Interreligious Jury awards "Kumva - Which Comes from Silence" (France) at DOK Leipzig Festival 2023
The 66th International Film Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, DOK Leipzig, held from October 8 to 15, 2023, showcased an array of remarkable films that captivated audiences and provided a platform for filmmakers to address pressing global issues. Among these thought-provoking films, "Kumva - Which Comes from Silence" by French director Sarah Mallégol stood out, earning accolades and recognition from the Interreligious Jury at the festival. The Interreligious Jury, appointed by SIGNIS and INTERFILM, had the distinct honor of awarding its Prize of €2,250. This award was generously donated by the VCH-Hotels Germany, together with VCH-Hotel Michaelis in Leipzig, as well as the Interreligious Round Table and the Oratorium Leipzig. The recipient of the award was "Kumva – Ce qui vient du silence," meaning "Kumva – Which Comes from Silence." Directed by Sarah Mallégol and produced in France in 2022, "Kumva - Which Comes from Silence" beautifully captures the profound impact of silence on the lives of those who survived the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. This poignant documentary not only delves into the horrors of the past but also highlights the pressing need for new generations to coexist in a spirit of dialogue and respect. In "Kumva - Which Comes from Silence," the Interreligious Jury found itself deeply moved and touched by the film's central theme. Silence, in this context, acts as a powerful force that transcends language and resonates with audiences around the world. The film masterfully portrays how silence is a vessel that carries both the haunting memories of the genocide and the imperative for future generations to coexist peacefully. Sarah Mallégol chooses to tell the story quietly and discreetly. She takes us on a journey following a group of thirty-something individuals who, as children, survived the tragic events of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. Astonishingly, these survivors have no recollection of the events that tore apart their nation, whether their fathers were victims or perpetrators. The film captures focused conversations between generations, and it does so with a delicate touch. The director’s gentle camera work allows the story to unfold naturally, providing a safe space for these individuals to break the long-held silence. The conversations depicted on screen are not merely a reckoning with the past but an attempt to understand, process, and ultimately mourn the events that shaped their lives and their nation. Mallégol's film is a testament to the power of storytelling in bridging generational divides and facilitating healing. The film's message is universal, reminding us that silence can be a place of pain and reflection, but it can also serve as a path towards understanding and reconciliation.
"Children of the Taliban" takes home the SIGNIS Jury Award at the Prix Italia 2023
The Prix Italia 2023 took place in the Italian city of Bari from October 2nd to the 6th. The festival recognizes the best of television, radio broadcasting, and web productions, and this year it focused on sustainability. The topic “Engage Me” aimed at promoting everyone’s involvement in the fight against climate change and seeing it as both an individual and a collective responsibility. The heart of the competition is found in its International Juries, celebrated communication experts who consistently demonstrate their mastery and expertise. They operate within a stimulating and fulfilling environment where cultural identity and geographic diversity are openly embraced. Annually, the Juries recognize outstanding productions distinguished by their innovation and excellence in both language creativity and content. The SIGNIS Jury, was an ecumenical jury for the first time, made up of five professionals from different countries: Mariachiara Martina (Italy), Magimai Pragasam (India), Lucia Cuocci (Italy), Jane Stranz (UK/Germany), and Adela Peeva (Bulgaria). Their diverse backgrounds ensured the awards represented the global broadcast scene. The Jury decided to give their award to the documentary "Children of the Taliban" from Channel 4. It is a “deeply touching documentary, which tells the incredible journey exploring children in Afghanistan forced to support their families when they are supposed to be in school. The film demands emotional involvement and deep reflection about the future of these children, not only in Afghanistan but throughout the world. Despite the hard scenario, the final dialogue of the two young protagonist girls is a hymn of joy and hope”, says the Jury. The film received an outstanding 5-star review by The Guardian. Furthermore, the SIGNIS Jury gave a commendation to the documentary "You jump, I will catch you!" by MTVA Hungary, a touching story about the Hungarian National Centre for Circus Arts helping Ukraine during the war. “This is a solace amidst fear, loss of lives, and stress created by war. This documentary leads the viewers on a soul-searching journey, emphasizing peace, love, coexistence, and collaboration as the world belongs to all people”, affirms the Jury. Congratulations to all the winners!