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).

The film, described by jury member Bianca Stigter, as 'a harrowing reminder of the power and the weakness of images,' was directed by Dane, Anders Østergaard.

It 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.

The Joris Ivens award comes in the wake of the Dox award that Burma VJ won at CPH Dox in Copenhagen earlier this month. Represented internationally by First Hand Films, Burma VJ also won the festival's Movies That Matter Human Rights award.

The film 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.

The jury of the Joris Ivens Competition also awarded a Special Jury Award to Rick Minnich and Matthew Sweetwood for Forgetting Dad (Germany), which deals with the emotional consequences for those around him of the sudden and inexplicable loss of memory suffered by Minnich's father.

Meanwhile, one of the best-liked films in the festival, Boris Ryzhy (the Netherlands) 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 (Israel) by Ibtisam Mara'ana.

Andrei Dascalescu received the First Appearance Award for Constantin
and Elena (Romania/Spain), which centres on the everyday life of an
elderly Romanian couple.

Sally Berger, jury chair, commented of the 'intimate and humorous scenes in their home are eloquently captured through a discreet and fluid camera that follows them in their everyday tasks'.

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
(Mexico) by Yulene Olaizola, about her
grandmother's friendship with the talented writer Jorge Riosse, who
died young, and rented a room from her.

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 (USA) 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.