A documentary charting how Israeli activists and Palestinian villagers came together in a peaceful struggle to keep down the wall being built around them beat stiff competition last night in Berlin to be named the winner of this year's Puma Creative Impact Award, for the film deemed to have made most the most significant social impact in the last year.
Budrus school children - everyone in the village was affected
'Budrus' initially sought to answer the question posed by the film-makers 'Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?' What they found was a throng of people furious that their livelihoods, their decades-long rituals and their community relationships were all being threatened by the wall that the Israeli state has been constructing since 1992, in defence, it says, against suicide bombers.
The villagers young and old risked their lives to both participate in and film the defiantly peaceful protest that followed. 'Budrus' had its premiere in the village that gave its name, but has made its way to screenings all over the world, including on Washington's Capitol Hill, and has been heralded as a landmark example of how the the Israeli-Palestinian division is moving forward.
The Israeli Army on film in 'Budrus'
Juror Jemima Khan said of the winning film: “Like the villagers it follows, this brave film shows how non-violence in the face of a seemingly insurmountable opposition can succeed; a heart-warming David and Goliath tale. The film put Budrus on the map and in the mainstream media so that what happened there can never be forgotten and can continue to inspire peacemakers on all sides.”
'Budrus's director Julia Bacha and her team at JustVision were awarded E50,000 - to go towards widening the film's distribution, and thereby further increasing its impact.
The jurors gave an additional prize to 'Gasland' - a remarkable effort by American director Josh Fox, on a shoestring budget, to document 'fracking' - the process of digging underneath American soil to seek out natural fuels - and its effects on people's homes, health and surrounding environment. He is currently at work on 'Gasland 2'.
This is the second year that BRITDOC have worked with PUMA on the Award. PUMA's CEO Franz Koch commented, "Congratulations to the team behind 'Budrus'. We are proud to continue to support great documentary filmmaking and help to inspire positive change through this award.”
'Gasland' explored the sometimes dramatic effects on the home of 'fracking' beneath the earth
He also told HuffPost UK how well the competition fits with PUMA's overall vision, divided into three parts, creativity, sustainability and peace. Read more on PUMA's mission here…
Here is the trailer for 'Budrus', demonstrating that the quality of entrant was extraordinarily high - which is intimidating, but hopefully inspiring, for any filmmakers planning themselves to change the world with their cameras.
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