2018 TIDF Award-Winning List
Asian Vision Competition
We granted the Grand Prize to a film for reflecting the universal thing that can be related to all human. The director succeeded in telling the story in its simplicity by touching on small details and also exploring the current daily life in that city by observing, encountering and revealing
Merit Prize：Lone Existence
To search for beauty may be a way of learning how to breathe again. To look around, to stare at the banal gestures of the others, life passing by, as if we had just landed on earth or as if we had just died, like we were ghosts – this is the radical exercise of filmmaking and poetry.
Special Jury Prize：Goodnight & Goodbye
Before the work was done, the filmmaker had millions of opportunities to give himself a break while pleasing the audience as well. How easy and human it was would he choose to circumvent the enemy within. The jury decided to give it a special mention for its arduousness, and his head-on, albeit brutal, honesty.
Special Jury Mention：Tarling Is Darling
Folk songs, informal they may be, are gene pools for cultures. Gems, unconstrained by official political will, are often hidden among vulgar and noise. The director follows the path less taken and implicitly inquires the most sensitive and difficult issues in Indonesia. When this country gradually evolves into an Islamic state, authentic feelings in civil society are circumcised.
Special Jury Mention：Canine
The jury would like to give a special mention to a surprising film that managed to create a portrait of a community, of human strength and tragedy, using film and narrative with freedom and rigor: Canine, by Esa Hari Akbar.
Grand Prize：A Cambodian Spring
Veteran Japanese filmmaker Oshima Nagisa said, “the most important element in documentary films is the feelings one infuses in their subjects over a long time.” This 9-year project depicts among all the power structures, a group of civilians being torn apart cruelly, yet in this cruelty, this portrait of them fighting touches me deeply. Meanwhile, the civilians turn to hate each other. I, as a Japanese, often see in Japanese civil movements those who should help each other turn to hate each other. Misery. The film, through the situations in Cambodia, illustrates the bitterness of the people who have to fight with the powerful, for their own happiness. In fact, the outstanding film captured the common issue the whole world is facing.
A gorgeously shot and superbly edited film in which we see workers somewhere in Azerbaijan go with their daily routine as they work on a construction of a new high-speed railway that will connect Baku with Kars in Turkey. On the other side of the border in Armenia time seems suspended for railway workers with no trains running for last 20 years thus creating a metaphor for complicating relationship between two neighbours in ever troubled Caucasus.
Special Jury Mention：El Mar la Mar
An elegant beautiful film. Large amount of black, in which you hear the refugees, terrified or helpless, and their voice-over, and sometimes that of the border police or the humanitarians. In darkness, chapter one’s title appears with wind noise: Rivers. Yet it shows a fast moving stainless steel border. The flowing poetry, sound, and images with grain take you on the ride. Made with 16mm film, the white dots, grainy texture, and noise all makes it aesthetic, and contributes to the diversity of documentary films. The fair and vibrant images, with the exquisite presentation of sound, make this film the most beautiful encounter at the festival.
Grand Prize：Small Talk
An honest and powerful film which digs deep into the buried traumas of an unconventional family. The exchanges between mother and daughter are deeply moving. The director finds the right cinematographic language to her personal story and gives a tribute to her mom, who lived her life as an independent single lesbian mother in a conservative society.
Merit Prize：Absent without Leave
A film that tells a multilayered story which is at once personal as well as of historical significance. Through great sensitivity, honesty and craftsmanship, the film takes us on an immersive journey, celebrates the power and resilience of the human spirit and engages us to reflect on ourselves and the world around us.
Special Jury Mention：Return
Not only the poetic treatment of the film stands out in a sea of mainstream documentary filmmaking, it is also a story well told, which conveys the yearning towards his family and his nostalgia for Taiwan.
Chinese Documentary Awards
Absent without Leave explores a hidden history through a personal lens with great artistry, depth and sensitivity. The filmmaker has a command of cinematic poetry and metaphor that evokes many layers of emotion.
Special Jury Prize：Lost in the Fumes
Lost in the Fumes profiles a vital voice of a new generation to reveal political and human nuances. The film shows how an individual copes and evolves in the maelstrom of current happenings.
Special Jury Mention：Small Talk
Small Talk bravely interrogates an intimate history that ought to foster important conversations. The filmmaker makes sophisticated use of documentary aesthetics in her journey of making peace with the past.
Next Generation Award
Granny Project takes video games and role-playing as the approaches to connect the subjects with the history and to demonstrate the younger generation’s viewpoint on World War II. It is a risky take; yet the film manages to stay true to the reality while starting a conversation between different generations successfully.