Winners of 5th ZagrebDox

place: Zagreb, Croatia
organiser: Zagreb Dox
On the 5th ZagrebDox, there were 54 films in the International and Regional categories competing for awards. Four juries have already decided on winners. The fifth, most numerous one - the audience - had been voting for their favorites throughout the week.

BIG STAMP - International competition
Jury: Bogdan Žižić, film director, David Fisher filmmaker and selector of a retrospective of contemporary israeli dox, Saša Vojković, filmologist and film director

Lady Kul El Arab, Ibtisam Salh Mara’ana
When deciding about the main prize we could not escape the historic and political context as well as the social responsiblity that inevitably and almost regularly goes hand in hand with documentary filmmaking. In that sense, one of the main reasons why our main prize goes to the film Lady Kul el Arab, directed by the Palestininan-Israeli woman director Ibtisam Salh Mara’na is the following: In the current geo-political circumstances where it would be so much easier to ask the question: ”why does the other hate me”, the author asks something completely opposite: ”what is it with me, with my culture and tradition that can provoke the other’s hate?”. We find that in the film Lady Kul el Arab these reasons are explored with sensibility, subtlety and commitment of a talented and courageous filmmaker.

Special recognition
Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country, Anders Ostergaard
In contemporary documentary films there is a tendency that one could call ‘new-orientalism’ - where the authors from the West are the ones providing the images and sounds from the far-away, and often exotic countries on the other side of the globe. We find that the film Burma VJ Reporting from a Closed Country by Anders Hogsbro Ostergaard deserves special recognition for making it possible for the authorial voice of the insiders, of the indigenous people to be heard, and to show us extremely valuable audiovisual material local reporters produced while risking their own lives.

Alone in Four Walls, Alexandra Westmeier
We find that the film Alone in Four Walls deserves special recognition for the following reason: We admire the compassion with which the author Alexandra Westmeier reveals the painful experiences of the young boys who suffer isolation. With her suggestive authorial style, the author creates an unforgetable closeness that generates a sincere interest in the lives of the unfortunate youngsters.

BIG STAMP - Regional competition
Jury: Casey Cooper Johnson, Production manager, Filmamaker and winner of ZagrebDox 2008., Irena Taskovski, producer , Silvestar Kolbas, director of photography

The Caviar Connection, Dragan Nikolić
Caviar Connection is a wonderful mixture of observational documentary and creative authorship. It shows the inevitable disappearing world of traditional fishing through the colorful, character driven story of one family. The film pulls us so fully into this world, that we can’t help but have warmth for these flawed characters, find humor in their ordinary situations, and feel compassion for their struggles.

Jury Special Mention:
Cash & Marry, Atanas Georgiev
Cash and Marry addresses the very relevant theme of illegal immigration through a highly personal and entertaining approach. Sure to please crowds around the globe, the film succeeds in touching this thorny subject in a way that will be revealing and thought-provoking for audiences from both sides of this divide.

21st Second, Željko Mirković
21st Second is a refreshing look at the humanity behind the “hero” protagonist, who faces the dilemmas of rebuilding his life, and ultimately discovers the beauty of a second chance at being a good father.

LITTLE STAMP for Best Film of a young author up to 30 years of age
Young Jury: students of the Film Department of the Academy of Dramatic Arts Saša Bijelić, David Kapac and Davor Kanjir

On the Way to School, Orhan Eskikoy and Özgür Dogan
Jury Special Mention:
Silent removal, Wolfram Huke
Both films are the proof that the best films are made when their makers are focused on ordinary, and yet universal, themes and stories characterized by a clear attitude, vision and, ultimately, intense emotions. The afore mentioned gets particularly interesting when one takes into account the fact that these films have been made by young authors who are just beginning their film-making careers.

MOVIES THAT MATTER AWARD - for best film dealing with human rights issues
Jury: Tin Gazivoda, director of Human Rights Center, Croatia, Magdalena Petrović, producer (Fade In) and Jon Alpert, american journalist and filmmaker
Burma VJ - Reporting from a Closed Country, Anders Ostergaard
Show how common citizen don’t give up and use cameras as a weapon to fight against fear. Cameras that owercame fear - shine a light into darkness and break the silence imposed by an opressive military regim

Jury Special Mention:
Slaves, Hanna Heilborn, David Aronowitsch
Creative and respectful use of animation to tell a difficult story in a way that can reach young and old alike

The Mother, Antoine Cattin, Pavel Kostomarov
Helps to understand te tragedy of children born into a deep and neverending cycle of poverty, violence and hoplesness.

(D.H., 02.03.2009)