NDHRFF4 Award Winners Announced

October 22, 2020

FARGO, N.D. (October 22, 2020) – The North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Jury is proud to announce the award winners for the fourth annual human rights film festival. Eleven films are being recognized and honored for their creativity, talent, approach to content and overall excellence of their films. “We’re excited to recognize these filmmakers and their work,” said Sean Coffman, Executive Director of the Human Family and Chair of the 2020 North Dakota Human Rights Film and Arts Festival.

The award winners include:

SAMUEL SPRYNCZYNATYK STORYTELLER AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY
The Girl on the Bridge
Directed/Writtenby Leanne Pooley
Origin: New Zealand

Synopsis:
The Girl On The Bridge is the story of a young woman with the weight of a generation on her shoulders. Having survived her own suicidal struggles Jazz Thornton is a mental health activist, fighting to change how society and the system are dealing with young people like her. Ultimately this is a film about hope. It’s a film about redemption. It’s a challenge to all of us to try to understand.

BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Outside
Directed/Written by Xesc Cabot and Pep Garrido
Origin: Spain

Synopsis:
“A film that makes the invisible visible, looking at what we prefer not to see, a reality profoundly human that has ceased to exist for us.” Joan is an alcoholic homeless who survives in Barcelona streets with his dog Tuc. After a mysterious phone call, Joan falls into a crazy drunkenness in which ends up losing Tuc. Castaway in the city, he is soon brutally beaten. We rediscover him away from the city in a delirious journey that exceeds all his limits. At the end of the road, something that was once his home. And a deathbed. The film stars real people and the main character had actually been homeless himself prior to this film.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Marker
Directed/Written by Will Francome and Katie Green
Origin: United States

Synopsis:
Over 3000 migrants have died trying to cross the Sonoran Desert. The only marker for where their anonymous bodies were found: a red dot on a digital map. Artist Alvaro Enciso is on a mission to mark the places these people died, to find a way to honour his “neighbours” and create a visual remembrance of their struggle. For the past 9 years he has been placing home made crosses in the desert, leaving a signpost that a human being lost their life in this place. He’s placed more than 900 of these markers and yet it’s a task he will not complete in his lifetime.

MIA EH’DESH COURAGE AWARD FOR BEST NARRATIVE SHORT
Miss Man
Directed/Written by Tathagata Ghosh
Origin: India

Synopsis:

Manob is in love with another man. And he has a price to pay for that. Not only is he fighting the society around him, but his own homophobic father, who does not even refrain from physical violence to “cure his son from the disease of loving another man”. A younger Manob once danced in his school function, dressed up as a woman. And it is from that time he possibly realized that he might be a woman trapped inside a man’s body. The stakes get higher when he is also looked down upon by his lover, who refuses to accept him unless he transforms to a woman completely. 

Dejected, Manob decides to travel to the city to look into the possibilities of a sex change operation. Meanwhile, Manob’s father also arranges his marriage with the daughter of a relative. Cornered, Manob now has to make a choice between giving up his struggle or standing up for who he truly is.

BEST STUDENT FILM
35
Directed/Written by: Maggie Zhu
Origin: United States (Florida)

Synopsis:
In this social thriller, Tonia Stanwell finds herself on a nightmarish quest through a mysterious government agency to get to her 36th birthday.

RAYMOND REA CREATIVE EXPRESSION AWARD FOR BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM
Cowboy Poetry
Directed/Written by Mark Franz and David Colagiovanni
Origin: United States

Synopsis:
Cowboy Poetry is a work of visual music recorded during a series of live audiovisual performances. The audio is created with a combination of hand made electronic instruments and vector imagery that has been translated into stereo audio. This audio is visualized on an oscilloscope and documented during the performance. The work is inspired by sociopolitical and theoretical ideas surrounding nationalism and americana. The work was created by Mark Franz and David Colagiovanni in the late summer and fall of 2019. Quotes by Noam Chomsky and Umberto Eco

BEST ANIMATION
Tent 113, Idomeni
Directed/Written by Henri Marbacher
Origin: Switzerland

Synopsis:
Agìr, a smiling and discreet 19 year old, tells the story of his migration. His journey from Syria to Switzerland spans several years, rushes from boats to buses, lingers from shacks to mosques, crosses camps and borders. From this chaotic construction, a fragmented, unequal narrative emerges. Constructed of short capsules, it is this journey that the animated film puts into action through Agìr’s voice-over.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR
Enric Molina, “Outside

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS
Vanessa Chisakula, “Her Place

BEST SCREENPLAY
Denis Dobrovoda, “Savage

BEST OF SHOW
Lost Lives
Directed/Written by Michael Hewitt and Dermot Lavery
Origin: United Kingdom

Synopsis:
Lost Lives is a cinematic film inspired by the book of the same name that, uniquely, records the circumstances of every single death in a conflict – the Northern Irish ‘Troubles.’ There are over 3700 entries in the book. Over 3700 lost lives. The film is a reminder of what happens when we settle difference through violence. A reminder that war is hell.

The North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival Jury congratulates each of the filmmakers for their high achievement with their work.

A final award, the festival’s “Audience Choice Award” will be selected by the audience attending the festival. Viewers will have the opportunity to cast their vote for the narrative, documentary or student film they feel best represents the spirit of filmmaking, human rights and social justice.

38 films from 28 countries will be available to audiences from the comfort of their homes. The festival will be presented online, and audiences can view the films on their TV’s with the Eventive app found on Apple TV and Roku streaming devices. Viewers can also watch or cast on their computers, tablets, or mobile phones.

Issues addressed by other short narrative, short documentary and student films selected for the festival include the deconstruction of stereotypes for individuals with mental or physical disabilities, LGBTQ rights and discrimination, women’s rights and cultural discrimination, stories of refugee experiences and discrimination, and human and civil rights violations, discrimination and violence towards Native American culture. Films will also directly speak to the recent peaceful resistance by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now. An All-Access pass that provides access to all films in the festival is $35. Individual sessions are $12. Passes and individual tickets are available online at www.ndhrff.org. To view the film catalog and films, attendees will utilize the Eventive platform available at https://ndhrff2020.eventive.org

Pre-recorded Q&As with filmmakers will be available throughout the festival. A series of live discussions will be scheduled for the week of November 8, including a 5-year retrospective with the filmmakers of “Welcome to Leith.” The film documented the attempted takeover of Leith’s small town, North Dakota, by white supremacist Craig Cobb; A discussions about health care and access to care in Indian Country with North Dakota filmmaker Justin Deegan. His film, “Another Scar of Genocide: Diabetes in Indian Country” highlights the epidemic of diabetes currently impacting Native populations; and more. Specific dates and times for live conversations will be highlighted and announced individually in the coming days.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival has moved online for the 2020 season. Films will be screened beginning midnight Sunday, November 8 through midnight Sunday, November 15. A majority of films are available Video-on-Demand and may be viewed anytime during the festival. Certain films have limited availability. See the online film guide for official screening times and additional information.

The mission of the North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival is to educate, engage, and facilitate discussion around local and worldwide human-rights topics through the work of filmmakers and artists. The festival is a non-partisan event, and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information about the 2020 North Dakota Human Rights Film Festival or to arrange interviews with visiting filmmakers, contact Sean Coffman at (701) 205-0248 x101.

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