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International Film Festival in Azerbaijan

09 1

The International Film Festival has established in Azerbaijan, since 2017. It is the first and only independent documentary festival, known as “DokuBaku”. For the sixth year in a row, the festival was held on September 21-25, 2022.

This year’s theme was: “Revolution Against Evolution” (Re≈MC2VOLUTiON/OFF), maintaining that nowadays the humanity no longer relies on evolution. More specifically, documentary films was specially selected from all over the word and was presented at DokuBaku festival. The films were made by both aspiring and experienced film directors, whose work has become a high standard in the sector.  At the same time a local competition was held to support local filmmakers and non-fiction production. For the main competition Dokubaku invited all the documentarist to share their ideas on the opposition to revolution and evolution. The jury were composed of well-known filmmakers, in order to evaluate films in three categories: Best Feature Documentary, Best Short documentary and No-main competition. The voting procedure was carried out both virtually and in person, followed by a joint discussion, during which the winners in each category were selected. During the days of the festival the winners of each category were announced. Fifteen judges from different countries arrived in Azerbaijan, including well-known documentarists and representatives of the film and photography industry. It is worth mentioning, that among them was Sergey Dvortsevoy, the winner of the Cannes Film Festival and member of the American Film Academy, the Iranian-French photojournalist Reza Deghati, the winner of several international awards including the UNICEF award and the holder of the National Order of Merit, and finally, the producer Kirstin Barfod, the winner of EMMY and a nominee for award Oscar. The special guest of this year’s festival was the Polish documentary director and screenwriter, the winner of many international festival films awards, Pawel Lozinski. He presented his film “The Balcony”, produced by his wife Agnieszka Mankiewicz. Around 65 documentaries from 33 different countries were selected as part of the festival. Over the 40 percent of those films were directed by women. For the first time in the festival’s history, documentaries for children (DokuKids) were included in the program, while at the same time the “DokuBaku” festival supported Ukrainian directors by screening documentaries from Ukraine (DokuUA). As far as the No-Main competition are concerned, this year it focused on “New Eye”, which is devoted to the search of the renovation in persons’ life after the globally significant events and trends. The main prize of the festival was the “Best Documentary Film of Azerbaijan” and was initiated by the French Institute of Azerbaijan. The winner received plane tickets and a amount of money to cover the costs of accommodation in France and Biarritz, in order to participate in the International Documentary Festival “FIPADOC”, which scheduled on January 2023. Prizes were also awarded to the winners in all categories, as well as a special award for special achievements in cinematography. The films were selected for the No-Main competition were awarded with the “New Eye”.

In conclusion, cinema, as the seventh form of art, is a connecting link between cultures. Film Festivals contribute to the transmission of cultures and it helps to developed strong relations between nations. To be more specific, through the “DokuBaku” festival, local documentaries was presented in front of international jury as well as producers, and Azerbaijan succeeds in promoting its culture with soft power tools, i.e. through cultural diplomacy.

Fotini- Fay Tasi 

Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, https://culture.gov.az/en/common-news/14615 , (τελευταία πρόσβαση 28/11/2022).

DokuBaku International Documentary Film Festival, https://www.dokubaku.az/.

AZERNEWS, “DokuBaku names main prize in “Best Documentary Film of Azerbaijan” category”, https://www.azernews.az/culture/196548.html.

AZERNEWS, “DokuBaku announces international jury”, 

https://www.azernews.az/culture/198482.html.

https://www.azernews.az/culture/199908.html

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