Award-winning films of the 20th Verzió

At the Award Ceremony on 26 November, Sunday, prizes and special mentions of the 20th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival were announced in five categories: in the International Competition, the Hungarian Competition, the Student and Debut Film Competition, the Anthropocene Competition and the Viewfinder Competition.

The screenings will continue until 29 November in Toldi and Corvin cinemas, and between 30 November and 10 December online

Full list of award-winning films: 

Best Documentary: A Golden Life (d.: Boubacar Sangaré, Burkina Faso)
Special mention: Hollywoodgate (d.: Ibrahim Nash’at, Germany, USA)

Best Human Rigths Film: The Dmitriev Affair (d.: Jessica Gorter, Netherlands)
Special mention: Hawar, Our Banished Children (d.: Pascale Bourgaux, Belgium, Switzerland)

Doc Future Award: Snajka: Diary of Expectations (d.: Tea Vidović Dalipi, Croatia)
Special mention: Budapest Silo (r.: Paczolay Zsófia, Hungary)

Best Hungarian Film: Fairy Garden (d.: Somogyvári Gergő, Hungary, Croatia, Romania)
Special mention: Who I Could Possibly Be (d.: Lőrinczy Lia, Hungary)

New Frontier díj: Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano (d.: Cyril Aris, Lebanon)
Special mention: Deserters (d.: Damir Markovina, Croatia)

Best Environmental Documentary: Against the Tide (d.: Sarvnik Kaur, India)
Special mention: Geographies of Solitude (r.: Jacquelyn Mills, Canada)

Geographies of Solitude

The award-winning films can be viewed on the following days in Corvin and Toldi cinemas: 

November 27, Monday 4 p.m. (Toldi, Big Hall) Geographies of Solitude – Special mention, Anthropocene competition

November 27, Monday 4:30 p.m. (Toldi, Small Hall) Budapest Silo (together with Corvin variations and Freeport) – Special mention, Student and Debut Film Competition

November 27, Monday 6:45 p.m. (Corvin, Radványi Hall) Hawar, Our Banished Children – Special mention in the International Competition

November 27, Monday 8:15 p.m. (Toldi, Small Hall) The Dmitriev Affair – Best Human Rights Film Award

November 28, Tuesday 4:00 p.m. (Toldi, Big Hall) Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano – New Frontier Award in the Viewfinder competition

November 28, Tuesday 4:15 p.m. (Toldi, Small Hall) Deserters (together with The Mind Game) – Special mention in the Viewfinder Competition

November 28, Tuesday 6:00 p.m. (Corvin, Jávor Hall) Hollywoodgate – Special mention in the International Competition

November 28, Tuesday 6:30 p.m. (Toldi,  Small Hall) Who I Could Possibly Be (together with Until Death) – Special mention in the Hungarian Competition

November 28, Tuesday 8:15 p.m. (Toldi, Small Hall) Snajka, Diary of Expectations (together with The Silence of the Banana Trees) – Best Debut Film Award

November 29, Wednesday 4:00 p.m. (Toldi, Big Hall) Fairy Garden – Best Hungarian Film Award

November 29, Wednesday 6:00 p.m. (Corvin, Jávor Hall) A Golden Life – Best Documentary Award

November 29, Wednesday 8:00 p.m. (Corvin, Jávor Hall) Against the Tide – Best Environmental Documentary Award

November 29, Wednesday 8:15 p.m. (Corvin, Karády Hall) The Dmitriev Affair – Best Human Rights Film Award


Jury statements:

Jury: Daria Badior critic, Ukraine; Bregtje van der Haak, EYE Filmmuseum, Amsterdam; Gábor Hörcher director, producer

A Golden Life

Main prize | A Golden Life
This film brings us a story that falls completely out of the news cycles and remains therefore largely invisible. It takes us deep into a world that we never get to see and it then takes us even further, and deeper: a good one hundred meters deeper, underground.  We are witnessing and slowly drawn into the daily lives and work of many minors, a community of boys portrayed in a warm, intimate, respectful, yet never condescending or lamenting way.  The poverty depicted is never exploited by the filmmaker, but instead, through a personal, localized, grounded and visual approach, the film tells a much larger, abstract story of exploitation: it shows the roots of the harsh realities of a global financial system that trades gold as a seemingly ‘stable and clean asset’.  In the last scene, the film surprisingly and elegantly discloses the filmmaker’s perspective and personal connection to his story, opening up a world of possibilities, a glimpse of hope for the protagonists - that may or may not exist. The film contributes a new, careful, respectful and genuine perspective to our understanding of ‘the world as we know it’. The jury would like to award the main prize to A Golden Life by filmmaker Boubacar Sangaré.

Special mention | Hollywoodgate
We would like to give a special mention to a filmmaker for his outstanding courage that took him to a place where not everyone wants to be. His unique skills and willingness to take an enormous risk allowed us to see a regime in the making from the inside. For pushing the boundaries, for providing an attentive and critical gaze and for questioning the frameworks that we all live in, we would like to applaud Ibrahim Na'shat for Hollywoodgate.

Jury: Ádám Dombovári METU, Kardelen Gökçedağ METU, Klára Kamilla Joób ELTE, Magdalena Kopańska CEU, Lilian Tánczos, Lumiere Film School

The Dmitriev Affair

Main prize | The Dmitriev Affair
In the past days we have watched 10 incredible films about many different issues worldwide. Our award can only go to one story although it does not mean that there were not many more captivating and moving narratives presented.

The film we award evoked powerful emotions in all of us. We would like to highlight the captivating cinematography style and the professional journalistic investigation in highly difficult political circumstances. This film merges biography with a historical and political portrait and maintains the quality of universality. Congratulations to The Dmitriev Affair!

Special mention| Hawar, Our Banished Children
We also want to give a special mention to a film for its bravery, social sensitivity, and outstanding rhythm. Congratulations to Hawar, Our Banished Children!

Jury: Dániel Deák, Friss Hús; Floris Paalman, senior lecturer in Film Studies, University of Amsterdam, Johanna von Websky, DOK.fest München

Snajka: Diary of Expectations

Main prize | Snajka: Diary of Expectations
Snajka: Diary of Expectations starts as a home movie, opening with a wedding scene, of the Croatian filmmaker and her Roma Kosovar husband, and it remains a personal and intimate film till the very end. Besides happy moments, the film also shows anger, irritation, misunderstanding, and arguments between the protagonists and their relatives. Moreover, throughout the years that the production took, there is a clear development, of how the couple and their families communicate and try to overcome cultural barriers; we see the daughter growing up within the different cultures and social backgrounds of her parents; and at the same time there is a noticeable development of the cinematic approach and style of the film. The camera is a learning tool, for the director herself, exploring how film can be a language different from the languages spoken by the people in the film – be it Serbo-Croatian, Roma, Albanian and at times also English. Above all, the film is a journey of a loving couple finding ways to overcome the challenges of intercultural marriage; with them, the audience learns about the struggle against prejudices, racism and discrimination. While the film unfolds, with the daughter growing up, different layers of identity are being discovered and displayed. This is done in an honest and careful way, at times vulnerable, but also strong, courageous and engaging. Everyday concerns, common to every marriage, are organically related, though excellent editing, to broader social issues, in which regard this film is testimony to tolerance, the will to learn and to communicate, and to look ahead. As such, the jury finds this film a highly important contribution to intercultural dialogues, and an original form of collective learning.

Special mention | Budapest Silo
Budapest Silo is an outstanding cinematic achievement which can highlight a hidden part of the city and the sheltered life of an everyday hero. Budapest Silo completes the challenges to introduce this in a unique, artistic way, considering the peculiarity of its short format. 

HUNGARIAN COMPETITION: Best Hungarian Documentary
Jury: Gazdag Gyula director; Natalia Libet producer; Anna Petrus, Artistic Director of DocsBarcelona

The Best Hungarian Documentary Award is supported by the Municipality of Budapest.

Fairy Garden

Main prize | Fairy Garden
The jury of the Hungarian Competition has found one film that deals with a subject that is sensitive in many aspects, that focuses on a main character who is brave and is holding on to her dreams, and that is controversial because of the actual situation of homelessness and gender diversity in Hungary and voted unanimously Fairy Garden, directed by Gergő Somogyvári the best Hungarian film in the section.

Special mention | Who I Could Possibly Be
The Jury has decided to give special mention for the bold choice of a complex and painful reality through its usage of powerful cinematic language to Who I Could Possibly Be (Aki még lehetek), directed by Lia Lőrinczy.

Jury: Chiara Boschiero, Biografilm, Zhao Liang director, Helena Markova Zajicova, documentary film consultant

Main prize | Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano
Dancing On The Edge of a Volcano impressed us for its ability to hold together different narrative lines that complement each other, managing to tell the complexity of the actions that led to the drift not only of Lebanon. Just as cinema is made with the fear of doing something bigger than us, so the characters decide to stay to make sense of the chaos of their country. And we are with them, and we feed on their courage.


Special mention | Deserters
Through Deserters we became part of a poetic journey into the memory of a generation, that of the young people of Mostar scattered around the world due to the war. The director managed to make us feel part of that history, reminding us that the wound is ours too and each of us is responsible for not repeating it.

Jury: Marion Czarny, Head of CAMPUS, FIPADOC, Johanna Råman, Executive Director, DocPoint Helsinki, Mária Takács director, winner of the Emma Goldman Snowball Award

Against the Tide

Main prize | Against the Tide
Our award goes to an immersive and compassionate film about a brotherly bond of two fishermen in Mumbai whose friendship and lives are tested by a disturbing and changing world, global warming, tradition and family. Sarvnik Kaur manages to tackle an impressive range of subjects such as class, caste, gender, labour, technology, economies of scale and friendship. This engaging documentary benefits from a captivating sense of pace and narrative thrust.

Special mention | Geographies of Solitude
Geographies of Solitude is a unique film about the connection of an unknown world- a small island in the Atlantic-ocean- and a misanthrope environmentalist woman. By watching the creatively and beautifully cinematographed film we could feel the unit of nature and a human, the flow between mother nature and an independent woman scientist. The plot builded up as meticulously as the pieces of flowers and animals introduced to us. Over the sensitivity of the 16 millimeter celluloid techniques the sound dramaturgy is softly figured out and used and it gives this lonely world a fullness. While the director, Jacquelyn Mills falls in a kind of love for this amazing jewel island, she and her heroine give criticism about what the humankind does with the Earth, reflecting their pollutional behaviour, the irresponsible economy and the climate change. For these esthetical and thematic complexity we feel Geographies of Solitude deserve our special mention.

Cover photo: Dancing on the Edge of a Volcano