DOCVILLE 2023 - Winning films

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Science and children's programs shine at DOCVILLE 2023

Leuven was recently the vibrant epicenter for documentary lovers during DOCVILLE 2023. With numerous premieres, debates and events, there was something for everyone. The turnout of enthusiastic visitors was impressive and made this edition the most successful in years. The festival concluded festively on Thursday, March 30, with the presentation of the DOCVILLE Awards in the National, International, Topics and the brand new ScienceVille Competition.

This edition, the festival welcomed a special guest as artist in focus: none other than Oscar-winning director Steven Bognar. He taught an inspiring master class, sat on the jury of the International Competition and put together a program featuring both his own work and that of his recently deceased wife Julia Reichert. A very warm tribute.

This year we created the new ScienceVille component. The culmination of years of evolution within DOCVILLE linking the general public's interest in science with quality scientific documentaries, with numerous framed activities, lectures, workshops and a whole new competition.

By extension, a second first, as for the first time there was also a separate program for young discoverers: ScienceVille for Children. It became a true theme park weekend with three screenings filled to the brim, sold-out workshops and educational fringe entertainment. For a first edition, it was an exciting wait, but the massive turnout far exceeded our expectations.

Next year, for DOCVILLE's 20th anniversary, it promises to be a smashing party edition! From Wednesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 28, Leuven will again be buzzing with documentaries and documentary lovers. Be there and save the date!

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DOCVILLE 2023 - Awards

Award for best Belgian documentary

Bye Mome (Day Ma) by directing duo Marie De Hert and Ellen Pollard went home with the Jury Prize for Best Belgian Documentary donated by Sabam for Culture. An intimate portrait of a mother and daughter who live together in an assisted living facility, which our jury felt was treading particularly difficult territory visually, but portrayed with such love and ingenuity that they were unanimously moved. The seemingly difficult to penetrate protagonists became, thanks to the perceptive eye of the creators, people the jury immediately took to their hearts.

In 2021, De Hert and Pollard were already at DOCVILLE with their short film Fien, Jip & Fien, then they received an honorable mention from Sabam.

Award for best International Documentary

The Invention of the Other by Bruno Jorge won the Jury Prize in the International Competition, receiving a purchase price by Canvas. This Jury Prize is Academy Award Qualifying, the film will thereby go straight to the longlist of the 2024 Oscars. The film takes the viewer in tow, deep into the Amazon jungle, to the Korubo, a completely isolated group of indigenous people.

In many ways a classic anthropological documentary by the rules of the art. But the rapprochement with the Korubo people was such that the film offers the audience an encounter with people from a distant planet and at the same time with our closest relatives. In short, a story that connects us to ourselves, the jury said.

This is not the first time Jorge has surprised at DOCVILLE within the International Competition, in 2018 he already won this award along with co-directors Renata Terra and Mariana Oliva for Piripkura.

The jury awarded an honorable mention to Apolonia, Apolonia by Lea Glob.

Award for best TOPICS Documentary

Rojek by Canadian filmmaker Zaynê Akyol won the Jury Prize in the Topics Competition, formerly known as Knowing & Conscience. The jury praised the breathtaking imagery, with each image supporting the story. The jury was particularly impressed with how Akyol portrays the oft-discussed captured IS fighters in Rojek in a groundbreaking, poignant way.

Nationale Loterij Award for Best Science Documentary

Make People Better by Cody Sheehy won the first-ever National Lottery Prize for Best Scientific Documentary within the ScienceVille Competition. The film presents a controversial topic; manipulating the DNA of human embryos via CRISPR with the goal of conferring immunity to HIV.

The jury felt that Make People Better offered insight into this issue in a highly professional manner. At the same time, the film sets a story that has the character of a detective and turns viewers into investigators. They praised the director's recognition that there are no conclusive answers and that "the truth" lies in the nuance.

Audience Award

Documentary Wolf won convincingly won the audience award.

The Top-10 :

1. Wolf
2. Kristos, the last child
3. Bottle Conditioned
4. Deep Rising
5. Soviet Bus Stop
6. All that breathes
7. All the beauty and the bloodshed
8. The March on Rome
9. Apolonia, Apolonia
10. The Invention of the other