The FIFDH unveils its 2021 awards list

Discover the award-winning films of the 19th edition of the Festival!



The prize list in video

Find the full awards below, and here in a video awards including messages from the award-winning filmmakers:




The International Jury of the Creative Documentary Competition was presided by Oleg Sentsov, Lamia Maria Abillama, Yulia Mahr and Arnaud Robert.

Grand Prize of Geneva

CHF 10'000 - Offered by the City and State of Geneva

Shadow Game by Eefje Blankevoort et d’Els Van Driel

« An amazing and haunting film, Shadow Games deals with a crucial issue in modern time: young migrants alone on their road, trying to cross boundaries and as they say: “playing their game”. With the use of videos and social media material produced by the teenagers themselves, it has innovative filmmaking and it is pushing cinematic boundaries in many ways. »



Gilda Vieira de Mello Prize in tribute to her son Sergio Vieira de Mello

CHF 5'000 - Offered by the Barbara Hendricks Foundation for Peace and Reconciliation

Downstream to Kinshasa by Dieudo Hamadi

« We have chosen "En route pour le milliard" for its powerful and brave character-orientated filmmaking, about reparations for forgotten communities who endured atrocities (the Six-Day War in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2000). This film is haunting and shows such a rage of the protagonists seeking justice and reparations. »



Special Mention to "Once Upon a Time in Venezuela"
By Anabel Rodríguez Ríos

« "Once Upon a Time in Venezuela" is a beautiful film and a crafted study of the disintegration of a small town in Venezuela, Congo Mirador, due to environmental problems and facing indifference of the politicians. The filmmaking is fabulous as Anabel Rodríguez Ríos approaches the protagonists in a very crude and yet subtle way, showing brilliantly the inextricable relation between industrial pollution, political and electoral constraints as well as citizens welfare. No doubt the message of the film will cross borders and appeal to everyone. »



Youth Jury Prize

CHF 1000 - Offered by Peace Brigades International (PBI)

The Youth Jury of the Creative Documentary Competition was composed of Selma Bentaleb, Rémi Collin, Midha Husain, Lucy Jan, Sabrina Pichard, Vukasin Rafailovic and Priscilla Rey.

Shadow Game by Eefje Blankevoort et d’Els Van Driel

« The eight documentaries we have had the opportunity to watch bring to light people who too often remain in the shadows, whose voices are not heard. The movie we have chosen to award does that particularly well. This film spoke to us on a deep level, because it created an intimate bond between the viewer and the young migrants it portrays. We find ourselves immersed into the Game they are playing, as we can draw clear parallels between their lives and ours. This illustrates that youth is a universal experience. However, in this film, the differences are at an even higher stake than the similarities: these young people have to be incredibly persevering to win, whereas our victory is guaranteed. These stories take place in Europe. This movie brings to our attention we need not look far to find human rights’ violations. This confrontation makes it necessary to take greater responsibility at the sight of this injustice and to abandon the often-stereotypical image of migrants.

For all those reasons, the jury would like to reward the documentary "Shadow Game" by Eefje Blankevoort and Els van Driel. It is deeply humane and greatly contributes to the dialogue needed to solve the rising tensions and injustices linked to immigration. Thus, it is not only a great documentary, but also a movie everyone should watch. »



Fiction Competition

The International Fiction and Human Rights Jury was presided by Danielle Lessovitz, with Santiago Amigorena, Laïla Marrakchi and Philippe Cottier.

Grand Prize Fiction and Human Rights

CHF 10’000 - Offered by the Hélène and Victor Barbour Foundation

Veins of the World by Byambasuren Davaa

« Through its simple, yet sweeping depiction of a nomadic Mongolian boy and his family, Byambasuren Davaa’s "Veins of the World" achieves the remarkable. Its delicate layering of social and cinematic elements - landscapes that are at once human, natural, traditional and modern, lead us to a singular, unexpected, moment of transcendence. This is a film which points beyond itself, towards a formless totality, a shared human experience often forgotten and instantly remembered where the beauty and pain of a profoundly essential human longing is unearthed and laid bare. »



Special Mention to "Should the Wind Drop"
by Nora Martirosyan

« "Should the Wind Drop" is an important film, especially in the current context where borders are moving and closing and where it is difficult to travel. Director Nora Martirosyan immerses us in the incredible and sensitive history of this Caucasian country, in which the opening of the airport is a major issue for its recognition. All the characters who gravitate around this place are touching, on the edge, such as the character of Grégoire Colin who takes us into this world through his eyes. The staging is accurate and sensitive. »



Youth Jury Prize

CHF 1’000 - Offered by the Eduki Foundation

The Youth Jury for the Fiction Competition was composed of Zoia Atkinson, Laura Blanco Hoyos, Liam Fouchault, Severina Kraljevic, Natalia Vonlanthen and Philip Walker-Arthur.

Veins of the World by Byambasuren Davaa

« This film was a unanimous favorite. We were won over by the very endearing and touching protagonists. The beauty of the shots and the virtuosity of their arrangement plunged us into total immersion, giving us the impression of being part of the scenes and the plot. The slow, contemplative pace, coupled with the wide shots of the Mongolian countryside and their dreamlike, remarkably clean photography, greatly enhanced the sense of immersion. The use of shadows leaves room for suggestion and creates an unreal climate that allows us to access the psyche of the characters. Moreover, the themes of the forced displacement of nomads, water pollution, gold mining and child labour are issues that the film brings to light and that we find dark and extremely important at the present time. The parallels between the song sung by Amra's character (to which the film's title refers) and the struggle of Amra and his community are also linked in very relevant ways.

This film has approached them with great finesse, revealing the issues in a sensitive, intense and profound way, highlighting the importance of the voice and the cultural traditions of these nomadic peoples. It is therefore both touching and culturally enriching. The persistence of the characters in this unfair struggle is very inspiring and poetic. For all these reasons, this film is very deserving of the Youth Jury Prize. »



Grand Reportage Competition

Prize of OMCT

CHF 5'000 - Offered by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Coded Bias by Shalini Kantayya

« The jury at the World Organisation Against Torture awards its 2021 prize to Coded Bias, by Shalini Kantayya. The film powerfully depicts the threats that artificial intelligence poses to our liberties, including by hardwiring into algorithms racist and sexist biases. Yet Kantayya also leaves us with hope by showing that determined action can ensure that our future is better than our dystopian present. »



Public Award

CHF 5'000 - Offered by the FIFDH 

Dear Future Children by Franz Böhm

In the months leading up to the pandemic, 50 countries saw civil movements protesting against corruption, with high school students everywhere on strike for the climate. Twenty-year-old Franz Böhm traveled to Hong Kong, Uganda and Chile to portray three young activists who have committed themselves entirely to fighting for the environment, for democracy and against corruption.



Impact Day Award

Professional programme of the FIFDH, prize of 15'000 EUR in benefits by the company Think Film (U.K.)

72 Hours
by Anna Savchenko, produced by Isabel de la Serna

This intimate film depicts the story of a mother, whose life has been incomplete since her son was unjustly accused, sentenced to death and executed within a year. By sharing her story, she goes from being a grieving mother to a symbol of the fight against the death penalty in Belarus.

> Learn more about the FIFDH Impact Day


Special Jury

HUG - Artopie Jury Prize

Artopie Prize - An HUG-Children Action Project, with the support of the Harcourt Foundation

Petite fille by Sébastien Lifshitz

« We, the jury of the Artopie programme, award the prize for best film to Petite fille, by Sébastien Lifshitz. The subject of the film highlights the suffering and difficulties that transgender people face in having their identity recognised. It is with many tears and emotions that this film went through us. The information it conveys is essential for everyone to be aware of the complexity of the road to acceptance. We thank Sacha and his family for their courage and their fight. » 

> Learn more about the FIFDH's cultural actions