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Docs in Thessaloniki Project Receives DOC ON AIR Award


On the occasion of the 18th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival — Images of the 21st Century, the ERT S.A. – EDN DOC ON AIR Award was presented to the project Debut directed by Anastasiya Miroshnichenko and produced by Volia Chajkouskaya. The Belarusian documentary project had previously been pitched at the annual EDN pitching forum Docs in Thessaloniki.

Director A. Miroshnichenko & Producer V. Chajkouskaya
receive the DOC ON AIR Award for their project Debut

The DOC ON AIR award is sponsored by Greek public broadcaster ERT and honours the ambitious sociopolitical documentary Debut that was pitched during this year's edition of Docs in Thessaloniki. Apart from a cash prize that is connected to the award, the finalized project will also be broadcast on public television in Greece.

Debut tells the story of Belarusian women serving their sentence in a soviet-like prison among 1500 other first time offenders. Some were pushed to crime by unbearable circumstances or momentary weakness, while others became victims of corrupt courts or miscarriages of justice. Circumstances are harsh in this strict environment but for some women, the so-called Culture Club offers a chance to escape the agony. Several times a week, a group of women prepares for their theatrical debut in the club. Under the guidance of a professional director, the inmates perform theatrical works which allows them to express themselves and experience something that could be described as therapy through art. Yet, these women are mostly concerned about how their life will be once they end their term. How will they cope with their tainted past when returning to the outside world?

Director Anastasiya Miroshnichenko and Producer Volia Chajkouskaya used their unique access to the inmates to understand what circumstances make women in Belarus cross the law and how art changes them within the Soviet-like colony. The production company behind the project is PervajaKinoVideo Kompania (First Film and Video Company, Belarus). The Debut trailer is available here.

Further awards of the 18th TDF include the EDN Award 2016 which was presented to Marianne Lévy-Leblond, ARTE France, for her outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture, with her work in the field of online and interactive documentary. The complete list of films awarded at this year's edition of TDF is available here.

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