‘No Other Land’ and ‘Forest’ Take Top Honours at Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival

In a celebration of powerful storytelling and impactful cinema, the Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival honoured ‘No Other Land’ with the grand prize in its main competition. This documentary delves into the courageous resistance of Palestinian activists facing forced displacement and settler expansion in the West Bank’s Masafer Yatta community. 

The festival’s jury, featuring esteemed individuals like Variety critic Murtada Elfadl, Anna Hints of ‘Smoke Sauna Sisterhood’, and Lauren Greenfield of ‘The Queen of Versailles’, commended the film for its ability to crystallise grave injustices into a narrative of friendship, resilience, and the pursuit of freedom.

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Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival
Image Courtesy: Cineuropa

The filmmakers, a collaborative effort between Palestinian and Israeli talents including Basel Adra, Hamdan Ballal, Yuval Abraham, and Rachel Szor, were unable to attend the closing ceremony due to political circumstances. However, the ambassador of the Palestinian Authority in Poland graciously accepted the award on their behalf. 

The jury also bestowed two special mentions, recognizing the exceptional quality of the films in competition. ‘Sugarcane,’ directed by Emily Kassie and Julian Brave NoiseCat, received praise for its portrayal of indigenous communities’ often-overlooked voices, while ‘Agent of Happiness,’ directed by Dorottya Zurbó and Arun Bhattarai, was acknowledged for its exploration of the universal quest for happiness.

The Millennium Docs Against Gravity Festival, initiated 21 years ago by Artur Liebhart, goes beyond its 10-day event to amplify the reach of documentary cinema. With an online edition running until the festival has expanded its impact through a distribution arm. 

Last year’s success with ‘Smoke Sauna Sisterhood’ in Polish cinemas was just the beginning, with upcoming releases like ‘A New Kind of Wilderness’ by Silje Evensmo Jacobsen and ‘The Last Expedition’ about renowned mountain climber Wanda Rutkiewicz poised to captivate audiences. 

-Sushmita Sarkar