Established in 2019, the IDFA Talent Award at Visions du Réel 2020 went to the Russian filmmaker Alex Evstigneev for his 20-minute documentary The Golden Buttons, which screened in the Opening Scenes section of the 51st, online edition of the Nyon-based festival (April 17 - May 2).
Awarded by IDFA Industry & Docs for Sale Manager Laurien ten Houten and Senior Programmer Raul Nino Zambrano, the prize will take Evstigneev to the next edition of IDFA with all expenses covered and a tailor-made program within the festival's industry and training activities.
At the Visions du Réel closing ceremony, which took place online on May 3, ten Houten congratulated the festival on its successful virtual edition and said: "We were again impressed, moved and surprised by the variety and overall quality of the films. It was nice to see how a new generation dares to experiment and to address relevant topics."
"The decision wasn’t an easy one but we are confident in the winning filmmaker’s sensibility and craft, and are sure that their career will continue to produce films of great creativity, such as this one, in which images and sounds are beautifully arranged, offering an invitation to imagine the inner world of its young subjects," she concluded before announcing the award for Evstigneev.
In the film, Evstigneev films volunteer teenagers who are training to serve in the National Guard created by Putin in 2016 to supress dissent to his regime. Using the style of framed photographs and capturing both the indoctrination and the boys' intimate moments, the filmmaker reveals their extreme fragility.
Evstigneev was born and raised in the city of Shatura and is currently studying documentary filmmaking at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography in Moscow, where he made both The Golden Buttons and his previous short The Track, which had its world premiere at DOK Leipzig in 2019. The Golden Buttons is next going to be screened in the short documentary competition at the 60th Krakow Film Festival (May 31 - June 7).