Jury Report: IDFA Competition for First Appearance 2016

We'd like to thank Ally Derks and the entire IDFA family for giving us the opportunity to immerse ourselves in world-class cinema for the last week. We saw incredible talent in cinematography, editing, and story, and we saw emerging filmmakers finding their voices and creatively pushing the genre into new and exciting directions, all while maintaining a deep respect for the viewer. And, partly due to sheer quality, this made our work extremely difficult! But it wasn’t the only reason. Recent world events have intensified the discussion around the role of documentary cinema. Our jury would like to take this opportunity to encourage our fellow filmmakers, veterans and newcomers alike, to address the pressing issues our world is facing, using the language of cinema to engage with the audience on an emotional level. We may be entering a dark time, but we’ve seen the future of filmmaking, and it looks bright.

IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance, in honor of Peter Wintonick
The winner of the special jury prize is a wonderful example of everything Peter stood for. A work of immense and focused dedication, this film is an intimate story that sheds light on a phenomenon of truly global implications. We see traces of ourselves in the story of two families trying to make their way in the world, and we can literally see the traces of many of our lifestyle and economic choices in their own heart-wrenching circumstances.
The IDFA Special Jury Award for First Appearance goes to Plastic China by Jiu-liang Wang.

IDFA Award for Best First Appearance
As mentioned earlier, we encourage filmmakers to tackle the most pressing issues our world is facing. But cinema is also a visual art form, and its power to engage the viewer on an emotional level can bring deep understanding of ourselves and our place in the world. Many films in our category showed us the power of this emotional engagement, however one stood out for its sheer discipline in form and structure, and power in conveying a deeply moving and intimate story. Its unflinching gaze brings us deep inside a family forever changed by one moment, teaching us about both our strength and our essential frailty.
The IDFA Award for Best First Appearance goes to Who We Were by Sine Skibsholt.

Jury Biographies

Marjoleine Boonstra is a film director with over 25 years of experience. The central theme in her documentaries can be described as "what keeps mankind alive" – a line taken from the title of one of her many documentaries, which are screened at international film festivals and have won multiple awards. 2014 saw the premiere of her first feature film Kurai Kurai, awarded with the Prix Emile Guimet. She combines a poetic visual approach with a compassionate view on the world, which makes her documentaries both striking and touching. In 2014-2015, she was a tutor of the IDFA Mediafonds Workshop.

Uldis Cekulis created the independent production company VFS Films almost 18 years ago and later won the International Trailblazer prize at MIPDoc in Cannes. He has worked on almost 50 creative documentaries and TV projects both as a producer and a cameraman. Many of the films he produced, such as Roof on the Moonway, Theodore, The Deconstruction of an Artist, Double Aliens and Ukrainian Sheriffs, have received awards around the world. They include a nomination for the European Film Academy Documentary Award 2005 for Dreamland by Laila Pakalnina, and the Lithuanian official Academy Award entry Ramin by Audrius Stonys in 2012 for Best Foreign Language Film. He has co-produced documentaries with production companies throughout Europe. Other activities include tutoring at EDN-organized workshops in Europe and the Caucasus. Cekulis is currently working on five documentary co-productions. 

Kahane Cooperman is a documentary filmmaker and TV producer. Her award-winning short documentary Joe's Violin had its world premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. She was the executive producer of the TV series The New Yorker Presents and co-executive producer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. For her work at the show, she received 11 prime time Emmy awards and three Peabody awards. Cooperman began her filmmaking career at Maysles Films in New York, where she worked with documentary pioneer Albert Maysles. In addition to Joe’s Violin, she has produced and directed several other documentaries including Cool Water, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and Making Dazed about Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, which was broadcast on AMC and acquired by the Criterion Collection. She also produced Nick Broomfield’s feature documentary Heidi Fleiss: Hollywood Madam. Cooperman has an MFA in Film from Columbia University.

Samir Mehanovic is a Bosnian-born and UK-based film director, producer and screenwriter. During the Bosnian war, he worked as a theater director and was invited with his theater company to perform at the Edinburgh Festival in 1995. He has been there ever since, directing and producing theater and short films. In 2004, Mehanovic completed an MA in Film and TV at the Edinburgh College of Art. The following year, he wrote and directed the short film The Way We Played, for which he won the BAFTA award (2005), and he made his TV debut directing for BBC Artworks in 2008. In 2011, Mehanovic attended the Binger Director's Lab in Amsterdam. In 2015, he shot, directed and produced The Fog of Srebrenica, which had its international premiere at IDFA 2015, winning the IDFA Special Jury Award. He is currently working on several documentary and fiction films within his company Paradiso Films Ltd.

Bob Moore is a creative producer and co-president of EyeSteelFilm in Montreal. He specializes in cinematic documentaries, and has had the good fortune to showcase many of them at IDFA over the years. A few highlights include Forest of the Dancing Spirits directed by Linda Västrik, Rip: A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor, Last Train Home by Lixin Fan, Chameleon by Ryan Mullins and I Am the Blues by Daniel Cross. Moore also oversees EyeSteelFilm’s theatrical distribution company and its new Creative Reality Lab, which focuses on meaningful interactive and immersive storytelling. He has degrees in philosophy, fine art and law, and regularly lectures at and consults with film institutions around the world.
Call for Entry: IDFA Bertha Fund December 22, 2016 | The IDFA Bertha Fund is looking for new creative documentary projects from developing countries for both its classic program and the IBF Europe distribution scheme.
Ally Derks receives Pioneer Award December 12, 2016 | Last Saturday, Ally Derks received a prestigious Pioneer Award from the International Documentary Association.
Open Call: Short Web Documentaries November 26, 2016 | IDFA and Jos de Putter from Deep Focus Web Documentaries invite entries for project proposals from talented (young) filmmakers.


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