and director Jos de Putter
snare Chicago Doc Grand Prix,
including a statuette and $10,000 USD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - APRIL 2, 2003
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, WRITE PROGRAM@CHICAGODOCFESTIVAL.ORG OR CALL 773 486 9612.
This past weekend, THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED (aka DANS, GROZNY DANS aka DANCE, GROZNY, DANCE) and director Jos de Putter picked up the Chicago Doc Grand Prix at the First Chicago International Doc Film Festival. The award includes a statuette and $10,000.
A jury selected THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED from a field of 23 competition films. The jury was composed of Tod Lending (Chicago-based, Academy Award®-nominated documentary director), Andréa Picard (Cinematheque Ontario and the Toronto International Film Festival Group), and Karel Och (documentary programmer at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic).
The first Chicago International Doc Film Festival screened 119 films from over two-dozen countries at five venues over ten days (March 21-30, 2003).
A breathtaking portrait of a civilian population in wartime, THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED presents the current Chechen war through the perspective of a traditional youth dance troupe, its coach, and others in its circle. As they witness bombings and cope with checkpoints and unfamiliar soldiers, the troupe members stubbornly prepare a tour of western Europe. One of the tour's goals is to show that Chechens are just ordinary people. This film, however, reveals people who are anything but ordinary: talented, dedicated, and shockingly professional given both their ages and the conditions surrounding them. Featuring exciting and often thrilling dances, THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED presents a group of people struggling in the most modest and non-confrontational way to declare and maintain their cultural independence.
In his acceptance speech, Jos de Putter dedicated the award to the Chechen people.
THE DAMNED AND THE SACRED has upcoming screenings at the Tribeca Film Festival, the Hot Docs! Festival in Toronto, and elsewhere.
The festival board, with the recommendation of the jury, granted additional awards. Cinematographer Markku Lehmuskallio won the $2,000 cinematography award for his work on MOTHERS OF LIFE. Jose Padilha of BUS 174 and Travis Wilkerson of AN INJURY TO ONE shared, ex aequo, the $2,000 innovation award. The $1,000 audience award was given, ex aequo, to directors Dierdre Lynch for PHOTOS TO SEND and Robb Moss for THE SAME RIVER TWICE.
Says Executive Director Christopher Kamyszew: "We set out to bring a world class documentary festival to Chicago. We succeeded. Next year, we look forward to another successful year, building on what we have learned this year."
The festival featured dozens of international guests, from countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, Japan, Poland, Sweden, the United States, and beyond.
The festival received excellent press. Television and radio coverage appeared on NBC, CNN, WTTW Channel 11, and WBEZ radio. Print coverage appeared in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, THE DAILY SOUTHTOWN, and other area papers. The CHICAGO READER called the festival "ambitious and bountiful," and remarked that the festival forces audiences to reexamine assumptions about the state of cinema.
The Chicago International Doc Film Festival is produced by the Society for Arts, a Chicago-based 501(c)3 organization with a fifteen-year tradition of presenting film and fine art across North America, including the annual Polish Film Festival in America, and ongoing exhibitions at the 1112 Gallery at 1112 North Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago.