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Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 Award Winners Announced


The Sheffield Doc/Fest 2015 awards were announced yesterday at The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield with numerous awards for a variety of categories ranging from the Grand Jury Award to awards for interactive storytelling and short docs.

Award Winners of the 2015 edition of Sheffield Doc/Fest

Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Grand Jury prize was awarded to A Syrian Love Story (director Sean McAllister, United Kingdom, 2015). On behalf of the Grand Jury Ruby Chen said: “The Jury were enamoured by this Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love, taking place against an ever-changing and tumultuous backdrop. Delivering unusual gender portraits it explores vulnerabilities, looking at the concept of belonging, providing a unique and intimate portrait of disillusionment.”

The Grand Jury: Kaleem Aftab (Journalist / UK) · John Akomfrah (Smoking Dog Films / UK) · Ruby Chen (CNEX / China) · Sigrid Dyekjaer (Producer / Denmark) · Alexandra Hannibal (Tribeca Film Institute / USA)

Nominated Films
A Sinner in Mecca | A Syrian Love Story | A Young Patriot | Cartel Land | Good Girl | Orion: The Man Who Would Be King | Portraits of a Search | Tea Time | The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution | The Confessions of Thomas Quick | The Hunting Ground | The Russian Woodpecker


The Environmental Prize was awarded to How to Change the World (director Jerry Rothwell, Canada/United Kingdom, 2015). Speaking for the jury, Margret Jonasdottir, Sagafilm said, “The strength of mind and willpower of the filmmaker to recapture and recreate the archive was poetically echoed in the film itself. From powerful images of protagonists standing arm-in-arm in front of a moving ship, cracking through the ice, to a man prepared to handcuff himself to the fruits of the harvest at risk of his life, gave meaning to how hard it is to change the world. And yet the film dealt with both success – the mind bomb - and with ultimate failure. The complicated relationships were captivatingly Shakespearean, a powerful dramatic narrative of how individual passion is transformed into organisational activism.”

Jury: Rehad Desai (Uhuru Productions / South Africa) · Pat Ferns (Ferns Productions Inc. / Canada) · Jeanie Finlay (Glimmer Films / UK) · Francesco Giai Via (CinemAmbiente, Environmental Film Festival / Italy) · Margret Jonasdottir (Sagafilm / Iceland)

Nominated Films
Addicted to Sheep | Containment | How To Change The World | In Between Mountains and Oceans | Landfill Harmonic | Licence to Krill |
Merchants of Doubt | Sunu


The Sheffield Youth Jury Award was given to 3½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (director Marc Silver, United States, 2015). Speaking on behalf of the Youth Jury of six exceptional young documentary lovers chosen from hundreds of applicants, Maia Kelly said "Out of a very strong and diverse category we agreed there was a clear winner, the film we chose tackled themes of race, youth, and injustice, with real power, depth and emotional resonances. It is a film that is not only politically significant, but valuable as a work of cinematic art. It examined one of the key issues of current affairs: how structural inequality is intuitionally enshrined in global society. By transcending news journalism, the film allowed us to empathise and connect with those framed as minority groups. The film is not only profound in its exploration of court proceedings and legal battles, but also in its use of cinematography and aesthetics.”

Jury: Tom Draper · Nyasha Duri · Maia Kelly · Jade Jackman · Michael Muyun

Nominated Films
3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets | Breaking a Monster | Little People Big Dreams | Oriented | Speed Sisters


This year’s Short Doc award was given to Starting Point (director Michal Szczesniak, Poland, 2015, 25mins). Speaking on behalf of the jury, Will Massa from the British Council said: “We were most taken with a very human story, one that on the surface appears quite simple, but where the filmmaker managed to also communicate something deeply complex, delivered with the necessary dramatic edge that made it so compelling for it's audience. Starting point had an intimate way of shooting, an engaging 'unravelling' of the story and a deep respect for its subject matter.”

Jury: Ailsa Ferrier (Curzon Home Cinema, UK / UK) · Will Massa (British Council / UK) · Derek Richards (Creative Skillset / UK) · Peter Taylor (Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival / UK) · Eva Weber (Filmmaker / UK)

Nominated Films
Dear Araucaria | The Doctor Leaves Last | Growing Home | Luchadora |
My Enemy, My Brother | Object | Papa Machete | Pink Boy | RELISH | Starting Point | Super Unit | The Face Of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul | The Last Smallholder | The Many Sad Fates of Mr Toledano | The Public Life of Manick G.


Sheffield Doc/Fest’s Interactive Award was given to Clouds Over Sidra (directors Gabo Arora, Chris Milk, United States, 2015). Speaking on behalf of the jury of international film and interactive media experts, app producer Catherine Allen said: “We had a rather dramatic deliberation process. It was difficult to choose because although they’re fantastic projects which are in documentary form, they are using different platforms. “The world of documentary is being transformed and each piece explores a very different dimensions of that change.

Our winner was chosen because it really make the most of the platform [...] Clouds Over Sidra took us into the Za’Atari refugee camp and achieved a level of empathy that went beyond what’s possible in traditional film. It managed to make the technology disappear from view, and instead guided by powerful voice. One of a few such awards in the documentary world, this is the home of the cutting edge of documentary."

Jurors: Catherine Allen (Touchpress / UK) · Mandy Chang (ABC / Australia) · John Kingsbury (KTN / UK) · Oscar Raby (VRTOV / Australia) · Bill Thompson (Technology critic, Journalist / UK)

Interactive Projects
1979 Revolution | Clouds Over Sidra | Do Not Track | Interactive Haikus
POETASTR | Priya's Shakti | That Dragon Cancer | Universe Within: Digital Lives in the Global Highrise


For the full list of awards, please visit the Sheffield Doc/Fest website.