Director Joseph Mangat’s “Holy Craft” won the Docs-in-Progress Award at an online ceremony Friday evening to close the Cannes Docs sidebar of the Cannes Film Market Online.
Presented as part of the Showcase Philippines during Cannes Docs, “Holy Craft” (pictured) is a documentary examining the peculiarities of religion, labor and capital intersecting at a Catholic handicrafts factory in the Philippines. The award includes a €10,000 ($11,200) cash prize and professional project follow-up, supported by the International Emerging Film Talent Assn. (IEFTA). Pic is produced by Alemberg Ang (vy/ac Productions, Philippines).
“Through his project, the director offers a look into the backdoor of the Catholic religion business, highlighting its most hidden protagonists, the poor workers of a profit-based economy,” said jury member Lina Soualem. “It’s an intriguing and fascinating subject tackled through an observational point of view with a touch of the absurd which allows us to dive into the contradictions of our contemporary world, balancing between the sacred and the profane.”
The Impact Award was given to “Beauty of the Beast,” an exploration of the world of female bodybuilding, directed by Anna Nemes and produced by Ágnes Horváth-Szabó and András Pires Muhi (ELF Pictures, Hungary). Presented in partnership with Nordisk Panorama, the award offers a two-hour consultation on the ﬁlm’s impact and outreach strategy. The project was presented as part of the Showcase CIRCLE Women Doc Accelerator.
“With a clear and engaging cinematic style, the project portrays the strength of these women by conveying their vulnerability,” said juror Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen. “With great empathy, the filmmaker challenges preconceptions and allows us to observe society through the experience of individuals who are not conforming to social norms. In a delicate and intimate setting, we are invited to look beyond the bodies and into the lives of female bodybuilders.”
The Cineli Digital Award was presented to “The Free Ones” (Les Libres), from director Nicolas Levesque and produced by Levesque and Jean-Philippe Archibald (Canopée, Canada). Presented as part of the Showcase Canada, the film follows four detainees working in a sawmill as they transition back into society at the end of their prison sentences. Paris-based Cineli Digital will provide the filmmakers with a professional DCP.
“Carefully constructed framing and editing create an engaging observation of the daily routines of prisoners on their way to freedom, and the people around them assisting in this move,” said jury member Zane Balčus. “In an unobtrusive manner, we are allowed to enter the complex environment in and around the sawmill, which is the center stage for the change.”
The VOSTAO Award, which offers French and English subtitles from the Paris-based lab, was presented to “Anhell69.” Directed by Theo Montoya and produced by Juan Pablo Castrillon (Desvío Visual, Colombia), Mario Durrieu and Walter Tiepelmann (996 films, Argentina) and Bianca Oana (Monogram Film, Romania), the film explores the mindset of a generation of Colombian youth grappling with suicide and drug overdoses. Pic was presented as part of the Showcase FIDBA.
“For a sensitive and personal portrayal of the director’s generation, balancing on the edge of life and death, the project tackles the question of drug addiction…in an honest and playful manner, blending together different cinematic styles and intimate narration,” said Balčus.
The jurors for this year’s Cannes Docs award ceremony were Zane Balčus, a freelance film critic and head of the Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries in Riga, Latvia; Lina Soualem, a French-Palestinian-Algerian ﬁlmmaker and actress whose debut feature documentary, “Their Algeria,” premiered in Visions du Réel; and Lea Maria Strandbæk Sørensen, the impact and workshop manager of Nordisk Panorama’s Impact and Doc Forward Talent Workshops, which provides consultancy on project development and on how to create targeted campaign strategies and outreach.