Ten Films Nominated for the IDFA AWFJ EDA Award’s €2,500 Prize — Jennifer Merin reports

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idfa-2016Programmers at IDFA have selected ten documentaries to be considered for this year’s IDFA AWFJ EDA Award, which bestows a prize of €2,500 for the Best Female-Directed Documentary. The winner will be announced and the award will be presented in Amsterdam on November 22, 2016. This year’s AWFJ jurors are Dorothy Woodend (Canada), Julide Tanriverdi (Germany) and Jennifer Merin (USA). 2016 is the third consecutive year that IDFA and AWFJ have partnered to recognize women’s outstanding achievements in documentary filmmaking, and it is the first year in which the EDA Award comes with a monetary prize. For the full list of films, read on…

In alphabetical order, the nominated film titles, directors’ names and descriptions are:

  • Almost There – Directed by Jacqueline Zund – Switzerland – ALMOST THERE tells the story of three people, searching for meaning and happiness in the autumn of their lives. Maybe for the last time. A film about time, dignity and the transience of life.
  • Areum – Directed by Areum Parkkang – Korea – AREUM wants to date with someone. However, today another blind date failed. Her friends give her advice. You don’t love yourself! You should dress up and take care of yourself! Is it the true reason why I am not loved? Because I’m not pretty?
  • La Chana – Directed by Lucija Stojevic – Spain/Iceland/USA – In the 1960s and 1970s, Gypsy dancer, Antonia Santiago Amador, known as La Chana, was one of the biggest stars in the flamenco world, surprising audiences worldwide with her innovative style and use of rhythm. Then, at the peak of her career, she suddenly disappeared from the scene.
    The film brings us under the skin and into the mind of La Chana as she returns to the stage to give a final seated performance after a 30-year break. Along the way, she reveals the secret behind her disappearance.
  • Dil Leyla – Directed by Asli Özarslan – Germany – At 26, Leyla is elected the youngest mayor in Turkey, in her hometown of Cizre, a Kurdish capital city near the Iraqi-Syrian border—a city she was forced to flee over 20 years ago, after her father was killed by the Turkish military when she was a little girl. Her goal is to heal and beautify the civil-war-torn city, which is enjoying a break in the violence. But on the eve of Turkey’s parliamentary elections, everything changes, and old memories become more real than ever.
  • El Patio – Directed by Elvira Diaz – Spain / France / Chile – In the General cemetery of Santiago, Chile, the gravediggers prepare the funerals, welcome the families, take care of the graves. A serene park, where Lelo, Perejil and Rogelio have learnt to cohabit peacefully alongside death. Yet, the victims of the dictatorship and their families are still waiting for justice. Under the soil, unidentified corpses still lie secretly. Sharing their memories for the first time with the youngest gravedigger, these old men express the pain they witnessed. In 1973, they were obliged to secretly bury hundreds of “desaparecidos“. As time closes in on them, they have decided to speak out.
  • The Girl down Loch Änzi – Directed by Alice Schmid – Switzerland – Sleeping under the stars, butchering rabbits and secretly exploring the Änziloch canyon in central Switzerland which allegedly holds an imprisoned maiden. The closest companion of 12-year-old Laura is her diary. That is, until one day a young boy arrives and wants to descend into the Änziloch with her. A poetic documentary, in parts bordering on the fictional. “Don’t look down Loch Änzi or you might turn into a ghost.”
  • The Grown Ups – Directed by Maite Alberdi – Chile / Netherlands, The / France – A group of friends with Down syndrome have attended the same school for 40 years, they’re aging and they have not been allowed to live adulthood on their own.
  • How to Meet a Mermaid – Directed by Coco Schrijber – Netherlands, The / Denmark / Belgium — This documentary connects the lives of Rebecca, Lex and Miguel in, on and under the surface of the water. The sea is both beauty and danger, friend and foe. Through the mood of ocean, the audience becomes part of the doubts, sadness and courage of the protagonists who seek help in the ocean. Director Coco Schrijber also turns to the ocean for answers about her missing brother Lex, but however understanding, vigorous or tranquil the sea is, eventually it is just water and indifferent to our questions. Rebecca, Lex, Miguel and their family left behind must fend for themselves.
  • Sealers – Directed by Trude Berge Ottersen and Gry Elisabeth Mortensen – Norway – A stubborn, old skipper refuses to accept the demise of Norwegian sealing. He gathers a crew and set out on a hazardous journey through the Polar Ice.
  • Venus – Directed by Lea Glob and Mette Carla Albrechtsen – Denmark – Two female directors in their thirties, start an investigation based on their own sexual frustrations to understand desire from a female point of view. As an excuse to get more answers, they decide to make a film based on real women’s erotic memories and reflections. They send out a casting call and over 100 ordinary Copenhagen women reply. As the shootings progress it dawns on the Filmmakers that what was just meant to be a casting, instead becomes an overwhelming shared experience of intimacy.

More About the EDA Awards
More About AWFJ and EDA Awards at IDFA
More information about IDFA 2016

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