Films about Vietnam’s LGBTQ community and a Middle Eastern family in exile are among this year’s DOXA Documentary Film Festival prize winners.
The Directors Guild of Canada presented the Colin Low Award for Best Canadian Director to Khoa Lê for Mà Sài Gòn (Mother Saigon). Jury members Elad Tzadok, Linday McIntyre, and Nisha Platzer praised Lê’s “impeccable balance between his powerful and unwavering visual aesthetic, the delicate relationships he built with the community, and the empathy he managed to portray on screen”.
“His thoughtful approach translates to a captivating and dynamic cinematic experience,” the jurors added.
Lê, a queer artist based in Montreal, states in his bio that he “always maintains humanity in the heart of my approach”.
His film shared intimate portraits of a range of LGBTQ people living in Ho Chi Minh City. (Read Pancouver’s article on Mà Sài Gòn [Mother Saigon] here.)
Special mention in this category went to Rodrigue Jean and Arnaud Valada’s 2012/Through the Heart.
“This telling documentary is an unflinching portrait of the struggle against entrenched colonialism and state oppression which, despite the 10 years that have passed since, bears a striking resemblance to present-day struggles in the face of policing tactics and policies in BC and across North America,” the DOXA website states.
Notes on Displacement wins DOXA feature prize
The DOXA Feature Documentary Award went to Khaled Jarrar’s Notes on Displacement. The filmmaker followed a family of refugees as they embark on a perilous journey from the Greek Island of Lesbos in search of a better life in Germany.
“Jarrar’s bravery and compassion create a deeply human look at the Syrian and Palestinian individuals who find themselves forced yet again to migrate in search of safety,” jurors Dina Al-Kassim, Kent Donguines, and Nadia Shihab concluded.
Special mention in this category went to Nishtha Jain’s The Golden Thread, an empathetic documentary about low-wage Bengali textile workers. In addition, Theo Montoya’s Anhell69 received a special mention “for its hypnotic hybrid approach to storytelling”, as well as for the power it gives to queer Colombian communities.
The full list of DOXA awards is available on its website.
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