Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country has won the VPRO Joris Ivens Award 2008, the main competition at IDFA (the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam).
Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country consists largely of material filmed in secret by a group of reporters during the uprising against the military authorities in Burma in September last year.
Jury member Bianca Stigter described Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country as, 'a harrowing reminder of the power and the weakness of images,'. The film was directed by Anders Ostergaard from Denmark.
Represented internationally by First Hand Films, Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country also won the festival's Movies That Matter human rights award.
The jury of the Joris Ivens competition also awarded a Special Jury Award to Rick Minnich and Matthew Sweetwood for Forgetting Dad), which deals with the emotional consequences for those around him of the sudden and inexplicable loss of memory suffered by Minnich's father.
Burma VJ - Reporting From a Closed Country ranked highly in the festival's audience award charts, coming third, behind Fabio Wuytack's Persona Non Grata and the audience award winner, RIP - A Remix Manifesto by Brett Gaylor.
Silver Wolf Award
Meanwhile, Boris Ryzhy by Aliona van der Horst, won the Silver Wolf, the festival's main award for mid-length documentaries. The film is about the Russian poet, Boris Ryzhy, who tragically died at a very earl age.
For the first time, the Silver Wolf jury also presented a Special Jury Award to Lady Kul el Arab by Ibtisam Mara'ana.
Andrei Dascalescu received the First Appearance award for Constantin and Elena which centres on the everyday life of an elderly Romanian couple.
Other awards announced at the closing ceremony on Saturday night include the second IDFA student award, which went to Shakespeare and Victor Hugo's Intimacies by Yulene Olaizola, about her grandmother's friendship with the talented writer Jorge Riosse. The film was made with support from the festival's Jan Vrijman Fund, which supports creative documentary in developing countries.
The DOC U! award went to Kassim the Dream by Kief Davidson. This documentary is about Kassim Ouma, who at the age of six was forced to serve as a child soldier, escaped, and went on to become a boxing champion in the USA.