On Saturday, May 7th, the 12th edition of DOCVILLE was festively concluded with the Belgian premiere of 'Where to Invade Next' by Michael Moore. At the beginning of the evening the winners of the competition were announced. The Jury Prize for Best International Documentary, purchased by CANVAS, went to the touching 'Life, Animated' by Roger Ross Williams, who had already been selected for DOCVILLE once before, in 2014 with 'God Loves Uganda'. 'Life, Animated' tells the story of the autistic Owen Suskind who connects to his parents using quotes from Disney movies. 'Life, Animated' has already won several awards including at the Sundance Film Festival (USA).
In the section Science & Conscience, the jury chose 'This Changes Everything' by Avi Lewis, after the book with the same title by Naomi Klein. The film argues that global warming is not necessarily the end of humanity, but simply the beginning of a new relationship between man and nature. The film fits in beautifully with the trend of documentaries with a positive message, films that advocate a different way of life and provide practical solutions. There was also a Special Mention for 'The Girl Who Saved My Life' by Hogir Hirori, who visited the festival earlier this week to present his film to the audience.
The Award for Best Belgian documentary, donated by SABAM, went to 'Reach for the Sky' by Steven Dhoedt. His film follows several South Korean teens who are prepping for the Suneung test, a final exam for students. In light of this film, we organized a DOCVILLE + session in which we discussed the sense and nonsense of elite schools, with Steven Dhoedt as one of the panelists.
Finally, we also handed out the Prize for Best TV documentary for the second year in a row. Out of the five nominees, the jury selected 'Stuff' by Jan Antonissen and Guillaume Graux. The four-part series tells the story of famous and less famous doping sinners, active in different sports. The series was created with the support of the Fonds Pascal Decroos.
The judges this year were, for the international selection: Tom Bleyaert, Sophie Schoukens and Marianne Mäkelä. For the national selection: John Appel, Melissa Lindgren and Peter Hutch. The Science & Conscience selection: Ides Debruyne, Lieve Blancquaert and Paul Thiltges and for TV documentary: Niek Koppen, Steven Dhoedt and Hendrik Willemyns.
During Day of the Doc, the annual educational and networking day for professional documentary filmmakers, the first Flanders Doc Merit Award was awarded. This price puts the spotlight on a person or institution who has rendered outstanding services to Flemish documentary film. The award went to Wim Van Rompaey, director of the former Lichtpunt, who programmed valuable documentaries and short films with an open mind, a lot of courage and who stood up to the pressure of ratings. He was also an important pillar in the financing of documentary films.
For the 12th edition DOCVILLE was thrilled to welcome Louis Theroux as our main guest for the second time. He arrived in Leuven with director John Dower to present his first cinema documentary, 'My Scientology movie'. The film received a massive amount of interest, as did its well-attended Master's Talk. Besides a range of brand new films, DOCVILLE also offered the chance to dig a bit deeper during the popular DOCVILLE + sessions. The first DOCVILLE² activities such as insect tasting and star gazing were also big hits. Despite the beautiful summer weather in the second half of the week, the festival noted a significant increase in visitor numbers.