It was a Swedish documentary that got the Grand Prix at the Message2Man 2014 festival: Forest of the Dancing Spirits (photo), directed by Linda Västrik (104 min. | 2013 | Sweden, Canada).
I copy-pasted a description of the film from a festival catalogue: In the deep jungle of the Congo, untouched by civilisation, live the Aka, a tribe of pygmies. Linda Västrik lived among the Aka from 2005 to 2012, and captured the fascinating life of this hunter-gatherer tribe. It is a life governed by magical rituals, myths and traditions just as it was centuries ago. Against the background of the personal story of couple Akaya and Kengole, whose greatest desire is to have children of their own, is a depiction of the harmony of human coexistence with the jungle, the source of all life and death. But thanks to the plans of the state forestry company, this coexistence will probably be short-lived.
In the short film category two films shared the award: the documentary Beach Boy by Danish Emil Langballe (28 min. | 2013 | UK, Denmark) and the short fiction Sunny by Barbara Ott (30 min. | 2013 | Germany)
In the national competition the winner was Cardiopolitika by Svetlana Strelnikova (64 mins., 2014). At a press conference in connection with the
MIFF (Moscow International Film Festival) the director said, and I am sure she speaks for many Russian documentarians in her words about the situation for the filmmakers (edited version):
… the film was being shot almost without any financial support. The government of Perm partly provided the project with some money and the Ministry of Culture’s attention was drawn to the film when it was already being finally edited. The film was first released in Europe where, in Svetlana Strelnikova’s opinion, they pay much more attention to such films than in Russia.
The main character of the film is a Perm cardiac surgeon Sergey Sukhanov , an unchallenged authority for many people in his region but Strelnikova had no intention of showing him only from a positive side. “He is not a super hero for me”, – she said. The film shows his work during the election campaign in 2012. This episode of his life had become a part of the film occasionally, the film makers assured. As Svetlana Strelnikova said, one could notice that Sukhanov was changing during the shooting getting involved in political games and becoming more and more irritable.
It was not easy to follow the artistic idea of the film-maker because Sergey Sukhanov is an authoritative independent person who doesn’t have time for special shooting. “There is one staged scene in the film: I asked him to come out to the balcony and start smoking”, explained the film maker. As for the rest, the famous surgeon trusted the process that allowed the film crew to use a camera almost everywhere including the cardiac surgery department and the campaign office. “He said we can film and that means that nobody can disobey, that’s why I felt free to do everything I need”, noted Strelnikova.
For annotations of the films, please go to