Here in Sheffield last night, the 2010 Sheffield Doc/Fest award winners were announced at the city's Lyceum Theater. As was previous announced, the fest honored Kim Longinotto with the Inspiration Award, an award given to an industry figure that has done immense positive work for the documentary industry. A jury led by indieWIRE's former Editor-in-Chief Eugene Hernandez gave the fest's special jury award to Longinotto's in-competition film "Pink Saris," the powerful story of an Indian woman whose organization, the Gulabi Gang (the Pink Gang), helps out women who feel abandoned by their families, communities, or society-at-large. Patricio Guzman received a special mention by the jury for his film "Nostalgia for the Light," a thoughtful essay film that links an astronomical observatory in a South American desert to the search for the remains of political prisoners, both of which are going on in the same desert. Hernandez announced the jury's honored films, noting, "Given the stark differences between these two particularly exceptional films, we wanted to recognise both. Guzman’s 'Nostalgia for the Light' is a poetic, mysterious and awe-inspiring film of mystery and art. It is a beautifully composed and unexpected work that explores life's biggest questions in a profound, cinematic way. And in Kim Longinotto’s complex and ambiguous, but uncompromising 'Pink Saris' we witness the difficult process of observational cinema. With rich and complex characters, this vérité film explores deeply troubling social injustice. It is dramatic, as well as transformative."
The festival's Innovation Award was given to Clio Barnard for "The Arbor." The head of the Innovation Jury, Julianne Pierce noted of the film about the Yorkshire playwright Andrea Dunbar told through interviews with family members, "The Arbor combines powerful storytelling, immaculate attention to detail and craft with an ingenious use of actors, testimonial voice-over and lip-synching." Philippe Brault and David Dufresne’s "Prison Valley" was given a special mention by the Innovation jury.
The Sheffield Youth Jury Award, decided upon by a group of young cinephiles, awarded Laura Fairrie's "The Battle for Barking" as their winner, with Gemma Atwal's "Marathon Boy" receiving a special mention. The Sheffield Green Award for environmentally themed films selected Floris-Jan van Luyn's "Rainmakers," about a local versus national struggle for environmental policy in a part of China, as its winner. Michael Madsen's "Into Eternity" was the jury's choice for a special mention.
Will Woodward's "No Easy Time" received the Sheffield Student Doc Award. The Digital Revolutions short film competition, which came with hefty cash prizes, awarded Andy Taylor-Smith's beautiful portrait of a man with Cerebral Palsy in a wheelchair living his life to his fullest "This Chair is Not Me" with the prize in the amateur category, and Edward McGown's "The Scanner" in the professional category.