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Doc.London 2021 Award Winners Unveiled

The inaugural edition of the Doc.London Documentary Film Festival featured a small but great selection of 16 local and international documentaries.


Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 concerns, a live event could not take place on the foreseen dates. As previously announced, the Doc.London team has decided to make next year's edition a double one, screening the entire 2021 selection alongside the new batch of films chosen for 2022.


Despite the postponement of this year's screenings, the jury members have watched and rated this year's selection of documentary films. We are happy to share with you today the 2021 Doc.London award winners.


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The award for Best Feature Documentary Film went to 'The State of Texas vs. Melissa' (France) by Sabrina Van Tassel. The film explores the life journey of Melissa Lucio, the first Hispanic woman to be sentenced to death in the state of Texas. For over ten years she has been awaiting her fate, and now faces her last appeal. No one had ever seen Melissa be violent towards her children, yet she was blamed for the daily abuse and subsequent death of her two year-old daughter, who died from blunt head trauma. Set in the heart of the Latino community of South Texas, the film takes a look at Melissa’s broken childhood, her adult life plagued by poverty and prejudice, and the miscarriage of justice Melissa faced, from the court appointed attorney who willingly set aside evidence, to the District attorney who used her case to help his re-election. The State of Texas vs. Melissa is the portrait of a woman’s fight against an entire system.


Best Short Documentary Film went to 'The Beekeeper' (United Kingdom) by William Mcgregor.

A beekeeper on the island of Anglesey faces losing her ancestral home to the development of a nuclear power plant.


The prize for Best UK Documentary Film was awarded to 'Prisoner No. I' (United Kingdom) by Daniel Watt. Hanka Świderska is a hoarder and anorexic. She attributes her physical and mental illness to her father's time in Auschwitz. This short, made by her son, examines this connection and is a search for a record of Hanka's father outside the framework of his time in the concentration camp.


'Lumen' (Canada) By Sarah Seené won Best Experimental Documentary Film. Lumen (meaning light in Latin) is a sensorial film shot in Super 8 that paints a portrait of an adolescent with albinism. The hypersensitivity that this genetic condition engenders and the lack of pigmentation in her skin and eyes lend her an extraordinary aura. This film echoes a series of photographs entitled Fovea, which takes as its subject visually impaired young people.


And last but not least, Best Extreme Short Documentary Film was given to 'Grandma Kitty's Ping Pong' (United States) by Sage Bennett. A grandmother's lifelong dreams of playing ping pong with the best of the best are realized.


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Doc.London is part of Doc.World, a global network of Documentary Film Festivals, with festivals in London, Berlin and Ghent, and new upcoming festivals in Sydney 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.

A new Call for Entries for Doc.London 2022 will be launched next week on FilmFreeway (https://filmfreeway.com/doclondon).

© 2021 by The Bigger Screen

Every year tens of thousands of films are being made worldwide. Many of these are amazing pieces with incredible messages, insight, beauty, and stories to offer society. However, only a small percentage of these films end up having a release. Far too many of these eye-opening, enriching pieces stay unnoticed, stories go untold, and exemplary talent is overlooked. Most of this is due to high cost and inaccessibility to the filmmaker.

 

Because of this, our heart and soul are in The Bigger Screen, where we aim to make film as an art form more accessible and more inclusive. We don’t want to see important pieces tucked away in the dark. And at The Bigger Screen, we work on both sides of the screen. We are behind the screen encouraging and supporting filmmakers in their quest to spread their work through grants and opportunity. We stand in front of the screen by welcoming audiences to enjoy this art form, no matter what their social or financial status is.

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