The 12th annual Doc Edge International Film Festival Opening Gala Evening brought international guests from around the world to join New Zealanders to celebrate all things documentary! The Festival award-winners were announced on 24 May, officially opening the Auckland season of the festival which will run until 5 June at Q Theatre, Queen Street.
A documentary by Wellington-based filmmaker Fiona Apanui-Kupenga, Making Good Men, scooped up several awards including Best New Zealand Feature Documentary. The film sees two high profile men, ex All Black Norm Hewitt and Actor Manu Bennett, reconcile to discuss bullying with unprecedented honesty. Another kiwi making a splash is Kevin Double from Whanganui with his film about the restoration of a statue of a Māori soldier, Set In Stone. Double was named as the Best New Zealand Emerging Filmmaker.
Excitingly, in the short films category, both After Life, winner of Best New Zealand Short, and the Polish film Close Ties, winner of Best International Short Award, are now eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards®. Doc Edge was selected by the Academy Award® as a qualifying festival for short documentaries in early 2016.
The judging panel commended the international filmmakers, noting, “We were moved by the truth of the films and the way their intimate personal stories reflected real global issues with complexity and heart.” However, one film stood out - Plastic China – for which filmmaker Jiu-Liang Wang won the highly contested Best International Feature Documentary Award.
The panel commented, “Plastic China stood out with its astutely observed characters and singular location. The struggle and heartbreak of the film were particularly poignant because of our relationship to the situation. The wider resonance of the story, the fact that China is recycling plastic waste for much of the western world, was a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of humanity.”
This year, the Festival recognised Leanne Pooley (ONZM) for her immense contribution to the documentary world, presenting her with the Doc Edge Superhero Award. A Canada-born filmmaker based in Auckland, Pooley’s career spans more than 20 years and she has documented the incredible stories of New Zealanders in award winning films including 25 April, Beyond The Edge, Topp Twins – Untouchable Girls, Hunting Douglas and Shackleton's Captain.
After a successful season in Wellington, Auckland audiences will now be treated to a stellar season of 69 fascinating documentaries.
Full list of Winners Doc Edge Awards 2017:
New Zealand Competition– Feature Documentary
Best New Zealand Feature Documentary – Making Good Men
Special Mention: Set In Stone
Best New Zealand Director – Fiona Apanui-Kupenga, Making Good Men
Best New Zealand Editing - Making Good Men
Best New Zealand Cinematography – On An Unknown Beach
New Zealand Competition – Short Documentary
Best New Zealand Short Documentary - After Life*
*Now eligible for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Academy Awards®
Special Mention: Meet Peter
Special Mention: Moko: A Film About A Maori Poet
Special Mention: Stickman
International Competition – Feature Documentary
Best International Feature Documentary – Plastic China
Special Mention: Last Men in Aleppo
Special Mention: For Ahkeem
Best International Director – Yonatan Nir, My Hero Brother
Special Mention: Shirley Abraham, Amit Madheshiya - The Cinema Travellers
International Competition – Short Documentary
Best International Short Documentary - Close Ties*
Best New Zealand Emerging Filmmaker – Kevin Double, Set In Stone
Doc Edge Superhero Award– Leanne Pooley
Doc Edge International Film Festival
Wellington | 10 – 21 May | Roxy Cinema, Miramar
Auckland | 24 May – 5 June | Q Theatre, CBD
Screen Edge Forum Wellington |19 May | Park Road Post
Screen Edge Forum Auckland | 27 May | University of Auckland