The awards of the 16th Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival were presented

Festival - 17.05.2023.

The best films: “A Field Guide to Coastal Fortifications” by Tijana Petrović and “ThIIIrd” by Karim Kassem.

The film “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” by Anna Hints won the Eurimages Audentia Award for Best female director.

The awards of the sixteenth Beldocs 2023 International Documentary Film Festival were awarded last night at the Yugoslav Film Archive. During the previous 7 days, more than 100 films were shown in 13 different program units.As the selector of Beldocs, Igor Stanojević, said before the start of the festival, the selection put a special focus on fresh expressions of new authors and visually striking films.

There were a total of 12 films in the selection of the Serbian competition program. The film “A Field Guide to Coastal Fortifications” by the author Tijana Petrović was declared the best film, and in the explanation, the jury emphasized: The award of Best Film goes to a documentary that looks at the relationship of humans and nature. An essay both visually striking and expertly crafted that integrates a vast range of different material. A film that explores the structure of land to lay out the structures of military might.

The award for the Best editing is awarded to promising young Serbian filmmakers, Luka Papić and Srđa Vučo, for the film “Invoked”, and the jury said in its explanation: For the most consistent film at Serbian competition program which combines authentic archival footage with well-crafted contemporary shots in order to make rare genre – documentaristic tragicomedy which deals with first Serbian plural elections.

The award for the Best cinematography went to the film “Aurora’s Dream” by Dragana Jovanović, the members of the jury highlighted: A film that surprised us from its first minutes. An impressively rich proposal from a very small idea: filming your friends during the lockdown. A lockdown film, yes, but not like the others. Strong images made only with webcams, an editing that produces a unique material. A film that tells us so many things, under the air of pure fantasy.

In the International Competition Program, the award for the best film went to the film “ThIIIrd”, by Karim Kassem. Slowly and conscientiously developing characters over time, this immersing film engages viewers in the story with compassion and respect to its protagonists. In terms of visual style and narration, the experience of the place and the context it provides is organic, gentle: we feel that all the people and spaces the author portrays have existed before cinema became involved in their lives, and will continue to do so once we – as audience and filmmakers – leave. Finally, Karim Kassem’s film invites us in through its unassuming and intelligently structured perspective shifts, which make it a captivating dialogue between fictional and non-fictional world.

The Special Mention went to the film “Adieu Sauvage”, by Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento: Fresh and melancholic, this exploratory film manages to overcome the author’s preconceptions about his home country by accepting the gloomy, pure reality of the place he came to investigate. Briefly and somewhat intangibly answering the questions he himself asked, Sergio Guataquira Sarmiento reminds us of the possibility of lightheartedness in these isolated communities; of the prospect of going deeper into the subject while also letting the film ingenuously reveal highly personal stories. 

In the selection of the Short film competition program, the award for the best film went to the film “Budapest Silo”, by Zsófia Paczolay. Powerful portrait of a man and a space that blend into one another. Striking imagery, sharp and precise sound emphasize and reflect the inextricable link between these two subjects.

The film “Ardent Other”, directed by Alice Brygo, received a special award. Bravery, unpretentiousness and innovation of the director left a strong impression on the jury. The auteur allows for the audince to observe an event which radiates heaviness and reflects the psyche of an individual.

This year’s Beldocs festival is hosting the prestigious Eurimages Audentia Award, which is awarded for the eighth time for the best female director. The winner of this award is the author of the film “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood”, Anna Hints. In their explanation of why Anna’s film received this prestigious award, the members of the jury stated: Words that become stories, confidences that open worlds, stories that cross bodies. Observed with complicity, tenderness and moving respect, a group of women find refuge in a limbo, a place suspended in space and time that becomes purgatory, confessional, a safe place to cleanse both body and soul. A modern Sabbath or a pagan ritual that embraces the magical and tangible dimension, something in between a Nordic fable, a tribal enchantment and the warmth of an embrace. Archetypal, hypnotic, intimate and boldly political. 

The Eurimages Audentia Award was presented to Anna Hints by Jasmina Pašić from the Insajder TV, and the director has expressed her appreciation in a very emotional and sincere way:

“Sorry for my crying, a lot of people come up to me after my films and apologize for crying, but in fact we shouldn’t apologize for what we feel in our hearts, and for our experiences. We need to have the courage to share it, and to listen, above all. This is only possible in a safe environment. “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” presents a safe environment where vulnerability can truly be felt, and that transcends all boundaries and cultures. I want to dedicate this award to The sisterhood, which was with me all 7 years during the making of this film. It was brave to bare both body and soul. Sisterhood is everywhere we go, it is watching a movie, it is above all countries, languages, religions and genders. We have to be in solidarity. I really thank everyone from the bottom of my heart, the festival, my team, my family. To everyone who believed in me, because I couldn’t always do it by myself. But I’m here now, so let’s survive and be kind to ourselves! I promise to take this responsibility and this encouragement very seriously. This award goes to all the free places, the free things and for the voices that are silenced and that need to be heard!” – she emphasized at the end.

The 16th Beldocs festival will close today with the film “Gru is here” directed by Rene Miškolci and Bojan Vinulović, and before the screening in the Youth Center of Belgrade, the award for the best European film as chosen by the audience will be presented, which is awarded under the sponsorship of the EU Delegation in Serbia.


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