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'The Act of Killing' wins the Barcelona International Documentary Film Festival's main award

The 16th edition of the DocsBarcelona festival increased audience figures by 40% compared to 2012. The festival organisation thinks that one of the reasons for such an increase is the fact that they have moved the event from winter to spring. Furthermore, the improvement in the festival’s communication and image management as well as the higher number of movies shown and sessions held could also be behind the positive 2013 figures. Joshua Oppenheimer’s ‘The Act of Killing’ received the best movie award for its work picturing Anwar Congo’s death squads in Indonesia. Catalan Eva Vila’s ‘Bajarí’ received the jury’s special mention.

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03 June 2013 11:28 PM

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ACN / Pere Francesch

Barcelona (ACN).- The 16th edition of the DocsBarcelona \u2013 the Catalan capital\u2019s International Documentary Film Festival \u2013 awarded Joshua Oppenheimer\u2019s \u2018The Act of Killing\u2019 the prize for best movie for its work picturing Anwar Congo\u2019s death squads in Indonesia. Catalan Eva Vila\u2019s \u2018Bajarí\u2019 received the jury\u2019s special mention. The festival, which ran in the Catalan capital from Wednesday to Sunday, increased audience figures by 40% compared to last year. The Director of the documentary film festival, Joan Gonzàlez, told ACN that the organisation was very pleased as \u201Cthe increase in audience figures has been spectacular and extraordinary\u201D. The festival organisation thinks that one of the reasons for such an increase is the fact of having moved the event from winter to spring. Furthermore, the improvement in the festival\u2019s communication and image management as well as the higher number of movies shown and sessions held could also be behind the positive 2013 figures.


In 2012, around 3,500 spectators attended the DocsBarcelona film projections while this year, more than 5,000 people enjoyed the Catalan capital\u2019s international documentary film festival. The event\u2019s organisation team was very pleased with \u201Chow citizens have responded to moving DocsBarcelona from winter to spring\u201D. \u201CWe are very happy\u201D stated the festival\u2019s Director, Joan González. \u201CWe wanted to grow, we took a decision and people have followed us and we have increased our figures, with a very significant growth\u201D, added González.

\u2018The Act of Killing\u2019, by Joshua Oppenheimer, received the award for best movie, which comes with a \u20AC5,000 prize and a small trophy. Oppenheimer worked for more than a decade in Indonesia, filming the militia and the death squads led by Anwar Congo. The filmmaker had the objective of exploring the relationship between political violence and people\u2019s common imaginary world. \u201CIt is an excellent movie, which directly deals with human rights and how genocide situations have taken place and which portrays people in a way they have never been filmed in before\u201D, explained González. In fact, the festival\u2019s jury recognised the touching strength of \u2018The Act of Killing\u201D, which has already won other awards in previous festivals. The DocsBarcelona\u2019s jury emphasised \u201Cthe [movie\u2019s] differentiated style, by which it denounces an issue that unfortunately is still very present: torture and assassination in a totalitarian regime\u201D.

\u2018Bajarí\u2019 received a special mention

Within the festival\u2019s official section, the jury also paid tribute to the Catalan production \u2018Bajarí\u2019, directed by Eva Vila, picturing Roma people in Barcelona and their attachment to Flamenco dance. The jury awarded Vila\u2019s film a special mention \u201Cfor vindicating the interracial Barcelona, for the beauty of its images and for the great discovery of Karime Amaya and Mercedes Amaya known as La Winnye\u201D.

The New Talent award was unanimously given to the Chilean production \u2018El Salvavidas\u2019 (which translates in English as \u2018The Lifejacket\u2019), the opera prima of the film director Maite Alberdi. The jury praised \u201Cher distant and minimalist approximation of everyday life on a Chilean beach and the portrayal of its main characters\u201D.

The vote of the teenage audience, present in the section \u2018Kids & Teens\u2019, gave the Teens and Docs Award to the Catalan production \u2018En un xip multicolour. La vida de Neil Harbisson\u2019, directed by Roger Soldevila, Isaac Martínez and Josep Parés (which translates in English as \u2018In a multicolour chip. The life of Neil Harbisson\u2019). The film tells the peculiar story of Neil Harbisson, a teenager who suffers from achromatism, which means he can only see in black and white.

The most viewed documentaries

Besides the opening and closing movies, and some films shown at the sessions for kids and teenagers, the movies shown at the 2013 DocsBarcelona festival with the highest number of spectators have been: \u2018Bajarí\u2019, \u2018Whore\u2019s Glory\u2019, \u2018The Act of Killing\u2019, \u2018Google, the World\u2019s Brain\u2019 and \u2018Con mi corazón en Yambo\u2019.

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  • A caption from 'The Act of Killing', by Joshua Oppenheimer (by DocsBarcelona)

  • A caption from 'The Act of Killing', by Joshua Oppenheimer (by DocsBarcelona)