Successful documentary films: A Bavarian-financed film wins Toronto Hot Docs while a Quebec director is honoured at Munich’s DOK.fest


A picture from "Dragon Girls" by Inigo Westmeier - source www.br.de

Film festival schedules and their coincidences displayed a lovely if involuntary harmony in early May this year.

Hotdocs LogoIn Toronto, Hot Docs, North America’s biggest documentary film festival, announced the Best International Feature Documentary Award was presented to “Dragon Girls”, the first feature length documentary of directo Inigo Westmeier. Partly financed by Bayerischer Rundfunk (public radio and TV broadcaster) and FFF Bayern (financing body for the Bavarian film industry), “Dragon Girls” draws the portrait of 3 young girls among the 20,000 students of the famous and demanding Shaolin Kung Fu school in China, the world’s biggest sports school outside of Beijing. The jury declared Mr. Westmeier’s film was “a skillful and cinematic portrait of inspiring and enduring young girls.”

Dokfest LogoA week later, on the other side of the Atlantic, the Munich documentary festival DOK.fest – which is part of the Munich Film Festival – announced that Quebec director Sylvain L’Espérance’s “Standing On The Edge Of The World” documentary  won the Best International Documentary Award. In this third film of a trilogy about Mali (original title:  “Sur le rivage du monde”), Mr. L’Espérance focuses on African refugees that have been stopped in Bamako, Mali, sometimes for years, in their quest for a better life in Europe. The jury was moved by “a powerful film (…).Through remarkable camerawork, a fine sense of rhythm, and great interview talent, the director brings out the dignity in each of his protagonists.”

More on the subject: www.br.de