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Submissions for Filmfest DC 2022 are officially open! Please submit your feature length or short film via FilmFreeway to be considered. For more details including deadlines and rules, visit us on Filmfreeway.
The jury has bestowed the distinction of the 2021 Circle Award on the film What You Don't Know About Me (Switzerland, Italy), directed by Rolando Colla. In keeping with the spirit of the award, the jury considers the film most worthy of greater recognition and appreciation by a larger audience.
Excelling at direction while avoiding concessions, the writer/director/editor Rolando Colla conceived, visualized, and articulated a story at once both forceful and delicate. Two drifting souls - distanced by culture, tradition, language, and mutual disadvantage - struggle to get closer through their love, in spite of their uncompromising manner. Such is the story of two human beings, both immigrants, desperate for affection after meeting accidentally against the backdrop of life in an alien, unfriendly land, indifferent at least about their destiny.
Colla explores several issues from today's headlines such as immigration, drug trafficking, corruption, and a failing system of justice, each of them adding to the larger universal dimensions of the film, endowing the story with a chilling contemporary and "close to home" outlook, no matter who is watching. The human drama, given complexity and subtle nuances by superb acting, is never overshadowed and prevails to the end, almost unresolved, intentionally imperfect in its outcome, just as life itself.
Despite destruction, desolation and death in a once prosperous Syrian community, one man uses the power of piano music to give hope. The film masterfully conveys the terror of daily facing senseless killing due to religious extremism, and celebrates human resilience and the power of hope.
The 2021 Short Stories Award goes to writer and sociologist B. Brian Foster and his collaborator, filmmaker Ethan Payne for the nonfiction essay film, We Travel. In the four sections of We Travel, Foster speaks in the persona of members of four generations of his family in rural Mississippi in the 19th and 20th centuries. His text comes from notes, letters, documents, and photos he sourced in his research.
This unique film is a multilayered personal experience of race, place, daily life and resilience. The way that language is presented here is as much a part of the story as the characters and places. The stark beauty of the impeccably composed visuals and sound complement and enhance the deep resonance of the scenes, and the film rises above words.
A Special Commendation goes to director Miguel Angel Caballero and producer Luis Aldena for their film Acuitzeramo. The emotional landscape of Salvador, a gay elder grieving the passing of his longtime partner, Roberto, is delicately revealed through an artful screenplay. Each phrase uttered in this quiet drama is important. The nuanced direction allows us to perceive this humble man, whose unassuming dignity transforms the mistrust and misconceptions of Roberto's estranged son into a shared opportunity to heal.
We look forward to seeing more outstanding independent work from all of these filmmakers in the years to come.
In this extraordinary snapshot of journalism in a remote section of India, three women reporters shed light on the threats, violence, indignities and unjust treatments heaped on the members of their Dahlit caste. Directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh follow these courageous journalists whose intention is to right injustices using social media. Their unwavering commitment to this dangerous work and its resulting impact redefines what it truly means to be powerful.
Justice Matters Award
The Committee would also like to give an Honorary Mention Award to Pureza and Director Renato Barbieri for his insightful, moving and revealing depiction of modern slave practices, the brutal treatment of workers in the Brazilian Amazon, and one woman's brave and determined pursuit to save her son from the grip of slavery.