Awards of the 8th Beyond Borders

A closing ceremony full of cinema and music

With a Closing Ceremony full of joy and emotion we said farewell to the 8th Beyond Borders | Kastellorizo International Documentary Festival.

Greetings were addressed by John Chrysoulakis, Secretary General for Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs representing the Prime Minister, Stratos Amygdalos, Vice Mayor of Kastellorizo, Anne Karine Asselin, Ambassador of Canada to Greece and High Commissioner to Cyprus who referred to the possibilities of cooperation and coproductions between Greece and Canada, Alison Duncan, Ambassador of Australia to Greece who revealed that Australia, where 80.000 Kastellorizians live, will be next festival’s honored country, while awards were also given by Leonidas Christopoulos, President and CEO of the National Audiovisual Media and Communication Center (EKOME) and Athena Kartalou, Managing Director at Greek Film Centre. Michel Noll, artistic advisor and director of international development of the festival, announced that next year the festival will establish a new, youth jury to provide its’ fresh and valuable point of view, while the artistic director of Beyond Borders, Irini Sarioglou, thanked the team and all the partners and supporters of the festival by citing a verse of the poet Dimitris Papakonstantinou «The words are for the chameleons, the acts are for the brave».

At a heartwarming Closing Ceremony full of people from the island and guests from Greece and all over the world the festival presented the film “Tricks on the Dead” by Jordan Paterson, through which the thread of the first mass migration of Chinese workers to Europe is chronicled and unfolded, and concluded to its very end with the mesmerizing performances by Eleni Tsaligopoulou, George Andreou and Korina Legaki, with a joint cause of marrying the sounds of the East and the West.

It has been a week full of exciting films from every corner of the world, competition sections including many world, international and nationwide premieres, film and art workshops, masterclasses, tributes, Pitching Lab, discussions, parallel events, art, books, music, taste and dance. A week where Kastellorizo ​​became a meeting point for leading professionals of the international film industry, emerging filmmakers, students and cinephiles, as well as a starting point for great cinematic journeys beyond borders.

A total of 11 prizes are awarded in the two competition sections: Best History, Best Social and Best Political Documentary Award, all sponsored by ERT, Best Greek Documentary Award sponsored by Greek Film Center, Special Mediterranean Friendship Award sponsored by EKOME, Special “Odysseus” Award sponsored by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy, FIPRESCI Award, #ThisisEU European Values  Award and the Golden, Silver and Bronze Phoenix, with the support of the German public broadcaster ZDF/Phoenix and ERT.

The Jury of the Main Competition section consists of: Wolfgang Bergmann (External Director of ARTE Germany, Chairman of the Jury), Eva Stefani (Director/Academic), Karin Jurschick (Director/Academic), Stavros Papageorgiou (Director/Artistic Director of AEI Cyprus Film Festival) and Jordan Paterson (Director/Producer). Their awards are given as follows:

Best History Documentary Award sponsored by ERT: “Scenes with My Father” by Biserka Šuran (Holland). For its creative innovation in the genres of history and autobiography where performance between father, daughter and audience transforms memories into personal healing, takes risks that open our minds to the transformative potential in the art of documentary. Through the exploration of their individual memories and shared traumas, this outstanding film presents the struggle of a Croatian-Dutch migrant family trying to make sense of their lives with the profound cinematic beauty of a dream. 

Best Social Documentary Award sponsored by ERT: “Audrey Napanangka” by Penelope McDonald (Australia). You will not forget Audrey Napanangka, after seeing her and listening to her in Penelope McDonalds touching film. You will not forget Audrey’s face, her strength, her warmth – as you will not forget her Sicilian partner Santo and at least two of the more than 30 children that Audrey Napanangka raised. Audrey is a Warlpiri woman living in Alice Springs (Mparntwe) in Central Australia. As an Indigenous woman she and her family are facing the loss of their homeland and with it, their deep connectedness to nature and their traditional ways of living, dreaming and forming community. They are confronted with the very real social and institutional racism endemic to white Australian Society. Penelope McDonald’s stunning documentary is not hiding these problems, but she is also not focusing on Audrey Napanangka and her family solely as victims and objects to be investigated. Instead, with great sensibility and respect, she allows us to get to know Audrey as a human being, an artist, a partner and a mother. We experience her humour and we can learn from her how to persevere, how to love and how to survive. You can see and feel that the filmmaker knew her protagonists for a long time, filming over a period of 10 years. The jury has even more respect for the editing of the film. It creates an epic inter-generational journey that will go on even after the death of the protagonists; there is no conclusion or liberating catharsis as we understand it from Western forms of storytelling. Instead, the structure of the film narrative appears to answer the Aboriginal dreaming stories that we see in Audrey Napanangka’s paintings. In many respects, Audrey Napanangka leads us Beyond Borders.

Best Political Documentary Award sponsored by ERT: “A Tale of Four Minorities” by David Deri (Israel). Four families offer us their diverse insights into the ongoing frictions of their world, with what is right and what is wrong within Israeli society. Filmed during the COVID pandemic, the lives of Muslim, Jewish, Ultra-Orthodox, Jewish Religious Settlers and Jewish Secular Gay families are exposed in magnified detail, the Rashomon-effect creating deep multi-perspectival insights. The film not only shows us the difficulties of one of the world’s chronical hot-spots of political conflict and disillusion, it is a great paraphrase of humankind in general. The personal involvement of the filmmaker also gives the film an authentic and honest twist and offers some endearing and funny moments in a world that is so full of misunderstanding; as if it all could be so much better if we could sometimes laugh.

In addition to the main competition prizes the jury would like to give a Special Mention to the film “Underdog” by Mariette Faber (Holland): “We follow Dutch Veterinarian Esther van Neerbos, who with her search dogs, tries to locate people who have gone missing, giving their families much needed closure of case. The film loves its protagonists. It shows many aspects of life and death, of people and animals and the power of not giving up. We all loved this film. Especially as there were moments that took our breath away. What an extraordinary finding!” The second Special Mention goes to the film “What Remains on the Way” by Jakob Kress and Danilo Do Carmo (Germany, Brazil, Mexico). “Lilian and her four children are fleeing their home in Guatemala in search of a better life. The film is intense. It shows in closeup what can happen on a journey into the unknown. It conveys the idea of how courageous a mother can be. She wants only for her children and herself to escape hell. The film ends at the US-Mexico border where Lilian is sheltered by NGO staff who try to help her and her children in their ongoing journey. We all know, her journey could also have had a stopover here in Kastellorizo, right next door, right now, while we are here, enjoying our time, watching films about the difficulties all over the world while being kept, fed and very well received. Sometimes films and reality inter-mix in dramatic ways. While giving this special mention to the film we would also like to give special mention to the refugees who arrived recently in Kastellorizo as well as refugees in any other place of the world, who deserve our respect, support and unfaltering recognition of their basic human rights”.

Best Greek Documentary Award sponsored by the Greek Film Center: “Her Tobacco” by Stathis Galazoulas and Eliza Kavalaraki (Greece).  The film broadens our knowledge on women’s presence in Greek history and at the same time sheds light on the issue of female labour. Through the wonderful stories told by elderly female tobacco factory workers in Agrinio, we reflect on themes such as exploitation, solidarity and resistance in the past and in the present.

#ThisisEU European Values Award of the Delegation of the European Commission in Greece for the documentary that best promotes modern European values, goes to the film “The Hidden Children of Colonization” by Dominique Regueme (France-Belgium). The film focuses on the tragic consequences of Belgian colonial policy in pre-revolutionary Congo where the targeted-segregation of thousands of mixed-race children fractured families and lives. Focusing on the lived experience and oral testimony of the survivors, Regueme weaves their stories of segregation, parental loss, and fractured identity into unique archival material of 1940s and 50s Congo and Belgium. European history consists of the countless stories and experiences of regular people’s lives. If we wish to give effectiveness to European values such as human rights, equality and democracy, we must bring to light those stories, which for obvious reasons, were diligently hidden under the carpet of history woven by the powerful. Regueme dares to tell these stories of family suffering and governmental and societal shame with great sensitivity and a sense of quiet attention. The Hidden Children of Colonization is a fine example of our collective aspirations for justice, whereby enjoying the freedom of expression within the European Union allows Regueme to tell a story exposing the sins of the past. The film can lead us to both espouse and question if contemporary EU values are just, accessible and applicable throughout our lives as Europeans and as human beings belonging to the civilized world. Our collective future depends upon it.

Special Mediterranean Friendship Award sponsored by EKOME is awarded to “A tale of four minorities” by David Deri (Israel), for the bold and insightful look with which it documents cultural particularities and differences of Israeli society, which echo the wider Mediterranean reality, in order to express the urgent need for mutual acceptance and coexistence. 

The Special Odysseus award for the best documentary film and the support of the work of Greeks abroad, sponsored by the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, goes to the film “I woke up eighteen” by Vera Iona Papadopoulou (Greece). The film approaches, with sensibility and respect on human beings, the issue of unaccompanied minors, as a result of the present refugee and immigration waves. As time passes in transit, those children become adults and have to face the hard reality and its’ effects on them.

The FIPRESCI jury consists of the critics Senem Erdine (Altyazi, Turkey), Davide Magnisi (CineCritica, Italy) and Thodoris Koutsogiannopoulos (LIFO, MEGA TV, COSMOTE TV).The award is given to «Scenes with my father” by Biserka Šuran (Netherlands) for how it manages to combine a personal story, with the tragedy of the civil war in former Yugoslavia. Cinematically compelling, Scenes with my Father is staged in a dreamlike state of transition, between traumas of the past and the uncertainty of the present. It is a multilayered film, dealing with the functional and therapeutical nature of documentary, that originally and intimately approaches a family of refugees.

The μicro Jury consists of Peter Arens (Director of History and Science, ZDF German Radio and Television, Chairman of the Jury), Pelin Esmer (Director), Marcin Malatyński (Academic/Producer), Afroditi Kairaki (Academic) and Panos Dendramis (Director/cinema professor). Their prizes are supported by the German public broadcaster ZDF/Phoenix and ERT and are as follows:

Golden Phoenix: “Will you look at me?” by Shuli Huang (China). An intimate story on an extremely painful mother-son relationship, told in an almost radical poetic way by using super 8 camera. Describing his personal conflict, the director manages to create a poignant story which eventually grows into a bigger picture of complex family relations of LGBT people in today’s China.

Silver Phoenix: “Scars” by Alex Anna (Canada). Combining poetic diary and gentle cinematography the director depicts a mental disorder drawing the viewers in a seemingly beautiful but eventually very painful story. The tension between visible suffering and beauty creates a breathtaking mix of emotions which stays in our minds like the scars on the body. 

Bronze Phoenix: “Bitter September” by Sophia Farantatou (Switzerland). A moving, very personal film about the infamous assassination of the Greek drag scene performer Zak Kostopoulos. As it focuses on the bitter loss of a youth friend in a silent and empathic way, without any will for objectivity or doctrine, it may contribute to more tolerance in modern, diverse societies. 

For more information you can visit the website www.beyondborders.gr or contact the Festival at info@beyondborders.gr .

The Festival is held for the last 3 years under the auspices of H.E. President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou.

Organisation: Hellenic Foundation Foundation (IDISME) in collaboration with the French Ecrans des Mondes and in co-organisation with the South Aegean Region. DEI (PPC) – the leading Greek electric utility, with activities in electricity generation, distribution network operation and supply of electricity to end consumers – is the Platinum Sponsor of the Festival. The Festival is supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Greek Film Center, the National Audiovisual Media and Communication Center (EKOME), the Hellenic Parliament, the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of National Defense, the Greek National Tourism Organization, the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT), the Municipality of Megisti Island, the Embassy of Germany in Athens, the Embassy of Australia in Athens, the Embassy of USA in Athens, the Embassy of Spain in Athens and the Czech Center of Athens.