DOC NYC Announces Award-Winning Documentaries of 2023 in a Celebration of Filmmaking Excellence

New York City, New York – The winners of the Juried Awards for the 14th edition of the DOC NYC festival have been announced. The festival, which features a hybrid format this year, will reveal the Audience Award winner in the coming days. As the festival’s online screenings continue until November 26, audiences across the United States have the opportunity to stream a selection of 90 features and over 100 short films, including the award-winning films.

In the U.S. Competition category, the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to “Mediha,” directed by Hasan Oswald and produced by Oswald, Annelise Mecca, Fahrinisa Campana, Alexander Spiess, and Stephen Nemeth. The film tells the story of Mediha, a survivor of the ISIS genocide against the Yazidis, and explores the trauma of war and the resilience of women and children who have experienced captivity. The jury described “Mediha” as a profound and nuanced portrayal of different generations of women, and commended the talent and courage of the filmmaking team.

Another film that received special recognition in the U.S. Competition category was “Happy Campers,” directed and produced by Amy Nicholson. The documentary celebrates a working-class seaside refuge that is about to undergo redevelopment, capturing the spirit and charm of the Inlet View Campground. The jury praised the film for its cinematic qualities and its timely release in today’s turbulent times.

In the International Competition category, the Grand Jury Prize went to “Total Trust,” directed by Jialing Zhang. The film explores the stifling effect of Chinese government surveillance on its citizens and highlights the voices of resistance. The judges commended the film’s use of character and emotionally rich scenes to reveal the human consequences of living in a surveillance society. They also recognized its bravery and artistry in addressing the issue of government monitoring and its legacy.

Additionally, “Al Djanat – The Original Paradise,” directed by Chloé Aïcha Boro, received a special mention in the International Competition category. The film follows Boro’s return to her homeland in Burkina Faso after the death of her uncle, exploring family, political, and philosophical conflicts in a deeply universal way.

In the Kaleidoscope category, the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to “Zinzindurrunkarratz,” directed and produced by Oskar Alegria. The documentary takes viewers on a dreamlike journey through the Basque countryside, where the filmmaker attempts to retrieve memories using an old camera. The jury praised the film’s exploration of past and present, rural and urban, and its ability to transform silence, sound, and image into a captivating experience.

For the Metropolis category, which focuses on stories about New Yorkers and New York City, the Grand Jury Prize went to “Lucha: A Wrestling Tale” by Marco Ricci. The film follows the story of four members of the Taft High School women’s wrestling team in the Bronx, offering a compelling portrayal of their struggles and growth over the course of three years.

The Short List for Features category highlights 15 documentaries that represent the best of the year. The Directing Award was presented to “While We Watched” directed by Vinay Shukla, while the Producing Award went to the same film produced by Shukla, Khushboo Ranka, and Luke Moody. The Editing Award was given to “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project,” edited by Terra Long and Lawrence Jackman, with a special mention for editing awarded to “The Disappearance of Shere Hite” edited by Eileen Meyer. The Cinematography Award went to “The Mother of All Lies” cinematography by Hatem Nechi, and the Score Award was given to “The Eternal Memory” music by Miguel Miranda and José Miguel Tobar.

In the Shorts Competition category, the Grand Jury Prize was awarded to “Mountain Man” directed and produced by Arun Bhattarai. The film tells the story of a glaciologist in Bhutan who measures the rapidly melting glaciers in the country’s sacred mountains. The judges praised the film’s intimate and fable-like storytelling, as well as its portrayal of climate change and our interconnectedness.

Finally, the DOC NYC U Competition showcased short documentaries from students across the five boroughs. The DOC NYC U Award was presented to “I Told You So” directed by Malak AlSayyad and Amaan Stewart, while the special mention went to “It Smells Like Springtime” directed and produced by Mackie Mallison.

These award-winning films highlight the incredible talent and diversity within the documentary genre, offering audiences a range of compelling and thought-provoking stories. As DOC NYC continues its online screenings, viewers have the opportunity to engage with these award-winning films and explore the best of the documentary world.

(Note: All films mentioned are available to stream online until November 26 as part of the DOC NYC festival.)