Awards of the 14th Verzió Festival

The awards of the 14th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival were announced on Sunday night. The Impact Award was given to the film Jackson by the Student Jury, Special Awards went to Mr Gay Syria and The Wait. Urban Cowboys received the Best Student Film Award, while the audience awarded The Trial.

The films of the 14th Verzió competed in three categories between 14-19 November. The winners were announced by the festival director, Oksana Sarkisova, and the Jury members at the closing ceremony held at Toldi Cinema.


The five members of the student jury choose the best of the 14 films in the program. The Impact Award, along with the 1000 euro prize was given to Maisie Crow's JACKSON. The film tells the story of three young women in the American South who have very different opinions about abortion. While focusing on the availability of gynecological care, the film also gives insight into difficult social relations.
Jury statement: “We believe this film has the potential to move individual opinion on a deeply controversial issue. In telling a local story, this film reflects debates on the rights of women everywhere.”

The Student Jury awarded with Special Mention two pictures, along with a 500 euro prize each:

Ayse Toprak's French-German-Turkish coproduction, Mr Gay Syria, a deeply sensitive film about Syrian refugees preparing for the Mr Gay World contest. Jury statement: „This film deserves a special mention for putting the spotlight on a community that is largely unknown, threatened and misunderstood.”

Emil Langballe's The Wait about an Afghan girl and her family as they face the threat of deportation from Denmark. Jury statement: „This film deserves a special mention for reminding us that those who seek asylum are every bit as human as we are.”


The International Jury was comprised of Isabelle Gattiker (producer and festival director), Bojána Papp (director), and Alexandru Solomon (director). They unanimously chose Pawel Ziemilski's URBAN COWBOYS from the 12 contestants of the ZOOM IN student film category. The documentary’s protagonist is Dylan, a reckless and problematic teen from an infamous district in west Dublin with an unusual hobby: he tames wild horses. Dylan, the urban cowboy, becomes attached to a white mare, and names her after his recently deceased mother. The director received a 1000 euro prize.

The Jury described the film as a character-driven Irish western by a Polish filmmaker, that focuses on a gripping and moving story. The filmmaker mastered his film in a firm but gentle way, turning it into a cinematic experience.


The Verzió Film Festival Audience Award was given to Askold Kurov's THE TRIAL — a film about the Kafkaesque trial of the Ukranian filmmaker Oleg Szencov, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Russian regime.
The 1000 euro prize was donated to the European Film Academy’s fund to support Oleg Sentsov and his family.


The 14th Verzió International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival screened 100 films from 44 countries in 5 days, along with many other programs, Q&As, roundtable talks, filmmaking workshops, masterclasses and conferences. Verzió Film Festival introduces its selection of the best human rights documentaries in Pécs between 23-26 November and in Szeged between 23-25 November.