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The power of sound and the impacts of war dominated the 26th Ji.hlava Intl. Documentary Film Festival awards, with French doc “07:15 – Blackbird” taking home both the main prize and the cinematography award.

The story of a young girl’s quest to identify the call of a mysterious bird, directed by Judith Auffray and filmed by Mario Valero, the 30-minute doc’s “fairy-tale poeticism,” balancing natural wonder and technology, won over the Opus Bonum jury. The jury said the film “draws us back to the mysteries of our existence.”

The closing gala, after the fest’s focus on war films and a strong presence of Ukrainian filmmakers and their work, paused to honor the fallen in Ukraine as a choir took the stage to sing a traditional hymn, “The Duckling Swims.”

Croatian doc “Deserters,” a study of letters from young Balkan war resistors by Damir Markovina, won the Central and East European award along with sound design honors, while “Over Our Hills,” an ironic look at Swiss military conscripts by Mateo Ybarra, won the Opus Bonum editing prize with its adroit montages of archival material.

Fanie Pelletier’s look at adolescent Quebec girls struggling with identity crises and social media, “Bloom,” won the doc debut prize while Spanish doc “Greater Gospel” by Javier Codesal won honors for original approach with its chronicle of a senior home for LGTBIQ+ residents.

The Czech Joy prize, topping the national competition, went to Lucie Králová’s doc opera “Kapr Code” for its unconventional approach to honoring the life work of composer Jan Kapr.

The robust Czech competition section also awarded “The Visitors,” Veronika Lišková’s doc on a social anthropologist’s efforts to study a community facing climate crises on a Norwegian archipelago, with a special mention while the Czech editing prize went to Jan Bušta’s look at the 1978 Jim Jones cult mass suicide in Guyana, “a-B-C-D-e-F-G-H-i-JONESTOWN.”

The film’s intricate reconstruction of the tragedy, building on sound recordings and edited by Šimon Špidla, impressed jurors with its approach to the tragedy, in which hundreds of followers of Jones were coerced into drinking poison.

The Czech cinematography prize went to Petr Michal’s tribute to Czech film and literary translator Anna Karenina, “Found by the One She Seeks,” filmed by Jakub Vrbík.

Seminal Slovak doc maker Dušan Hanák was also commended for his decades of luminous work, which fest officials said “linked civility with experiments.”

The awards ceremony, at the central Czech Republic town’s DKO culture center, capped a week of talks and debates focused on everything from filmmaking ethics to indie distribution, doc mentorship programs and tributes to inspiring doc makers from the Philippines, Azerbaijan and beyond.

26TH JI.HLAVA INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS

Opus Bonum grand prize
07:15 – Blackbird
Judith Auffray
France

Best Central and East European film
Deserters
Damir Markovina
Croatia

Best editing
Over Our Hills
Mateo Ybarra
Switzerland

Best cinematography
07:15 – Blackbird
Mario Valero

Best documentary debut
Bloom
Fanie Pelletier
Canada

Best original approach
Greater Gospel
Javier Codesal
Spain

Best sound design
Deserters
Miroslav Piškulić

Student jury award
Over Our Hills

CZECH JOY
Kapr Code
Lucie Králová
Slovakia/Czech Republic

Special mention
The Visitors
Veronika Lišková
Slovakia, Norway, Czech Republic

Best editing
a-B-C-D-e-F-G-H-i-JONESTOWN
Jan Bušta/Šimon Špidla
Czech Republic

Best cinematography
Found by the One She Seeks
Petr Michal/Jakub Vrbík
Czech Republic

Student jury award
Happily Ever After
Jana Počtová
Czech Republic

TESTIMONIES
Into the Weeds: Dewayne “Lee” Johnson vs Monsanto Company
Jennifer Baichwal
Canada

Special mentions
Rojek
Zaynê Akyol
Canada

Atlantic Ragagar
Gilles Aubry
Switzerland

FASCINATIONS
The Sound of Time
Jeissy Trompiz
Venezuela, Brazil, Italy

Special mentions
Spectrum Restoration
Felippe Mussel
Brazil

The Geometry of the Hunter
Soh Boram
South Korea

EXPRMNTL.CZ
Glasswork
Zdeněk Picpauer, Zdeněk Picpauer
Czech Republic

Special mentions
Kambium 1492
Denis Kozerawski, Peter Kašpar
Slovakia

The Landscape of Ashes
Eliška Plechatová
Czech Republic

AUDIENCE AWARD
Happily Ever After
Jana Počtová
Czech Republic

CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD CINEMA
Dušan Hanák

SILVER EYE
Love Is Not an Orange
Otilia Babara
Romania

Special mention
Plai. A Mountain Path
Eva Dzhyshyashvili
Ukraine