You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Last Men in Aleppo’ Takes Top Prize at Copenhagen’s CPH:DOX Fest

Feras Fayyad's harrowing frontline study of the Syrian conflict added to its Sundance honors by winning the festival's DOX:AWARD strand.

With the documentary market recently inundated with Syria-themed titles, one title is emerging as the most decorated of the lot. Two months after scooping the Grand Jury Prize in Sundance’s world documentary competition, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s harrowing, immersive war-zone study “Last Men in Aleppo” has also triumphed at CPH:DOX, Copenhagen’s eminent all-doc festival.

Fayyad’s film, which follows a hardy group of White Helmets volunteers at the frontline of the conflict in Aleppo, was handed the top prize in the festival’s premier DOX:AWARD section, by a jury whose members included Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer (“The Act of Killing”), Sundance programmer Caroline Libresco, Patricipant Media’s Laura Kim, Marie-Pierre Macia and Renata Santoro. It was also something of a home-turf victory for the Danish co-production, which was co-directed by Dane Steen Johannessen.

The jury described “Last Men in Aleppo” as “a film whose devastating emotional immediacy plunges us into a Shakespearean tragedy of a people striving to retain their humanity in the face of impossible realities.” Reviewing the film at Sundance for Variety, this critic declared it “viscerally immediate [and] exquisitely realized” and “a standout candidate for crossover distribution.” Copenhagen-based outfit DR Sales is handling international sales.

Gray House,” an enigmatic fusion of documentary and video art that marks an auspicious feature debut for Austin Lynch — son of revered auteur David — was given a special mention by the jury, as was “The John Dalli Mystery,” a real-life political thriller from Danish director Jeppe Rønde — returning to documentary filmmaking after his stylish 2015 festival favorite “Bridgend.”

Winners in the festival’s other strands included Reber Dosky’s “Radio Kobani,” another Syria-set endurance story; it won the F:ACT Award, with Saul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau’s “Trophy” given a special mention. Danish filmmaker Camilla Magid’s “Land of the Free,” which documents social strife in Los Angeles’ South Central district, took the NORDIC:DOX Award, with Egil Håskjold Larsen’s “69 Minutes of 86 Days” as runner-up. The NEW:VISION Award, for documentaries that incorporate visual art, went to Zhou Chen’s “Life Imitation,” with a special mention for Ane Hjort Guttu and Daisuke Kosugi’s “The Lost Dreams of Naoki Hayakawa.” Finally, the inaugural NEXT:WAVE Award for emerging filmmakers was won by Marcos Migliavacca and Nahuel Lahora for “1996 Lucy and the Corpses in the Pool,” with a special mention for Wattanapume Laisuwanchai’s “Phantom of Illumination.”

The awards cap a successful transitional edition of CPH:DOX, now in its fourteenth year. Having previously occupied an early-November slot in the calendar, organizers of the lively Danish fest decided to sit out 2016 in order to shift proceedings to the springier climes of March. A new festival center has also been established in the scenic harborside location of Kunsthal Charlottenborg. With Oscar-nominated musician and artist Anohni as guest curator, this year’s program boasted over 200 films, 75 of them world premieres; the festival closes on Sunday.

More Film

  • Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal to Star in Remake of Denmark's Oscar Entry 'The Guilty' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bold Films, and Jake Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker’s Nine Stories banner have acquired the rights to remake the Danish thriller “The Guilty,” with Gyllenhaal attached to star. The pic won the world cinema audience award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and was also named one of the top five foreign language films of 2018 by [...]

  • Toxic Avenger

    'Toxic Avenger' Movie in the Works at Legendary

    Legendary Entertainment is developing “The Toxic Avenger” as a movie after acquiring the feature film rights. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers. Alex Garcia and Jay Ashenfelter will oversee for Legendary. Kaufman and Herz produced the original 1984 comedy, set in the fictional town of Tromaville, N.J., and centered [...]

  • Constance Wu

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Star Constance Wu in Negotiations for Romantic Comedy

    “Crazy Rich Asians” star Constance Wu is in talks to join Sony’s Screen Gems’ untitled romantic comedy, with Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman producing. “GLOW” actress Kimmy Gatewood is making her feature directorial debut on the project. She will be directing from a Savion Einstein script about a woman who becomes pregnant with two babies [...]

  • Maggie Gyllenhaal AoA

    Maggie Gyllenhaal on Why a Woman Director Doesn't Automatically Make a Story More Feminine

    Having a female director doesn’t automatically make a story more feminine, says “The Kindergarten Teacher” star Maggie Gyllenhaal, but when it comes to her film with director Sara Colangelo, she says the female narrative is fully encapsulated. “Just because something is written or directed by a woman doesn’t necessarily make it a feminine articulation,” she says [...]

  • Kevin Hart Hurricane Harvey

    Academy Looks Warily at Oscar Host Options As Board Meeting Looms

    Kevin Hart’s abrupt departure as Oscars host has left the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences scrambling to find someone to take the gig. As of now, the situation remains fluid as the group’s leadership explores options, including going host-less, individuals familiar with the situation told Variety. The Academy was blindsided by Hart’s announced departure Thursday [...]

  • Regina King Maggie Gyllenhaal

    Maggie Gyllenhaal, Regina King on Intimacy Experts: 'I Could Have Used the Help When I Was Younger'

    Maggie Gyllenhaal’s sex-trade industry series “The Deuce” features one job that’s unlike any other in television: an intimacy expert. During her Variety Actors on Actors interview with Regina King, “The Kindergarten Teacher” actress explained how the strange role is actually important in helping young actresses stand up for themselves, especially when it comes to sex scenes on [...]

  • Javier Bardem Elle Fanning Salma Hayek

    Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek to Star in Sally Potter Drama

    Production has begun in Spain on Sally Potter’s untitled family drama, starring Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, and Laura Linney. The story is described as a chronicle of a wild day in the life of a man on the edge, held together by the unconditional love of his daughter with Bardem and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content