Alexander Nanau’s Collective
On Wednesday 9 September, the annual Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival Docaviv announced the winners for its 22nd edition, held digitally this year.
Docaviv 2020 commenced 3 September and was originally scheduled to run to 12 September. However, due to the online format’s success the festival decided to extend the festival with a selection of films until the end of the month. The list of films that will be available, will be announced on the festival’s website on Sunday, 13 September.
With Docaviv being one of the Academy Award qualifying documentary film festivals, the winners of the international competition, Israeli competition and short competition are automatically eligible for Oscar consideration.
Maya Sarfaty’s Love It Was Not was awarded the festival’s top award – the Frank Lowy Award for the Best Israeli Film worth 70,000 ILS (€17,400 EUR). The film will also receive a marketing grant of 100,000 ILS (€24,900) for a US Academy Award Campaign.
The film tells the unbelievable and tragic love story between a young Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz and Austrian SS officer Franz Wunsch. The jury celebrated the film’s “powerful dramatic effect” and said it “balances the thin line between aggressor and victim, while managing to capture the horrors of war, present moving, living testimonies, explore the themes of memory and forgetting, and raise poignant questions about the deceptive power of love.”
Alexander Nanau’s corruption drama Collective won the Best International Film Award worth 20,000 ILS, courtesy of the Ministry of Culture and Sport and The Israeli Film Council. As the jury stated, “Nanau’s masterful film unfolds in a compelling, suspenseful way from beginning to end. The story of the bravery and futility of individuals trying to fight large-scale political fraud is argued with great cinematic power. His panoramic portrait of systemic corruption is universal and especially urgent for our time.”
Short Film Competition
Huntsville Station by Chris Filippone and Jamie Meltzer was awarded the Best Short Award worth 4,000 ILS. Set on the threshold between prison and the outside world, newly-released inmates taste their first moments of freedom as they wait for the bus that will take them back to their lives. The jury called it a “loving, touching observational documentary”.
Depth of Field Competition
In the Depth of Field Competition, the strand that pushes the envelope of the documentary genre, the Artistic Vision Award (10,000 ILS) was awarded to Tokyo Ride by Louise Lemoine and Ila Bêka, which celebrated its world premiere at Docaviv. The jury noted how “the movie rejects any pathos, and the decision of the filmmakers to stick to what seems to be a small-scale production is not taken for granted when it comes to a world-renowned architect.”
Beyond the Screen Award
The Beyond the Screen Award, a new award worth 5,000 ILS and initiated by the festival this year for films whose subjects work to change our political, social and ecological reality, went to Aswang by Alyx Ayn Arumpac. “The filmmaker struggled in a very complicated ground to expose the terrible injustice done to the deprived parts of society, including children, who receive in this film the grace of being visible only to the eye of the camera,” the jury stressed.