Yesterday marked the closing night of the 2021 edition of the Doc.Berlin Documentary Film Festival. The edition was a double one, after the festival found itself forced to postpone its 2020 event last year. They were pleased to find a home once again at the beautiful historic Babylon cinema, for 4 days of Covid-proof screenings. Festival Director Kris De Meester: "I see organising a film festival as a way of connecting people. Doing that during a Covid uprise is a challenge. When you're supposed to socially distance you don't tend to go to crowded indoor events. Hence the fact that Babylon decided to halt their normal film program. After careful consideration we decided to still go ahead with the festival. We wanted to show these amazing films. Thanks to the amazing staff of Babylon we were able to have a safe and successful double edition, connecting filmmakers with an appreciative audience."
Doc.Berlin was happy to welcome their special guests, Anne Münch, Saverio Cappiello, Lars Ostmann, Lea Bloch, Sophia Schachtner, and Laura Rosen. A big thank you also to ExBerliner for covering the event and calling it ‘a platform to up-and-coming artists’.
The festival screened both last year's selection of films (take a look back at the 2020 award winners on the website: https://www.docberlin.org/2020), and another fresh new batch of documentaries for 2021, carefully selected out of over a 1000 submissions from all over the world. With the jury members having cast their votes, Doc.Berlin is pleased to announce to you today the 2021 award winners:
Best Feature Documentary Film: A NEW SHIFT (Czech Republic) by Jindřich Andrš. “Tomas has been working underground as a coal miner for 25 years. When the mine has to close due to the general decline of coal mining, he is offered a new career as a computer programmer. He enrolls in a state-funded re-education programme, preparing him for one of the most in-demand jobs. Tomas takes up the challenge and gets ready to transform his life radically. But will a forty something long-haired, subterranean punk rocker who has spent his whole life performing hard physical labour ever fit in with the young and trendy digital crowd?”
Best Short Documentary Film: GENERATION 328 (Belarus) by Veranika Nikanava. “A group of mothers defy Europe’s last dictatorship, fighting to free their children from draconian sentences in brutal Belarusian prisons.”
Best Experimental Documentary Film: UNDER THE ASHOKA TREE (Belgium) by Jialai Wang. “Through the screen of my phone, it seems that my mother is closer to me than she ever was. Now that we are at thousand miles from each other, we finally can talk. Me in Europe, she in Asia, both in the hand of Buddha.”
Best Extreme Short Documentary Film: INVENTORY OF TIME (Brazil) by Khalil Charif. “In a New York City subway journey, a sequence plan examines a social aspect, searching for a reflection about our new era of profound human and technological changes – and its challenges.”
Best German Documentary Film: UGOKU TOKAI - MOVING CITY (Germany) by Lars Ostmann. “Life is movement. The highest concentration of movement is the city. A melancholy-looking young man in a business suit goes on an adventure into his own city: Guided by a mysterious map, he discovers twelve paths with a special relationship to time and space. As he wanders through the city, he begins to pose life questions about a meaningful existence. What makes us come alive? Will we go on the same way?”
A new Call for Entries for Doc.Berlin 2021 will be launched next week on FilmFreeway (https://filmfreeway.com/docberlin). Doc.Berlin is part of Doc.World, a new global network of documentary film festivals, with festivals in London, Berlin, Ghent and Boston. As a celebration of the cinematic and visual arts, these documentary festivals will bring diverse international films to our community and showcase the best regional and international filmmakers.
As an extra this year, Doc.Berlin teamed up with Tree Plan by planting trees for each paying visitor and for the volunteers who assisted with the festival. As a result, 500 trees were planted through Tree Plan in Haiti.