×

‘In a Whisper’ and ‘Sunless Shadows’ Win Top Awards at IDFA

Directors Heidi Hassan and Patricia Pérez Fernández were the winners of the IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary with “In a Whisper,” a film that focuses on two emigrated Cuban filmmakers reunited by their passion for film, friendship and freedom.

The jury, which comprised Claire Simon, Mila Turajlić, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Gaston Kaboré, and Rima Mismar, described the film as “a magical, original, and risk-taking cinematic endeavor,” which embodied “a refreshing expression of womanhood; an ode to loss; a celebration of friendship, will, and vulnerability; a reclaiming of hope and passion; and a piercingly honest cinematic dialogue.”

Iranian docmaker Mehrdad Oskouei won the award for directing for his subtly devastating film “Sunless Shadows,” which focuses on young women serving time for the murder of a male relative. The jury was very impressed by the director’s “approach to a pressing subject which he skilfully turns into a metaphor for a whole country.” The director “portrays the complexity and tragedy of the characters’ condition and their haunting stories, while challenging notions such as freedom, safety, and love,” the jury said.

The award for editing went to Sander Vos for Dutch pic “Punks,” directed by Maasja Ooms, which looks at a group of troubled teenagers struggling with their inner demons. The jury said the award was given for “the intelligent and sensitive editing that sets the tone for the dramatic structure of the film.” The jury also praised it for “powerfully balancing between a slow-paced, almost actionless daily struggle, and a jittery inner world of held emotions and wounded selves.”

Popular on Variety

The film’s Maasja Ooms won the award for cinematography for “the rigorous camerawork that captures the inner transformations of the characters and elegantly stands at the right position and distance from extremely intimate situations and dramatic revelations.”

In the IDFA Competition for First Appearance the top award was won by Britain’s Lucy Walker for “Solidarity,” which looks at how a blacklist operated in the U.K. to exclude construction workers who complained about working conditions. The jury—which included Paolo Moretti, Anand Patwardhan, Emma Davie, Maya Hawke, and Tatiana Huezo—called it “a rigorous, complex, and clever yet accessible look at a strongly contemporary issue, which transcends its subject and transforms it into a disquieting universal warning.”

Special mentions went to “Froth” by Ilya Povolotsky, and “I Owe You a Letter About Brazil” by Carol Benjamin.

IDFA’s artistic director Orwa Nyrabia presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Danish documentary filmmaker Jørgen Leth, who said: “People often ask me what motivates me to continue making films, and I always answer that it’s all very simple—I just cannot stop!”

He added: “My almost 50 films during the last 57 years were made on behalf of my lust and my curiosity to explore the art of filmmaking. My work can be seen as a whole and as a continuous exploration of how to make films.”

For a full list of award winners see here.

More Film

  • LAS MIL Y UNA

    Panorama ‘One in a Thousand’ Opening Points to Berlin DNA

    BERLIN — If there’s one thing that marks the Berlinale apart from most of the world’s biggest festivals, it’s the warmth  and sophistication of the relation between visiting filmmakers and the Berlin Festival’s huge festival-going public. This year’s Panorama opening, marked by the world premiere of Argentine Clarisa Navas’ queer drama “One in a Thousand,” [...]

  • I Lost My Body Oscar Nominated

    Cannes' Critics' Week To Be Hosted in Revamped Venue

    Critics’ Week, the strand dedicated to first and second films which runs along side the Cannes Film Festival, will be hosted in a revamped venue starting this year for the 59th edition. The Miramar theater, where films and shorts selected for Critics’ Week are being screened, is being completely remodelled by the city of Cannes, [...]

  • comp

    Berlin: ‘Euphoria’s' Bobbi Salvor Menuez Joins Cast of Kuba Czekaj’s English Debut (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bobbi Salvör Menuez (HBO’s “Euphoria,” “Under the Silver Lake”) has joined an international cast for “Lipstick on the Glass,” the English-language debut of acclaimed Polish director Kuba Czekaj (“Baby Bump”), Variety has learned exclusively. Pic will star Agnieszka Podsiadlik (“Mug”), who previously collaborated with Czekaj on Berlin player “The Erlprince.” The international cast includes Menuez [...]

  • Martin Margiela

    Oscilloscope Swoops for U.S. Rights to Martin Margiela Feature Doc From Dogwoof (EXCLUSIVE)

    Oscilloscope has swooped for U.S. rights to a feature documentary on mysterious fashion designer Martin Margiela from doc specialist Dogwoof. The elusive Belgian designer, considered the “Banksy of fashion” because he never appears in public, is known for rising in the ranks from Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant to creative director at Hermes and ultimately to an [...]

  • Goldie Review

    'Goldie': Film Review

    Slick Woods plays the titular streetwise 18-year-old New Yorker in “Goldie,” a character who’s constantly running toward, or away, from things — a life of perpetual motion that doesn’t actually get her anywhere. In the confident hands of Dutch writer-director Sam de Jong, Goldie’s story is one of big dreams and harsh realities, and the [...]

  • Charades Scores Flurry of Sales Across

    Charades Scores Flurry of Sales Across Prestige Animation Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    Charades, the Paris-based sales company behind the Oscar-nominated “I Lost My Body” and “Mirai,” has closed a raft of deals on high-profile animated features, including “Little Nicholas” and “Marona’s Fantastic Tale.” Anca Damian’s “Marona’s Fantastic Tale,” which world premiered in competition at last year’s Annecy Film Festival and was nominated at the European Film Awards, [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Federation Entertainment Acquires Alejandro Amenabar’s ‘Thesis’ for Series Adaptation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Paris and Los Angeles-based Federation Entertainment has acquired the TV format and remake rights to Alejandro Amenábar’s debut feature, “Thesis.” It’s a prime example of the value of key older movie titles from standout younger foreign-language auteurs. Producer of “The Bureau,” “Marseille,” “Bad Banks” and “Hostages,” Federation Entertainment will produce a drama series based on [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content