The 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival-Images of the 21st Century (March 15-24) and its concurrent Doc Film Market drew to a close with a series of awards.

Audience and Fipresci are the principal prizes at the non-competitive event.

Blood Brother by Steve Hoover (US) and The High Price of Gold by Ross Domoney (Congo/UK) received the audience awards in the international programme.

Blood Brother centres on a young American who moved to India to take care of Aids-infected children. It previously won the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at this year’s Sundance.

Preferred Content handles sales of the film, which was made by US production company Animal.

The High Price of Gold deals with the violations suffered by female workers at the gold mines in the East Democratic Republic of Congo. It was produced by the UK’s Aletheia Photos in collaboration with Met Film School. 

In the Greek selection the audience awards went to The Grocer by Dimitris Koutsabasiakos and A Heritage, In Deep Agony by Kyriaki Malama.

The Grocer is a road movie that follows a travelling grocer who serves the inhabitants of remote mountain villages in northern Greece. World sales are handled by KinoLab.

A Heritage: In Deep Agony deals with the forced expatriation by the Turks in 1920 of Greeks living in the Black Sea area. World sales are handled by Greece’s ET3.

The Fipresci awards went to Parts of a Family by Mexico’s Diego Gutierrez and They Glow in the Dark by Greece’s Panayotis Evangelidis, which follows two Aids-infected gay men living in post-Katrina New Orleans.They are sold respectively by Deckert Distribution (Germany) and Rendezvous Pictures (France).

  • See below for other awards

The festival, under the artistic direction of founder Dimitri Eipides, featured 200 titles across ten sections offering an ample panorama of social and political documentaries from around the world.

Tight budgets

The event was held on a small budget as a result of the ongoing Greek financial crisis. Subsidies from the almost extinct local ministry of culture are drying up. Funding came from private sponsors: the EU’s NRDF scheme and the MEDIA programme.

The programme, organization, workshops and masterclasses were well received despite the low budget.

Titles that stood out in the international selection included Kirby Dick’s The Invisible War (US), which deals with violations of women soldiers in the US army.

On a similar subject in Pakistan, Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann presented Outlawed in Pakistan (Pakistan-US).

Celebrated British director Kim Longinotto was back with Selma, another portrait in her series of womens’ conditions in the third world.

Family relations proved another hot topic and were seen in Uruguayan film The Flowers of my Family by Juan Ignacio Fernandez as well as Private Universe by the renowned Chech film-maker Helen Trestikova.

Greek films premiered at the event hit a record number of no less than 58 titles, dealing with local topics such as illegal immigrants, environment degradation and the social situation in the debt-ridden country.

Guzman tribute

The main tribute of the event was dedicated to the celebrated Chilean documentary master Patricio Guzman.

The homage, curated by Dimitris Kerkinos, included all his films from the emblematic The Battle of Chile (1972-79) down to Nostalgia for the Light hailed at Cannes 2010.

A special volume on his work was published on the occasion and a round table event was organized on the subject “From The Battle of Chile to Europe in Crisis: Mistakes, Precepts and Hopes”.

Guzman participated through a TV link from Paris as just days before the start of the festival he suffered an accident that forced him to cancel his presence at the event.

Doc Film Market

On the trade side, the Doc Film Market presented a record number totaling more than 500 titles and was attended by more than 50 foreign and local professionals.

Sales agents such as Jan Rofekamp (Film Transit, Canada) and TV commissioning editors/buyers from a number of networks as Arte, Canal+, ZDF/Arte, YLE Finland, HBO Europe, Al Jazeera-UK were present filing bids for several titles.

The Docs in Progress award, accompanied by €15,000 towards post-production services, went to the Spanish/Italian project Aunty by Salva Munoz and Manu Gerosa (Oneworld Documakers).

The European Documentary Network (EDN) hold its traditional Pitching Forum for the 15th year in a row with the participation of 18 projects.

The Greek project Playing with Fire by Anneta Papathanassiou and Photini Economopoulou received the ERT (Greek Public TV) Doc on Air award and €7,000 in cash for projects presented at the EDN Pitching Forum.

Other awards

Amnesty International

The best film dealing with human rights issues to:
Call me Kuchu by Katherine Fairfax Wright & Malika Zouhali-Worrall (US)

WWF(World Wildlife Fund)

The best film in the Habitat section to:
Little Land by Nikos Dayandas, (Greece/France)

ET3 (Greek Public Television) Broadcasting Award

Ex aequo for films in the Habitat section to
Little Land by Nikos Dayandas, (Greece/France)
Winter Nomads by Manuel von Stürler, (Switzerland)

Each film will receive €1,500 in cash and will be broadcast by ET3

EDN award 2013

Stefano Tealdi and Joan Gonzáles for over 15 years of contributing to the development of the Southern European documentary culture by founding and running Documentary in Europe and DocsBarcelona. The EDN Award is presented annually during Docs in Thessaloniki to an institution, group or person for outstanding contribution to the development of documentary culture.