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‘Twice Colonized’ Picks Up Top Award for Docs-in-Progress at Cannes Docs Industry Sidebar

Twice Colonized
“Twice Colonized” (Credit: Cannes Docs)

The top IEFTA (Intl. Film Talent Assn.) award for docs-in-progress at the Cannes Film Market’s documentary-focused industry sidebar Cannes Docs has gone to “Twice Colonized” by Lin Alluna.

The film was developed by the Circle Women Doc Accelerator, a training program for female-identifying documentary filmmakers.

The win marks a hat-trick for Circle since they started their partnership with Cannes Docs in 2020: previous IEFTA Docs-in-Progress Award laureates at the industry event include “Beauty of the Beast” by Anna Nemes, produced by Circle 2018 alumna Ágnes Horváth-Szabó, and “Cent’anni” by Circle 2020 alumna Maja Prelog, produced by Rok Biček.

“Twice Colonized” tells the story of renowned Inuit lawyer Aaju Peter who has led a lifelong fight for the rights of her people. When her youngest son unexpectedly passes away, Aaju embarks on a personal journey to bring her colonizers in both Canada and Denmark to justice.

It is produced by Emile Hertling Péronard for Ánorâk Film (Greenland/Denmark) in co-production with Alethea Arnaquq-Baril and Stacey Aglok MacDonald for Red Marrow Media (Nunavut, Canada) and Bob Moore for EyeSteelFilm (Canada).

Receiving the award, Alluna thanked the Circle team and her film’s main character: “I want to thank Aaju, a lawyer and activist who generously shares her life story and bares her soul for us to learn from her. We hope you will be inspired by her like we are.”

Handing out the prize, jury member Gugi Gumilang, executive director at In-Docs, said: “The project really struck a chord with the jury for its outstanding empathetic storytelling as it explores a strong woman who wants to change herself and the world. The film walks an emotional tightrope and asks us broader questions around our culpability in systems of inequality.”

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Bye Bye Tiberias Credit: Cannes Docs

Each year, Cannes Docs partners with leading festivals and organizations from around the world to showcase a selection of docs-in-progress for industry decision makers at the Cannes Film Market.

The eight showcases this year were presented by the New Zealand Film Commission; Telefilm Canada, in partnership with Hot Docs and the Montreal Intl. Documentary Festival; Docudays UA in cooperation with the Ukrainian Institute; the Circle Women Doc Accelerator; Scandinavian Films, the umbrella organization of the Danish Film Institute, Finnish Film Foundation, Icelandic Film Center, Norwegian Film Institute and Swedish Film Institute; the Palestine Film Institute; Japan Docs in partnership with Toyko Docs; and Chiledoc, financed by ProChile and the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Heritage.

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Listening To the World Credit: Cannes Docs

At a special ceremony earlier in the day, Doc Alliance, the network bringing together seven of Europe’s leading documentary film festivals – CPH:DOX (Denmark), Doclisboa (Portugal), DOK Leipzig (Germany), FIDMarseille (France), Ji.hlava IDFF (Czech Republic), Millennium Docs Against Gravity (Poland) and Visions du Réel (Switzerland) – announced the winners of its 15th Doc Alliance Awards.

Winners were “A Night of Knowing Nothing,” the debut feature of Indian director Payal Kapadia, which won last year’s Golden Eye for best documentary in Cannes, and “In the Billowing Night” by Erika Etangsalé for best short. Both were nominated by the Intl. Film Festival Marseille. Special Mention went to “The Eclipse” by Nataša Urban, nominated by CPH:DOX, where it picked up the top Dox:Award this year.

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Malqueridas Credit: Cannes Docs

The DAE (Documentary Association of Europe) Award went to “Listening to the World” by Yelizaveta Smith, part of the Ukraine Showcase.

It tells the story of Iva, who hears nothing of the world around her because of a disability. An art curator and human-right activist trying to find her place in the world and make it hear her, she is forced to evacuate bombed Kharkiv when the war breaks out. She flees to Germany, where she, her son and thousands of other Ukrainians try to find peace.

Canadian doc-in-progress “Yintah,” by Michael Toledano, Jennifer Wickham and Brenda Michell, picked up the Think-Film Impact Award, and the Alphapanda Award went to “Malqueridas” by Chilean director Tana Gilbert.

The new Al Jazeera Documentary Award, which comes with a cash prize of €15,000, went to “Bye Bye Tiberias” by Lina Soualem, the daughter of Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass, who left her native village in Galilea to follow her acting dream in France. Camera in hand, Soualem questions her mother’s bold choices and the way the women in her family have influenced her life.

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Yintah Credit: Amber Bracken