AWARDS - Astra Film Festival Online 2020
Competition: NEW VOICES IN DOCUMENTARY CINEMA
Our First Prize in the competition section of New Voices in Documentary Cinema is awarded to a film that entices with its perspective and command of storytelling. We are led into a teenage girl’s world – her battle with illness and the complex relationship with her mother – in observational scenes that are structured into an intimate, cleverly composed audiovisual diary. The girl’s voice-over guides us through her days – some better than others – in this imaginative coming-of-age story, where everyday footage and family archive material turn into the empowering story of a young woman with a lust for life. The jury was particularly impressed by the balanced and elaborate, refreshing perspective of Sine Skibsholt’s second feature Long Live Love, which demonstrates not only a high skill set in the craft of filmmaking but also a notably ethical relationship to the subject of the film.
Our Special Mention in the competition section of New Voices in Documentary Cinema goes to a gripping, multi-layered film on how mediated perception intertwines with our conceptions of the good and the bad. Composed of military automated recordings that were never meant to be watched, the film presents us with scenes where helicopter pilots have to decide on their targets’ threat level. We as spectators are positioned to the pilot’s seat, asked to reflect on whether or not pulling the trigger is justified. The reflexive tone of the voice-over and the rhythm of the editing keep us engaged until the very end in Eléonore Weber’s debut film There will be no more night: a subtle and compelling look at war and the power of vision.
Competition: CENTRAL AND EASTERN EUROPE
Set against a theatrical backdrop, puppeteer Frank tells us his story from the time when he used to be a member of an anti-communist group in the German Democratic Republic.In this unique way director Luisa Bäde creates an impressive visual narration while giving space to our imagination and emotion. The staged puppet play is masterfully directed by the author to arouse profound tenderness both in the main character and the viewer. We give the prize to this poetic film for its formal originality and for addressing the complex question of how we relate to our past. AS LONG AS YOU STILL HAVE ARMS is an important historical document, artistically shaped by subjective memories.
We give a special mention to a well-achieved piece of documentary cinema about the process of egress from the totalitarian way of thinking by means of a non-violent act of creation, through dialogue with each other and with the urban space. Through cleverly selected every-day details, the film reveals the tension of two opposite trends haveing to co-exist: the natural human desire for freedom and a life in harmony, and the fear not to overstep the rules enforced by a totalitarian society. While being an artistic and provocative act of creation in its own right, the film avoids making judgements; instead it raises questions about today's society of Belarus.