Juries and prizes 2021

Two international juries, documentary and fiction, will award three awards as part of the FIFDH international competitions. Despite the cancellation of the Festival's public events, the juries will award their prizes on March 13.



Oleg Sentsov - President of the Jury
Filmmaker, scriptwriter, producer (Ukraine)

Known worldwide for his Gaamer, awarded at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 2012, Oleg Sentsov became a symbol of resistance in the face of Russian repression during the annexation of Crimea in 2014. Arrested and found guilty of fomenting "terrorist attacks" by the Russian justice system after a farce of a trial, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison and deported to a Siberian prison. In 2018, he began a hunger strike to demand the release of all Ukrainian political prisoners held in Russia, and started remotely shooting his second feature film, Numbers, presented at the Berlinale. After an intense international campaign of support, he was finally released in September 2019, one year after receiving the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. He is invited to the FIFDH in partnership with the new International Coalition for Filmmakers at Risk (ICFR) .


Lamia Maria Abillama
Photographer (Lebanon-Brazil)

After spending her childhood in Lebanon during the war, Lamia Maria Abillama decided to become a diplomat before devoting herself to photography. By then a graduate of the New York International Center for Photography, 2011 saw her create Ladies, a series of portraits of women from Rio de Janeiro's high society. Presented all over the world, this work was noticed by New York Magazine, Fortune and The New York Times, who commissioned her to take portraits of prominent personalities. Her second opus, 2015’s Clashing Realities, tells the dramatic daily life of Lebanese women in the midst of chaos. Her work is currently being shown in the international exhibition Lebanon Then and Now, Photography from 2006 to 2020, produced by the MEI in Washington, the Beirut Center of Photography and the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris.


Yulia Mahr
Filmmaker, producer (Hungary, United Kingdom)

Born in Budapest, artist-filmmaker Yulia Mahr is the co-artistic director of Studio Richter-Mahr, founded alongside composer Max Richter. After studying political history and visual anthropology in London and Berlin, she worked as a curator on several photographic projects, became a theatre director and directed numerous films shown in some of the most important international film festivals. Yulia Mahr has directed the emblematic films that accompany Max Richter’s key works, as well as producing On the Nature of Daylight with Elisabeth Moss (2010) and the documentary Sleep (2019), which premiered at IDFA and the Sundance Film Festival. She is currently working on Voices, a feature film based on the eponymous musical album Richter released in 2020, and a project she co-conceived, and itself inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Arnaud Robert
Journalist, author, filmmaker (Switzerland)

Born in 1976, Arnaud Robert is a regular contributor to the Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) and Le Temps. He has also contributed to National Geographic, Le Monde and La Repubblica and directed several award-winning documentaries, the last of which, Gangbé!, was selected in official competition at Visions du Réel in 2015. He is currently collaborating with Paolo Woods on Happy Pills, a project which includes a film, a book and an exhibition on the link between medical drugs and the quest for happiness. He is also the author of numerous books including STATE with Paolo Woods, Journal d'un Blanc and 50 Summers of Music on the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 2008, he was one of the creators of the Vodou, un art de vivre, an exhibition conceived for Geneva’s Museum of Ethnography. In 2020, he received the Swiss Press Award for his investigation into the toilet revolution published in Heidi.news and XXI.


Jurys compétition fiction

Danielle Lessovitz, President of the Jury
Filmmaker, scriptwriter (United States)

Born in 1982 and based in Brooklyn, Danielle Lessovitz studied film at Northwestern University and fine arts at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Involved in the design of artistic or video installations both as director and screenwriter, her projects deal mainly with marginalized and "invisibilized" communities in North America. After Mobile Homes, a film by Vladimir de Fontenay screened at the Cannes film festival in 2017 for which she co-wrote the script, she returned to the Croisette in 2019 to present her first feature film, Port Authority, with Martin Scorsese at the producer’s helm. A powerful film, Port Authority established her as one of the first independent women filmmakers from the United States to be invited to the official selection at Cannes and announced the arrival of a first-rate director.


Santiago Amigorena
Writer, scriptwriter, filmmaker (Argentina-France)

"Fighting the silence that has suffocated me since birth". Santiago Amigorena was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 into a family of psychoanalysts. In 1973, they went into exile in Paris. Amigorena found success as the screenwriter for Cédric Klapisch's Péril jeune (1994). Thirty other screenplays followed, notably for Laurence Ferreira Barbosa, Brigitte Roüan, Jean-Pierre Limosin and Jonathan Nossiter. He also directed several short and feature films, including Quelques jours en septembre, with Juliette Binoche, in 2006. Since the release of his first novel A Laconic Childhood in 1998, Santiago Amigorena has also been building a vast autobiographical literary project. His latest opus, The Inner Ghetto (2019), a powerful meditation on his grandfather Vicente Rosenberg's exile in Argentina, has proved a great international success. Translated into some fifteen languages, it is currently being adapted for the silver screen.  


Laïla Marrakchi
Filmmaker, scriptwriter (Morocco-France)

Born in 1975, Laïla was 29 when she directed her first feature film Marock, a bittersweet tale about the bourgeois youth of Casablanca, about the love between a Muslim teenager and a Jewish boy. Selected in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005, the film aroused strong controversy when it was released in Morocco. In 2017, she directed the documentary Zwaj el wakt, which tackles love in a country that prohibits all sexual relations outside of marriage. She also directed several episodes of the television series Le Bureau des Légendes and is currently working on her third feature film, The Taste of Strawberries, which is devoted to the journey of Moroccan seasonal women farmers on Spanish farms, and the series Casa Girls about the sexuality of Casablanca’s young adults.


Philippe Cottier
Lawyer (Switzerland)

Philippe Cottier is a Swiss lawyer and vice-bâtonnier of the Ordre des Avocats de Genève. Member of the Board of the Hélène and Victor Barbour Foundation since 1995 and Secretary of the Board of the Foundation since 2005, he represents the Foundation in its various cultural activities. He has always taken a particular interest in cinema and his participation in the Jury of the Barbour Prize for the 2020 edition of the FIFDH is a natural continuation of his work.


FIFDH Awards

Awards Creative Documentary Competition

Grand Geneva Award

10’000 CHF
Offered by the City and Canton of Geneva • Awarded by the International Documentary Jury


Gilda Vieira De Mello Award, as a tribute to her son Sergio Vieira De Mello

5’000 CHF Offered by the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation • Awarded by the International Documentary Jury


Youth Jury Award

1000 CHF Offered by the Peace Brigades International (PBI)


Awards Fiction Competition

Fiction Grand Award

10’000 CHF
Offered by the Hélène et Victor Barbour Foundation. Awarded by the International Fiction Jury.


Youth Jury Award

1000 CHF
Offered by the Eduki Foundation


Competition Grand reportage

The World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) Award

5’000 CHF
Offered by the world Organization against Torture (OMCT) to a director whose film demonstrates his or her commitment to the human rights’ cause to help in the writing of his or her next film project • Awarded by the OMCT Jury


All the competitions

Public Award

5'000 CHF
On the occasion of its 2021 edition, the FIFDH is organising for the first time a Public Award. After having watched online a film of the Festival, you will receive by e-mail a form allowing you to give a mark to the film you have just seen. The film from the official selection with the highest rating at the end of the Festival will be awarded the Prize.


Special juries

Awarded by a jury composed of detainees of the Prison de la Brenaz, Champ-Dollon and La Clairière as well as of patients of HUG's Hôpital de jour. The award goes to three French and/or Swiss productions.