DocuDays 20th Edition 2023 Winners

The 20th Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival has announced its winners. It was a real jubilee and significant event. However, Docudays UA does not end there: you can watch the winning films during the screening days on 9-11 June. Civil Pitch 2.0 films (until the end of June) and recordings of festival discussions will be available at DOCUSPACE. We thank the jury for their work and congratulate the award winners!

DOCU/WORLD is the international competition of feature- and medium-length documentaries which are longer than 30 minutes. It presents creative documentaries that reveal human rights, ethic and social issues with unique artistic vision. 
And the winners are:

The jury of the DOCU/WORLD international competition of feature-length and medium-length films are Elwira Niewiera, Polish-German filmmaker and writer; Eva Kriková, Executive Director of the One World Slovakia International Documentary Film Festival; and Bohdan Zhuk, programer for the Molodist Kyiv International Film Festival and co-founder and director of the SUNNY BUNNY queer film festival.


We Will Not Fade Away / Alisa Kovalenko / Ukraine, France, Poland, United States / 2023 / 100’

Alongside the organizers of this festival edition, our jury was seeking a convincing image of the future. The main award goes to the film that creates space for those who could already be considered lost cases of history and geopolitical circumstances. A film that supports the vision of the next generation and its potential and will to conquer the world through the power of creativity, curiosity, and mutual support.


The Etilaat Roz / Abbas Rezaie / Afghanistan / 2022 / 92’

We have decided to give a special mention to a film that delivers a very direct and universal message: that there is no democratic future for societies without free journalism.

The DOCU/UKRAINE National Competition: 5 films about memory, war and love. 

The winners in the DOCU/UKRAINE competition will be chosen by: Marko Grba Singh, filmmaker and Art Director of the BELDOCS International Documentary Film Festival in Belgrad; Gediminas Andriukaitis, founder and director of Inconvenient Films; and Olena Honcharuk, head of the Dovzhenko Centre Film Museum and winner of the competition for the position of the CEO of Dovzhenko Centre.


20 Days In Mariupol / Mstyslav Chernov / Ukraine / 2023 / 94’

Unprecedented document of the time and evidence of crime. But despite all the captured monstrosity and dehumanization the film leaves the viewer with a sense of forceful determination to keep resisting – because of the professional commitment and public service of the ordinary heroes in front and behind the camera.


Fragile Memory / Igor Ivanko / Ukraine, Slovakia / 2022 / 85’

Film, which gives the physical feeling of memory: how it takes shape, transforms, plays tricks, charmes, evades. 

Moving back and forth between intimate memories and public practices, the author refers to the role of personality dealing with subjective and collective memory.

DOCU/SHORT this year is national competition of short documentaries which are up to 30 minutes long. 

The winners in the DOCU/SHORT competition will be chosen by: Marko Grba Singh, filmmaker and Art Director of the BELDOCS International Documentary Film Festival in Belgrad; Gediminas Andriukaitis, founder and director of Inconvenient Films; and Olena Honcharuk, head of the Dovzhenko Centre Film Museum and winner of the competition for the position of the CEO of Dovzhenko Centre.


Waking up in silence / Mila Zhluktenko, Daniel Asadi Faezi / Germany, Ukraine / 2022 / 17’40’’

There is no need to know the language to understand the film. The film is a bridge between those who left, who escaped from war and those who sheltered them. Many characters are not in the frame, but their presence is very tangible. There is just a shadow of the past in the story, the past is like language — it doesn’t matter, what matters is just ‘here and now’.


Chornobyl 22 / Oleksiy Radynski / Ukraine / 2023 / 

This suspenseful film provides a unique take on the widely covered event which gripped the world’s attention on the first days of Russian invasion in Ukraine. Footage obtained from mobile phones, combined with interviews with witnesses, help us understand how close the world was to a nuclear catastrophe repeating itself. The short format underlines this very possibility, restrained by several resilient, devoted and good-humored people.

The special RIGHTS NOW! prize is an award given to creative documentaries which explore and analyse the modern world and make a significant contribution to the discussion around human dignity, freedom, and equality. Nine films from all festival programmes are nominated for it. 

The winners in the RIGHTS NOW! nomination have been determined by Masi-Mustafa Nayyem, Ukrainian lawyer serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, public figure and human rights advocate; Dagmar Ostřanská, cultural manager and founder of the Sofia DocuMental International Human Rights Film Festival; and Kujtim Çashku, filmmaker, Executive Director of the International Human Rights Film Festival in Albania, and Head of the Assembly of the Albanian Helsinki Union.


Iron Butterflies / Roman Liubyi / Ukraine, Germany / 2023 / 84’

Iron Butterflies shows artistic sharp approaches, with a very rich cinematic language, that invite the audience in an interactive dialogue and réflexion, into a scene of a war crime of 2014 related to the Malaysian Airlines Flight shot down by Russian forces in the east of Ukraine. Beyond that, the film analyzes the importance of the truth to our days of the Ukrainian war by underlying that every war crime wherever and whenever it happens can never be hidden in time, place or space.


The Killing of a Journalist / Matt Sarnecki / Denmark, Czech Republic, USA / 2022 / 100’

Documentary The Killing of a Journalist is about the investigation of the murder of Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancee Martina Kušnírová. It describes in detail the work of fellow journalists who have collected 70 terabytes of data and are dedicated to their analysis and search for the truth. We realize how fragile democracy is not only in today’s Slovakia.

The festival team invites young people jury with an active civic position who are interested in documentary films to join the student jury. This year’s jury consists of future professionals from various fields, including psychology, film studies and journalism, as well as visual art and design. They will choose their favorite work from among the films in the competition programs.


  • Anastasia Nibbe
  • Oleksandra Kalinichenko
  • Maria Chyrva


Fragile Memory / Igor Ivanko / Ukraine, Slovakia / 2022 / 85’

For a deep exploration of memory and the power of cinema, a reflection on the intertwining of the past and present. A poetic and personal story which, like film, is gradually developed in front of the audience.



The Etilaat Roz / Abbas Rezaie / Afghanistan / 2022 / 92’

Through the lens of the frightening daily work of the Etilaat Roz editorial office in Kabul, the audience watches the Taliban takeover of the city unfold in 2021. This brave and honest view from the inside shows a struggle for the freedom of speech while also creating a poignant portrait of journalists dedicated to their work.

The DOCU/WORLD jury also awarded the DOCUDAYS UA team with a Special Mention.

A Silent Story / Anders Skovbjerg Jepsen / Denmark, Sweden / 2023 / 90’

For honesty and fortitude in the face of trauma. Unprecedented story of an adult person’s attempt to process the violence they have experienced, to understand themselves and their relationship with the world. The film breaks the stigma of silence and makes it possible to heal for the sake of the future.

Every year, the festival’s team rewards one film among the competition’s participants. Andriy Matrosov Award has been founded by Docudays UA organizers in the memory of Andriy Matrosov, the Festival’s producer who died in a car accident on 16 February 2010.



Ptitsa / Alina Maksimenko / Poland, Ukraine / 2022 / 31’

A film which, in a brief and sensitive form, transforms separation and saying farewell to the past into the beginning of a new path and an open door to the future.


I Stumble Every Time I Hear From Kyiv / Daryna Mamaisur / Belgium, Ukraine, Portugal, Hungary / 2022 / 17’

For a subtle and expressive film attempt to speak about the unspeakable.

The Audience Award winner was determined based on an audience survey. 


20 Days In Mariupol / Mstyslav Chernov / Ukraine / 2023 / 94’

The 20th anniversary of Docudays UA is held with support from the Embassy of Sweden in Ukraine, the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Cultural Foundation, US Embassy in Ukraine, the Embassy of Ireland in Ukraine, the Embassy of Denmark in Ukraine, the Embassy of Brazil in Ukraine, the Polish Institute in Kyiv and the Czech centre Kyiv. The opinions, conclusions or recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of the governments or organisations of these countries. Responsibility for the content of the publication lies exclusively on the authors and editors of the publication.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3870