The First Appearance competition took us all over the world, from a supermarket in Brazil to a radio studio in Serbia; from the building of a bridge in Colombia and to that of a train tunnel in Georgia. Each and every one of these films invited us to look into their own politics, whether it is on a scale of a small-town household, a local government, or international affairs. It also brought forward an important issue of communication—how to understand each other; to go across personal, and national borders; to be able to listen and hear; and to accept the different opinions and cultures. Mostly made by female filmmakers—something we're happy to applaud in these changing times—the films offered diverse stylistic approaches, ranging from the classic observational documentary to a conceptual choice of setting. The filmmakers were open, not to follow ready-made concepts and clear-cut formulas, but to find the best corresponding formal expression for the chosen subject. The courage and passion of the filmmakers were felt through their work, showing a number of strong personalities coming into an international scene of documentary filmmaking.
It is a film that tells us something that has to be said. A courageous statement of current politics and the power of media. But in the same time, it is a very human story, imbued with the subtle presence of folk legends. It is conveyed in a subjective form, creating a haunting visual and soundscape that evokes a broad spectrum of emotional reactions. The aesthetic choices stress the complexity of the story, creating a gripping cinematic experience.
The FIPRESCI Award goes to Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac.