark Grieco, Brazil, 2017), which highlights the alliance between a renowned marine biologist and a reality TV star who are both campaigning to save Brazil’s pink river dolphin, whilst also posing questions about the ethics of activism in the modern media age.
The jury also gave Special Mention to celebrated photojournalist’s Kate Brooks’ The Last Animals (UK, USA, Chad, Democratic Rep. of Congo, Czech Rep., Kenya, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, 2017) which responds to the pan-African poaching epidemic and ventures between African front lines and the depths of Asia’s markets with poignancy and understanding, telling the story of an extraordinary group of individuals battling poachers and animal trafficking syndicates.
Hajooj Kuka (Filmmaker)
James Sadri (Campaigner, Organiser)
Liz Cook (Director of Documentary at Kickstarter)
TIM HETHERINGTON AWARD SUPPORTED BY DOGWOOF
WINNER: STRONG ISLAND
The Tim Hetherington Award carries a prize of £2,000
Presented by Sheffield Doc/Fest, Dogwoof and the Tim Hetherington Trust, this award is presented to Strong Island directed by Yance Ford (USA, Denmark, 2016). Now in its fifth year, this year for the first time a Jury considered six nominations, recognising the films and filmmakers that best reflect journalist Tim Hetherington’s legacy. The award carries a £2,000 cash prize.
Joanna Natasegara (Founder and Producer at Violet Films)
Brenda Coughlin (Producer)
Wendy Ide (Film Critic)
ILLUMINATE AWARD SUPPORTED BY WELLCOME
The Illuminate Award carries a prize of £1,000
This new award for Sheffield Doc/Fest, developed with Wellcome, explores the screen chemistry between vibrant storytelling and innovative filmmaking inspired by science, and is this year awarded to Unrest (UK/US, 2017). Filmmaker Jennifer Brea needed to make sense of the debilitating, leaden tiredness that took hold of her and with many questions left unanswered by medical experts, Brea turns to the internet and finds not only that her condition has a name—myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)—but along with it a supportive community of sufferers. Sheffield Doc/fest is thrilled that Jennifer’s vital and outstanding work has been recognised in both the Film and Alternate Realities programme, having participated in Doc/Fest's MeetMarket in 2015, and producer Lindsey Dryden having participated in Doc/Fest's Future Producer School in 2014.
Simran Hans (Journalist, Programmer and Producer at Bechdel Test Fest)
Chiara Marañón (Programming Director at MUBI)
Sophie Monks Kaufman (Journalist)
ART DOC AWARD
WINNER: CITY OF THE SUN
SPECIAL MENTION: BRIMSTONE AND GLORY
In its first year at Sheffield Doc/Fest, the Art Doc Award celebrates new forms of documentary storytelling and recognises bold, innovative non-fiction films and is awarded to first time filmmaker Rati Oneli for City of the Sun (United States, Georgia, Netherlands, Qatar, 2017). The documentary moves seamlessly between fact and fiction, zooming in on the joys and woes of four different sets of lives in what remains of a small mining town in Georgia.
The jury also wished to also give the director of Brimstone and Glory (USA, 2017) a Special Mention, recognising stunning camera work and immersive visual intensity expertly capturing the National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico where revelry engulfs the town for an entire ten days.
Nico Marzano (Cinema and Film Programme Manager at ICA)
Renée Mussai (Curator and Head of Archive at Autograph ABP)
Sophia Al Maria (Filmmaker)
NEW TALENT AWARD
SPECIAL MENTION: ÜBERMENSCH
An integral part of Doc/Fest is the nurturing of new talent and this award discovers and showcases the future of documentary film. The New Talent Award went to Artemio (Mexico/USA, 2017), as anthropologist-filmmaker Sandra Luz López Barroso quietly observes ten-year-old Californian born Artemio as he joins his mother in Mexico, far away from everything he knows.
Special Mention on behalf of the jury went to Übermensch (Denmark, 2016) in recognition of its great sense of human creative style and its caring approach to its subjects. This short from Jesper Dalgaard sees a pair of teen Goths prepare a ritual in a vacant coastal church, exploring their angst and pursuing their own personal Jesus.
Julia Nottingham (Head of Documentary at Pulse)
Laure Bonville (Film Programmer at BFI London Film Festival)
Reggie Yates (Filmmaker and Broadcaster)
YOUTH JURY AWARD
WINNER: 69 MINUTES OF 86 DAYS
SPECIAL MENTION: RAT FILM
The 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest Youth Jury Award goes to Egil Håskjold Larsen’s hauntingly poetic 69 Minutes of 86 Days (Norway, 2017), a remarkable birds-eye view of migration as seen through the eyes of a three year old Lean as she travels with her family from Sweden to Syria.
A Special Mention was given to Rat Film (US, 2016) in a clever twist on a look back at historically racist urban planning, director Theo Anthony uses the rat – and the humans that love and loathe them – to explore the history of Baltimore.
Five of the UK’s most passionate and stand out documentary lovers came together at Doc/Fest to select a winner for the Youth Jury prize.
Alex is a Film Production student and aspiring documentary cinematographer. He's shot documentaries, comedy shorts, commercials and was part of the 2016 Doc/Fest film crew.
Chris has a fascination with watching, making, writing and talking about films and documentaries. He previously worked at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.
Claudia is an avid film enthusiast and aspiring director and editor. She hopes to create films that capture the essence of the human experience.
Born and raised in Sweden, Fatima is a law student who's quickly grown to love the legal and political aspects of the documentary film industry.
Parmida studies Film and Television Production. Born in Iran and raised in Dubai, with a strong interest in women’s rights, she has made documentaries about women around the world.
SHORT DOC AWARD: SUPPORTED BY VIRGIN MONEY SHEFFIELD LOUNGE
WINNER: THE RABBIT HUNT
SPECIAL MENTION: EDITH+EDDIE
The Short Doc Award carries a prize of £1000
Celebrating the best short films made by emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, the winner of the 2017 Sheffield Doc/Fest Short Documentary Award supported by Virgin Money Sheffield Lounge is The Rabbit Hunt, directed by Patrick Bresnan (USA, Hungary, 2017). Sheffield Doc/Fest is delighted to be a festival selector for the Best Documentary Short at the Academy Awards; The Rabbit Hunt is automatically eligible for selection at the an Academy Awards in 2018. Bresnan’s compelling short on tradition and necessity documents a Florida dawn disrupted by an urgent call to a family alerting them of a unique field-to-fork opportunity.
Special mention was given to Edith+Eddie (USA, 2017) Laura Checkoway’s short tells the story of America's oldest interracial newlyweds, and how their happiness together is potentially threatened by callous institutional forces.
Eloise King (Executive Producer at VICE and i-D & Amuse, Co-Founder of Women on Docs)
José Rodriguez (Director of Documentary Programs at Tribeca Film Institute)
Mustafa Khalili, Filmmaker, (Deputy Global Head of Video and Audio at The Guardian)
DOC AUDIENCE AWARD SUPPORTED BY CURZON HOME CINEMA
WINNER: THE WORK
Supported by Curzon Home Cinema, the Doc Audience Award is presented in memory of Dr Clifford Shaw
The Doc Audience Award carries a prize of £1000
Voted for by the Sheffield Doc/Fest cinema audiences and supported by Curzon Home Cinema, this award recognises the film that receives the highest audience vote during the Festival. The winner of this year's Doc Audience Award is The Work (Jairus McLeary, Gethin Aldous, USA, 2017).
ALTERNATE REALITIES VIRTUAL REALITY AWARD
WINNER: UNREST VR
The Alternate Realities VR Award celebrates virtual reality documentary as a flourishing creative genre awarding the project that displays excellence in factual storytelling as well as technical ingenuity. The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2017 Alternate Realities VR Award is Unrest VR (UK, USA, France, 2017), an immersive journey into director Jennifer Brea’s experience of an invisible illness, ME, contrasting the solitary confinement of a bedroom world with the kinetic freedom of an inner dreamscape.
Resh Sidhu, Creative Director of VR at Framestore
Solomon Nwabueze, Director of Content at Creative England
Michelle Feuerlicht, Head of Digital at Keo Films
ALTERNATE REALITIES INTERACTIVE AWARD
WINNER: MY GRANDMOTHER’S LINGO
The winner of the Sheffield Doc/Fest 2016 Alternate Realities Interactive Award, which honours the project that exhibits originality in its approach to form, storytelling and delivery is My Grandmother’s Lingo (Angelina Joshua, Gina McKeon, Boris Etingof, Australia, 2016), an online interactive film using voice-activated technology and animation to tell the story of a young Aboriginal woman from North East Arnhem Land. This is only one of a few such awards in the documentary world and Sheffield Doc/Fest is dedicated to recognising new forms of interactive storytelling.
Lili Blumers, Commissioning Editor at ARTE France
Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development at Royal Shakespeare Company
Phil Stuart, Creative Director at Preloaded
ALTERNATE REALITIES AUDIENCE AWARD
WINNER: MUNDURUKU: THE FIGHT TO DEFEND THE HEART OF THE AMAZON
Voted for by the Sheffield Doc/Fest exhibition audience, this award recognises the Alternate Realities work that receives the highest audience vote during the Festival. This year's Alternate Realities Audience Award was presented to Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon (Grace Boyle, James Manisty, Pete Speller, UK, Brazil, 2017).
WHICKER’S WORLD FOUNDATION AWARDS
FUNDING AWARD WINNER: PAILIN WEDEL FOR HOPE FROZEN
FUNDING AWARD RUNNER UP: DUNCAN COWLES FOR SILENT MEN
THE SAGE AWARD WINNER: STEVEN CARNE FOR MY NHS: VOICES FROM THE GRASSROOTS
THE SAGE AWARD RUNNER UP: ROY DELANEY FOR THE BARD’S WIFE
The Whicker’s World Foundation, built on the legacy of celebrated journalist and broadcaster Alan Whicker who died in 2013, has awarded £100k to help support documentary makers. Alan Whicker wanted to stimulate and empower talent which might otherwise never find its place in this highly competitive industry.
The top prize of The Film & TV Award of £80,000 to under 35s looking to make their first full length documentary is awarded to Pailin Wedel from Bangkok for Hope Frozen which is a tale of grief and scientific progress witnessing a father’s visionary dream that 2 year old girl becomes the youngest human ever to be cryopreserved. The Film & TV award is the primary focus of Whicker's World Foundation, enabling a project which deserves to be realised to reach as wide an audience as possible.
The runner’s up prize of £15,000 goes to Duncan Cowles, 26 from Edinburgh for Silent Men, a frank and at times humorous look at masculinity and its role in society.
The Sage Award recognises a TV or audio professional who has come to air with an authored story for the first time, a prize of £4,000 will be awarded annually to an applicant aged 50 plus.
The £4,000 winner of the award for first-timers over the age of 50 goes to Steven Carne (54) from St Ives, Cornwall for My NHS, Voices from the Grassroots. MY NHS touches on another massive story of our time as a group of ordinary people attempt to take on the might of the government and save the National Health Service. The runner up prize of £1,000.00 goes to Roy Delaney (52) from Bristol for The Bard’s Wife which follows Wes White, the Bard of Glastonbury, a time-old honour that he won in poetic battle in the heart of this historic Somerset town.
DOC/DISPATCH PRIZE SUPPORTED BY DEUTSCHE WELLE
WINNER: THE FIGHT
Voted for by the audienece, the Doc/Dispatch Prize supported by Deutsche Welle carries a prize of £1000
Doc/Dispatch is a new collaboration between Sheffield Doc/Fest and Deutsche Welle for 2017, with the aim of reaching out to producers and filmmakers of topical, urgent, and fast turnaround stories from citizen reporters, investigative filmmakers and responsive news units from around the world. Voted by the audience, the prize was awarded to Violeta Ayala and Daniel Fallshaw’s The Fight, a deeply humane and moving documentary, which tells the story of disabled people in Bolivia and their fight with the government.