The Closing Ceremony of the 2019 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival (GZDOC) was held in Guangzhou on the evening of December 12th, with the announcement of the winners of the 14 Golden Kapok Awards. ‘Confucian Dream’ had the most success, scooping up two Kapoks, Best Feature Documentary and Best Global Impact China Documentary.
At the Closing Ceremony, directors, producers and stars from the documentaries shared their stories.
Li Mijie accepts the award at the ceremony. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
“The awards belong to all the people who have been there with and for me during the long journey of making this documentary, I am really grateful to them all,” Li Mijie, director of ‘Confucian Dream’, said, “The four-year old boy in the film touched me the most, he taught me how to love, and I was very happy when spending time with him.”
It took Li six years to prepare and produce her first documentary film ‘Confucian Dream’. Li said she learned and grew while making the film through not being afraid to take she had built up, scrap it and start all over again. A gripping portrait of marital and parental crisis, the film demonstrates the devastating effects of misplacing the expectations of a spouse onto a child.
The documentary film ‘Changing China: Life Is Marvelous Because of You’, which won a Special Award from the Organizing Committee, explores the changes in China from the perspectives of six young Chinese people. The film’s producer Vikram Channa and one of the protagonists Han Yang, an obstetrician from the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, shared their stories at the event.
Han Yang (M) and Vikram Channa (R) share their stories at the ceremony. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Han Yang said it is her real life we see on film, busy but worthwhile, being her duty as an obstetrician to take care of both babies and mothers. A responsible doctor, Han has sacrificed her own family life for her career. Vikram Channa first came to China in 2002. Over the past 17 years, he has made a lot of films sharing Chinese stories with the world. Channa said it’s wonderful to be able to tell the stories of all these people at a time when one generation is handing over the reins to another.
A poster of Kabul, City in the Wind. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
‘Kabul, City in the Wind’ received four nominations and won the Special Jury Award. Director Aboozar Amini told the reporter that he was happy and emotional about winning the prize, because this was his first award in China, and screening the film at GZDOC had been on his wish list since the film was made. Since the production company Silk Road Film Salon is aiming to be a bridge for countries along the Silk Road, and the film’s producer Jia Zhao is from China, Amini said “in a way being in GZDOC is like showing our film at home.”
A city is the product of its inhabitants. The film ‘Kabul, City in the Wind’ portrays Kabul through the daily lives of two children and a bus driver. Amini has his protagonists talk to the camera directly about their worries and dreams: the Afghan nightmare is never far away.
Pailin Wedel (L2) accepts the award at the closing ceremony. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Pailin Wedel, director of ‘Hope Frozen’, said that it was an honor for her film to be included in the festival and compete with some of the best of international cinema. She pointed out that the highlight of producing this documentary film is sharing the stories with the world. ‘Hope Frozen’ tells the story of a Buddhist scientist from Bangkok, who decides to cryopreserve his two-year-old daughter’s brain. Her family stores her remains in an American lab. As scandal swirls around the family, they struggle to grieve a child that, in their view, is suspended between death and a future awakening.
In an interview before the opening ceremony, Kenny Kihyung Bae, Senior Producer of Korean Broadcasting System, said that in the documentary genre, there has to be a focus on what this new perspective can bring to the future lives of audiences, rather than simply documenting the world. “In that sense, GZDOC is a wonderful touch-point for the innovative documentary storytelling.”
According to the Organzing Committee, a trade volume of 888 billion RMB was recorded during the 2019 GZDOC. Over 800 professional organisations from across the world took part in the event, including 55 established film festivals and corporations. A total of 5,399 people attended the event’s main venue Guangzhou Library, during the festival.
A poster of Confucian Dream. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
Authors: Monica Liu, Wang Yifan
Editor: Simon Haywood