Sarajevo Film Festival 2024

Movies That Matter 2024: the complete winners

In a celebration of cinema that marries social critique and harrowing narratives, the Movies that Matter Festival in The Hague has honoured outstanding films in its 16th edition. The Grand Jury Fiction Award, with a €5,000 prize, was bestowed upon Radical, a Mexican comedy-drama by Christiopher Zalla featuring Eugenio Derbez. Lauded for its poignant take on a teacher’s innovative methods against student apathy in a Mexican border town, the film blends humour with a trenchant critique of social and institutional ills.

The documentary sector was no less impactful, with Asmae El Moudir’s The Mother of All Lies clinching the Grand Jury Documentary Award and a €5,000 prize. This introspective work delves into the fabrications of El Moudir’s childhood, set against a miniature Casablanca, garnering acclaim for its blend of innovation, indignation, humour, and empathy.

Highlighting the intersection of cinema and activism, Mediha by Hasan Oswald and Mediha Ibrahim Alhamad received the Activist Documentary Award. This documentary charts a young Yazidi woman’s harrowing journey towards justice and healing after surviving ISIS’s brutality, leaving the jury profoundly moved by its poignant cinematic portrayal.

In the realm of youthful turmoil, Kix by Bálint Révész & Dávid Mikulán won the Camera Justitia Award. The film’s decade-spanning journey with a Budapest street kid demonstrates the unnoticed societal failings that lead to pervasive personal tragedies.

Turning the lens on conflict documentation, the Dutch Movies Matter Award was granted to Eddyʼs oorlog by Joost van der Valk. It chronicles war photographer Eddy van Wessel’s quest in Ukraine for that singular image encapsulating conflict.

The Shorts Award and €1,500 went to Maryam Tafakory’s Mast-del, which tactfully explores taboo desires and bodies in post-revolution Iranian cinema.

The very first Education Award, decided on by a jury consisting of an MBO student, a high school student, a high school teacher and a nominee for Film Teacher of the Year, went to The Mind Game by Sajid Khan Nasiri, Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel.

Lastly, the festival’s opening film Photophobia by Pavol Pekarčík and Ivan Ostrochovský received the Students’ Choice Award, presented by a student jury from Leiden University.

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