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FESTIVALS Netherlands

Danish documentary hattrick at IDFA

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The Danish documentary The Monastery – Mr. Vig & the Nun from Pernille Rose Grønkjær has won the VPRO Joris Ivens award, the top prize at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which ended this weekend.

The jury of the most important festival exclusively dedicated to documentaries named Grønkjær’s work their “undisputed first choice of perfect filmmaking craft and storytelling. The unlikely match of Mr. Vig and Sister Ayestleor created a dynamic of humour, conflict, charity and love.” The film tells the story of an ex-priest’s old dream to start a monastery in his castle, when he runs into a stubborn nun.

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The film was produced by Sigrid Dyekjær for Tju Bang Film; world sales are being handled by First Hand Films.

Two other Danish films also won the top prizes in their sections: Enemies of Happiness from Eva Mulvad won the Silver Wolf for Best Documentary under 60 minutes, and the Silver Cub for best short went to My Eyes by Erlend E. Mo.

Paul Taylor’s British documentary We Are Together (Thina simunye) won the First Appearance Award for best debut and also won the Audience Award. The film was produced by the director with Teddy Leifer for Rise Films and looks at a group of South African orphans who, against the backdrop of the AIDS pandemic, draw strength from harmonious part-song.

Dutch radiomaker Catherine van Campen won the Documentary Award of the Dutch Cultural Broadcasting Fund, a grant of €125,000 for the best project for a yet to be filmed documentary.

The festival also hosted its 14th edition of the Forum, where documentary filmmakers can directly pitch their projects to TV commissioning editors and independent producers. Approximately 400 people participated in the Forum, famous for its hands-on approach that tells pitchers immediately if anyone is willing to invest in their project.

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