The Best Documentary Films of the Year Awarded at DocPoint

DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival has awarded the best new documentary films.  Sami van Ingen and Mika Taanila’s Monica in the South Seas won the National Competition and  While We Watched by Vinay Shukla won the International Competition. 

Finland’s most influential documentary film festival DocPoint awarded the best documentary films of the year and their makers in Helsinki on Saturday 4th of February.

The best Finnish and international films were awarded in DocPoint’s competitions with the DocPoint-Yle Award, which is worth 5.000 euros. In addition, the international jury gave one special mention. 

The winner of DocPoint’s National Competition was Monica in the South Seas by Sami van Ingen and Mika Taanila. “To a film that masterfully puts forward the different tools of cinema to disclose the complexity of history. As sound was researched and captured, a space emerged and in time exists what is there and what no longer is. We think of our time and its connection with what came before – we celebrate alliances, care and the power of our roots. The jury unanimously gives the DocPoint-Yle Award for Best Finnish Documentary Film to Monica in the South Seas, by Sami van Ingen and Mika Taanila,” commented the International Competition Jury.

The International Competition Jury was shaken by the talent of the filmmakers and their care towards the gravity of our shared existence on this globe. The jury enjoyed the great variety of the selection which took them on a journey to far and close, to different corners of the globe, making them go to the other side, to see the side of others. They were both moved and disturbed and yet again witnessed the strength of documentary cinema. All this made their deliberation not easy. And to acknowledge the variety of the selection, they also decided to include a special mention.

The winner of DocPoint’s International Competition is While We Watched by  Vinay Shukla.  

“Alternate facts, facts, data, information, perspectives, and thus the “truth” surround the globe through the fourth pillar of democracy; journalism. Fighting a losing battle where the numbers are completely stacked against you in every which way, ​While We Watched captures the formidable heroism of a journalist going against the grain of an authoritarian regime,” commented the jury of the International Competition.

The International Jury also gave a Special Mention. It was given to Jennifer Rainsford’s film All of Our Heartbeats Are Connected Through Exploding Stars. “This film takes the spectator on a journey that captures a deep time perspective of life on earth and its material foundations in a way that is highly cinematic; the film is comforting and forcing us to see human existence and suffering in a scale in which planktons, humans and all matter matter equally,” commented the jury.

In addition to the official competition,  Doclisboa’s Miguel Ribeiro presented the Nebulae Award to a Finnish Work-in-Progress that participated in the FINEST Market industry event. The winner was Juho-Pekka Tanskanen’s The Last Misfit by the Golden River (Finnish: Joki). The film is produced by Danish Bear Productions. Tanskanen’s film will participate in the Public Pitching session to be held onsite during Doclisboa 2023 (19-29 Oct).

Miguel Ribeiro from Doclisboa: “It will be a pleasure to welcome to Nebulae the team of a film that is sensitive to our times and the way history comes through, to the collective dynamics, struggles and ways to fight forward. We are very much looking forward to welcoming the team of The Last Misfits by the Golden River to Lisbon.”

The National Competition Jury:

Ujuni Ahmed, human rights activist

Chiara Boschiero senior programmer, Biografilm festival

Miguel Ribeiro, director at DocLisboa

The International Competition Jury:

Meike Statema Head of the Talent programme at IDFA documentary film festival 

Susanna Helke, director 

Rahul Jain, director

Image: Aliisa Hietikko