10th Watch Docs IFF Awards

The 10th annual Watch Docs International Film Festival – Human Rights in Film came to a close. The international jury granted the Watch Docs Award to Winds of Sand, Women of Rock by Nathalie Borgers. The winning film is a Austrian-Belgian-French co-production.


Jury members were: René Bijloo – co-founder and director of the Cinestrat documentary film competition in Spain; Yuri Dzhibladze – president of the Russian NGO Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights; Orwa Nyrabia – Programming Director of the DOX BOX Documentary Film Festival in Damascus; artist Katarzyna Kozyra, and Anna Kowalewska-Onaszkiewicz of TVP1.


Guests at the closing gala were welcomed by festival directors Maciej Nowicki and Konrad Wirkowski. They thanked the festival’s co-founders, media patrons, and volunteers who helped with promoting and running the festival.

The Watch Docs Award went to the film Winds of Sand, Women of Rock by director Nathalie Borgers. “This film is a most respectful look at Africa and its culture. We are thankful to the film’s protagonists and to the filmmaker for taking us on a journey with these women who are strong, smart, independent, and ready to fight for the right to a better life; for letting us see us through their eyes, and for such great cinematic language. We feel honoured to have been able to award such a film,” said Anna Kowalewska-Onaszkiewicz.


The jury also awarded two special mentions. The first went to the Mexican film Presumed Guilty by Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith. As the jury statement reads, the award was “for showing us the potential power of documentary film in pushing towards social change, and in this case, the Mexican legal system which is based on the presumption of guilt, not innocence of the defendant (…). The filmmakers formed a very intimate relationship with a most respectable protagonist in his journey towards freedom.” Presumed Guilty also won the Audience Award.


Another special mention went to Kerstin Nickig, author of the Polish-German documentary Nigdzie w Europie (Nowhere in Europe). The film was made with financial support from the Polish Film Institute. “The film is a depiction, through touching family stories of refugees in Europe, of the failure of a democratic system to treat asylum seekers on the basis of human rights in European Union member states,” said jury member Katarzyna Kozyra when presenting the jury statement.


Further details about the 10th Watch Docs IFF – Human Rights in Film available at: www.watchdocs.pl.


Translated by Karolina Kołtun