Sarah Jones – Sell / Buy / Date
Sarah Jones (USA), Sell/Buy/Date, Doc Feature – From executive producer three-time Oscar-winner Meryl Streep – comes “Sell/Buy/Date”, a heartfelt, candid, creative and witty doc that follows the exceedingly talented Tony Award-winning playwright, performer and comedian Sarah Jones. In a masterful intersection of participatory doc/narrative film hybrid – “Sell/Buy/Date” tackles themes of inequality of criminal justice, race, sexism and poverty through the lens of the debate around the sex industry. Sarah’s own personal story and complexities are reflected in each of four colorful multi-cultural characters she is known for (and she plays all of them!), as she explores her own personal relationship to one of the most urgent issues at the intersection of feminism, race, power and identity in our current cultural climate: sex work – is it exploitative or empowering? Weaving together poignant interviews with current sex workers and genuinely personal revelations while unpacking her own beliefs and biases – Sarah and her exquisitely creative team create a doc with wide appeal – that is at once enlightening, engaging and deeply moving. Beautiful cinematography by award-winning cinematographer Joshua Z. Weinstein and flawless editing by Emmy-nominee Melissa McCoy. It’s amusing, it faces some hard truths and in the end is compassionately moving. This inspired doc is sure to find a wide audience it deserves. Features Oscar-nominee Bryan Cranston, Emmy-nominee Ilana Glazer and Rosario Dawson.
David Allen – My Garden of a Thousand Bees
David Allen (United Kingdom), My Garden of a Thousand Bees, Doc Feature – Emmy-winner Allen’s fascinating, engaging and moving documentary – filmed and narrated by wildlife filmmaker Emmy-winner and BAFTA nominee Martin Dohrn. Chosen to open the 40th anniversary of the Nature series on PBS, this film is about a veteran wildlife cameraman who is bee obsessed. Seeking refuge from the pandemic in a small city garden, he is filming the wild bees that live there with mind-blowing results. Crafting ingenious ways to vividly film these tiny creatures in extreme slow motion he introduces us to many species of bees including giant bumblebees, scissor bees the size of a mosquito and so much more. But more importantly, he is developing a close relationship with an individual bee he named Nicky and follows through her entire life. Brilliantly executed in every way, including ground-breaking cinematography and wonderful sound design – this doc is utterly charming, exceptionally crafted and unexpectedly emotional. Aired PBS Nature.
Michael Wech – Covid Century – The Pandemic Preparedness Dilemma
Michael Wech (Germany), COVID CENTURY – The Pandemic Preparedness Dilemma, Doc Feature – German Televsion Award winner Wech and International Emmy winner Leopold Hoesch, present a deftly directed, brilliantly researched and exquisitely delivered doc about the months before the Coronavirus pandemic which could have changed the course of history and saved millions of people. COVID-19 claimed millions of lives and brought the world to a temporary paralysis, but was it really inevitable that the pandemic would take on such an extent? The film highlights key moments of the first ten weeks after the discovery of the disease. Jeremy Farrar, one of the world’s leading scientist, says, “We could have stopped the pandemic.” This investigative film scrutinizes the events around the first ten weeks immediately following the outbreak – illustrating how the Chinese authorities withheld crucial information and impeded attempts to share the identity of the new pathogen with the international community. This fatal delay circumvented global containment strategies hindering the development of much needed diagnostic tests and vaccines.
Susan Kucera (USA), Hot Money, Doc Feature – from Executive Producer Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges with deft direction from award winning Kucera – with wit, satire and historical context, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, General Wesley Clark and his son Wes Clark Jr. take us on a journey unpacking the circulatory system connecting complex economic forces and the impact on our planet and our lives.
Martin Zied (USA), Voice Messages, Doc Feature – Six-time Emmy-winner Zied’s inspiring direction creates a thought provoking and fascinating deep dive into how we use our voices, how to protect them and what happens when we lose, or sometimes find our voice. Featuring Linda Ronstadt, Vince Gill, Take 6 and an array of voice experts and heart-warming stories.
Lorraine Kabbindi White and Mike Hill (Australia), Deadly Heart, Doc Feature – The inspiring story of remote Aboriginal communities in Australia and innovative strategies to eliminate Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) despite failures of governments to eliminate this preventable disease. Compelling interviews with community leaders, informative, shocking, moving and ultimately hopeful.
Stephan Wellink and Robert de Young (Australia), Sam Spiegel: Conquering Hollywood, Doc Feature – Explores the dynamic career of a tycoon of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Sam Spiegel. His impressive legacy of includes award-winning films including three Oscars. A skillfully researched, tightly edited, well-paced and engaging doc. Featuring Oscar-winner Sir Ben Kingsley, Oscar-nominee Dame Janet Suzman.
Michael Eric Hurtig (USA), Fast-Forward: Look Into Your Future, Doc Feature – Narrated by Rosario Dawson, a compelling look at aging and our relationship to it – including MIT developed “aging” suits, encouraging family dialog and acceptance. Inspires viewers to see their future in a new light and to work through family issues to age gracefully together. Original song by Grammy nominated Andrew Bird. Aired PBS
Tim Huebschle (Namibia), More Than Just a Game, Doc Short- beautifully crafted and tightly woven. In the African town of Katutura at a basketball school, children escape the realities of ghetto life and empower themselves– but it’s more than just a game. It’s great care and the hope for a better future. GIZ – Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH.
Michel Garcia (France), Ora, Doc Short – Garcia’s exceptionally crafted doc features Éric Dargent, Jérôme Bonellli and Benoît Moreau, men with their own “handicaps” and a shared love of surfing and changing lives. Deft direction, exceptional editing and compelling fresh soundtrack support beautiful cinematography and an emotionally pitched story-telling. Inspiring in every way. Avalon Creative.
Michael Wech (Germany), Silent Pandemic – The Global Fight against Antimicrobial Resistance, Doc Feature – Wech’s exceptional research and direction deliver a disquieting doc. The world is in an ominous time: bacteria are building resistance to antibiotics faster than new antibiotics are being developed – creating a frightening and uncertain future. Producer Emmy-winner Leopold Hoesch, Broadview TV.
Sonita Gale (United Kingdom), Hostile, Doc Feature – Highlights the UK’s complicated relationship with its migrant communities. The film focuses on the impact of the evolving ‘hostile environment’ policies that target migrants. Told through the eyes of those impacted, Gale delivers a doc that is both enlightening and challenging forcing citizens to confront their own beliefs.
Yorick Niess (Germany), The World Cruzer, Doc Feature – Creative and captivating it confronts the viewer to examine their viewpoints as we follow “The World Cruzer”. He travels through a future of nature pollution and climate chaos and shares insights and poignant messages about the many facets of being human. A modern movie with contemporary electronic music from Berlin clubs.
Beto Sporkens, Imagica Audiovisual (Brazil), ÁTIMO (SPARK), Documentary Short
Chris Haigh (USA), Song For Hope, Documentary Feature, Viewer Impact: Motivational / Inspirational
Derreck Roemer and Neil Graham (Canada), Come Clean, Documentary Feature, Direction
Emily Branham (USA), Being BeBe: the BeBe Zahara Benet Documentary, Documentary Feature, Women Filmmakers, LGBTQ+
Faith Haney and Simon Geerlofs (USA), In Our Hands – Long Live the Kings, Documentary Short
Gabriella Garcia-Pardo (Morocco), The Bardia, Documentary Short
Gary Null and Roland Marconi (USA), The Biological Aging Challenge, Documentary Feature
Holly Morris (USA), Exposure, Documentary Feature
Jaswant Dev Shrestha, Creative Heights Entertainment (USA), Festivals, Documentary Short, Direction
Jean-Christophe Gonon (France), 10 ROUNDS, Documentary Feature
Julie Anne Mirlicourtois and Kayla McCormick (USA), Across, Documentary Short
Michael Crocker (USA), Lead Change, Documentary Short, African American
Neil Losin (USA), sym-bee-o-sis, Documentary Short
Neil Losin (USA), The Power of Pollinators, Documentary Short
Paul Kim (USA), The Book of Joshua, Religion / Ethics
Timothy Syndrome Alliance (United Kingdom), Rare Strikes Back, Documentary Short, Use of Film / Video for Social Change
Topher Field (Australia), Battleground Melbourne, Documentary Feature
Viktor Björnström and Kajsa Määttä (Sweden), Tracks, Cinematography
Yorick Niess (Germany), The World Cruzer, Creativity / Originality
Click the laurels for AWARD OF MERIT winners