Emerging Russian director Anna Artemyeva has taken home the IDFA Spotlight Award for her short film Don't Hesitate to Come for a Visit, Mom. The co-production between Belgium, Hungary, Portugal, and Russia is the first short film to win the IDFA Spotlight Award this year, securing Artemyeva an industry prize package that includes travel, accommodation, and accreditation at IDFA 2021 alongside consultancy within the IDFA industry network.
The 12-minute film, which garnered praise as a “poignant contemporary version of maternal melodrama” in Visions du Réel’s Opening Scenes section, examines the distance between a mother and her young daughter who keep in contact entirely through video calls. As Artemyeva elaborates, the topic strikes a personal note for her as an international director and film student.
“I did this film Don't Hesitate to Come for a Visit, Mom because at that time it was the biggest pain in my life—the inability to be with my family while studying in Europe due to visa issues and the lack of support for foreign students with children. And I wanted to show that behind any numbers, real human lives are standing. For example, the life of my three-year-old daughter, who for more than a year was away from her mother,” says Artemyeva.
“This filmmaker invited complete trust in their creative and sensitive storytelling,” said Laurien ten Houten, IDFA Industry & Docs for Sale Manager, at the Visions du Réel award ceremony. “In this film, we were moved by a little girl and the daring decisions made by the filmmaker. We believe that IDFA can be of use for the filmmaker to develop the next steps of her career, and we are very much looking forward to seeing her next film.”
With the IDFA Spotlight Award under her belt, Artemyeva is now focusing on finishing her graduation film in the DOC NOMADS directing program while making plans for her debut feature film: a documentary that she plans to film on five different continents. The director reports that research for the ambitious project will begin in July, with the hopes of pitching the project this winter in Amsterdam.
Read more about Don't Hesitate to Come for a Visit, Mom via Visions du Réel.