Festivals' Awards

  • Marek Nowicki Prize

    Since 2003 the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has been awarding filmmakers with the festival prize for excellent achievement in showing human rights in film.
    In 2006 the Board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights decided to name this prize with the name of Marek Nowicki (1947 – 2003), cofounder and for many years the President of the Foundation, cofunder of the Helsinki Committee in Poland.

    In 2014 the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights awards the Marek Nowicki Prize to Joe Berlinger.

    Joe Berlinger (b. 1961) began his adventure with documentary film by working at the legendary Maysles brothers’ studio. Undoubtedly, the Maysles’ influence as co-creators of American direct cinema remains evident in his films. However, even when making his full-length debut, Berlinger discovered that the camera can influence reality – and decided he was more interested in that than pure observation. Berlinger gets extremely close to his protagonists, not only to tell an interesting story that will move or shake the audience, but also to help his subjects. He usually achieves his goal, though often this takes many years. That was precisely the case with his trilogy, Paradise Lost (The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills – 1996, The Revelations – 2000, The Purgatory – 2011), made with Bruce Sinofsky (their cooperation, still ongoing today, has resulted in numerous successful projects). Successive chapters in the story of three teens unjustly accused of an exceptionally heinous crime mobilized public opinion and resulted in their release – 15 years later. Along the way, Berlinger and Sinofsky collected evidence of police incompetence and found trails leading to the potential perpetrators. The trilogy, which today likely remains Berlinger’s most known work, has also been recognized by the American Academy of Film, which nominated The Purgatory for the Oscar in 2012.
    Berlinger’s interventions take on various forms and go beyond the borders of America. In his 2009 documentary Crude, the director defends Ecuadorian Indians in their court battle against oil titan Chevron. In Under African Skies he shows several perspectives on the recording of Paul Simon’s legendary album Graceland – Simon was accused of violating the cultural boycott of South Africa in the 1980s.
    Berlinger gained international fame with another musical documentary, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, produced jointly with Sinofsky after Berlinger’s failed attempt at feature filmmaking. It is an example of the camera used as a catalyst in group therapy, which saved the band from disintegration.
    Berlinger’s latest documentary, Whitey: USA v. James J. Bulger takes on another court trial. This time however, he does not aim to help the defendant, who is a gangster and perpetrator of many murders, but asks about the victims.
    Joe Berlinger is undoubtedly one of the most important modern American documentary filmmakers and certainly one whose commitment to human rights has produced the most spectacular results, both cinematically and socially.
    Selected Filmography

    2014  Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger
    2012 Under African Skies
    2011 Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
    2004 Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
    2002 One Who Day
    2000 Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2
    2000 Revelations: Paradise Lost 2
    1998 Where It's At: The ROLLING STONE State of the Union
    1996 Paradise Lost
    1992 Brother's Keeper
    1989 Outrageous Taxi Stories (short)

  • WATCH DOCS Award for the best feature-length documentary
  • Audience Award




Laureates of the Marek Nowicki Prize:

2013 - Maria Ramos

2012 - Jafar Panahi

2011 - Zhao Liang

2010 - Frederick Wiseman

2009 - Wiktor Daszuk

2008 - Errol Morris

2007 - Rithy Panh

2006 - Marcel Łoziński

2005 - Maciej Drygas

2004 - Fabrizio Lazzaretti

2003 - Kim Longinotto

WATCH DOCS Award for the best feature-length documentary winners:

2013 - No burqas behind bars dir. Nima Sarvestani

2012 - Anton's Right Here dir. Ljubow Arkus

2011 - Special Flight dir. Fernand Melgar

2010 - Winds of Sand. Women of Rock dir. Nathalie Borgers

2009 - Les Arrivants dir. Claudine Bories, Patrice Chagnard

2008 - Juízo dir. Maria Augusta Ramos

2007 - Losers and Winners dir. Ulrika Franke, Michael Loeken

2006 - Avenge But One Of My Two Eyes dir. Avi Mograbi and On a tightrope dir. Peter Lom

Audience Award winners:

2013 - No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka, dir. Callum Macrae

2012 - Call Me Kuchu dir. Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall

2011 - Belarussian Dream dir. Ekatarina Kibalchich

2010 - Presumed guilty dir. Roberto Hernandez, Geoffrey Smith

2009 - Tibet in Song dir. Ngawang Choephel

2008 - Kites dir. Beata Dzianowicz

2007 - Bridge Over the Wadi dir. Barak Heyman, Tomer Heymann

2006 - Street Fight dir. Marshall Curry

2005 - The children of Leningradsky dir. Hanna Polak, Andrzej Celiński