Category Documentary 2023



Autor: Hrvatski radio

Prix Marulić 2023

Prix Marulić 2023

Foto: HRT / HRT

Preselected programs in Documentary category

1. Belgium/Babelfish asbl 
Area, a documented uchronia

Original title: Area, une uchronie documentée

Author, producer director: Anne Lepère

Sound engineer: Jeanne Debarsy

Other key staff: Marion Sage (dramaturgy)

Language: French

Length: 53:00

Chimerical appearances in the Galician night. Two mares surprise us. Vivid and fleeting, they leave a trace in us. From this appearance is born the desire to go back to the legend of the wild horses that populate Galicia. This journey can be listened in different orders. It is a twist of time where voices from the 16th century, telepathic visions of the future and rituals between humans and horses ricochet. Among them, we find the practice of farriery or the annual gathering Rapa das bestas during which humans meet wild horses. This audio drama is about the connection between humans and horses and more specifically about a traditional practice that began four centuries ago in Galicia. This heritage is called: Rapa das Bestas (The Shave of the Beasts). We will go back to the myth, the origin of this ritual that involves cutting the manes of the wild horses who live freely at the mountains in a semi-feral state and that are performed in the curros (enclosed which retain the horses) held in various locations in Galicia (Spain). This tradition could be a Pre-Roman practice, given that various petroglyphs have been found in the area in which men are depicted on horseback. This audio piece use fiction and documented tools and attempt to propose a travel into space and time. Indeed the piece is composed of five sequences that took place at different period of time, and can be heard remotely.

2. Canada & France/Neil Sandell
Fate is the Hunter

Author, producer, director, sound engineer: Neil Sandell

Other key staff: Greg Kelly, editor & executive producer

Language: English

Length: 48:42

You’re cruising along in life. Then, out of the blue, you’re blindsided by misfortune. Maybe you’re Ron Rapp, landing your two-seater aircraft at an airport in California. Or maybe you’re a student pilot doing the same thing on another day, at a landing strip in Florida. One moment, all is well. The next, a rogue plane comes out of nowhere and hits you, midair. Two mishaps. Two blameless pilots. Only one survives. How do we make sense of it? Is it luck? Fate? A divine plan? Ernest K. Gann posed the same vexing questions in his celebrated aviation memoir, Fate is the Hunter. Gann was an American airline pilot from 1938 to 1952, a dangerous era in flight. He loved flying. But many times, it nearly cost him his life. In his telling, only good fortune saved him. Drawing on his diaries and flight logs, Gann wrote a gripping account of his narrow escapes. But what makes his memoir endure is his meditation on the mysteries of luck. The documentary begins as a literary feature - an appreciation of author and text. It evolves into a provocative inquiry into the imponderables of life. Is there a guiding hand that shapes our lives? Or is the universe chaotic and random? Popular culture would have us believe that pilots are nearer to God. Gann sees nothing noble or redeeming in their death. First person stories of contemporary airplane accidents sharpen the discussion. Sandell connects the dots back to his own earthbound moment of truth.

3. Croatia/HRT
Egyptian Blues for the Cats of Zadar

Original Title: Egipatski blues zadarskih mačaka

Author, director: Petar Vujačić

Producer: Nikica Klobučar

Sound engineers: Dalibor Piskrec and Marija Pečnik Kvesić

Language: Croatian

Length: 30:28

Radio-documentary „Egyptian Blues of Zadar Cats“ is dedicated – as the title suggests – to the cats of Zadar, and alleged („imaginary“) legend that the first cats arrived into the city during Roman colonization, 1st century B.C. Using the radiophonic palette, the author, using fiction as well as documentary recordings, creates a hybrid form, and leads us throughout this made and imaginary world of quasi-historic documentary reveals some original and living inhabitants of Zadar and their special relations to these interesting and mysterious creatures.

4. Denmark/Nanna Hauge Kristensen
The Heart shaped

Original title: Det hjerteformede

Author, dirctor: Nanna Hauge Kristensen

Producers: Nanna Hauge Kristensen with support from The EGV Foundation

Sound engineer: Simon Brinck

Language: Danish

Length: 49:18

The Heart shaped depicts the life of four elderly people in Uummannaq, north western Greenland. Through the hunting culture and the old traditions tied to it, nature permeate every aspect of their lives. In the midst of this magnificent landscape the names of the deceased are passed on across time and families. An audio ethnographic montage about ageing, loss and belonging.

5. Germany/Deutschlandfunk
I was a Practical Girl - The Ukrainian Diary of my Mother

Original title: Ich war ein praktisches Mädchen - Das ukrainische Tagebuch meiner Mutter

Author: Mark Zak

Producer: Christiane Habermalz

Director: Friederike Wigger

Sound engineer: Andreas Stoffels

Language: German

Length: 49:50

I WAS A PRACTICAL GIRL – The Ukrainian Diary of my Mother For the Jewish Rogosa family, living in the small Southern Ukrainian town Kakhovka, the fateful relationship with Germany began as early as the First World War. German soldiers were quartered in the parents' house in 1918. The parents had such a good relationship with these men that they did not flee from the Nazis in 1941. Their daughter Irina Rogosa, the author's mother, however, entered Berlin in 1945 as a military doctor with the victorious Red Army. In 1974 she emigrated from the Soviet Union to Cologne. She never felt like a victim. She wrote: "Now that I am concluding my life story, I would like to emphasise that I was left completely alone at the age of 22; I lost my father, mother, two brothers, home. But I had my medical profession, which saved my life." A Ukrainian-German search for traces through a life as tragic and eventful as the century itself. The author, Mark Zak, was born 1959 in Ukraine and came to Germany together with his family at the age if 15. In 2002, he recorded a long interview with his mother. When she died, a few years later, he found her diary. On this base he tells the story of the mother as a young woman whose hopes, dreams and ambitions were overtaken by a sudden brutal war - a story that is frighteningly topical today, as tanks are rolling through Kakhovka again.

6. Germany/Deutschlandfunk
Buying a house with history - A Stralsund woman reunites the Jewish Blach family

Original Title: Hauskauf mit Geschichte - Eine Stralsunderin führt die jüdische Familie Blach wieder zusammen

Author(s): Alexa Hennings

Producer(s): Wolfgang Schiller

Director: Anna Panknin

Sound engineer: Oliver Dannert

Language: German

Length: 49:38

Buying a house with history A Stralsund woman reunites the Jewish Blach family When Friederike Fechner and her husband buy the former house of the Jewish merchant family Blach in Stralsund, their descendants are scattered all over the world and have no idea about each other. The musician brings them into contact for the first time. Cellist Friederike Fechner and her husband don't know what to expect when they buy the dilapidated house in the centre of Stralsund. It is not only the lengthy reconstruction of a Hanseatic town house. They also rediscover its history: the history of the Jewish merchant family Blach, who lived in the house until 1938. During her research, Friederike Fechner finds descendants who have lost track of each other. In Amsterdam she meets Gaby Glassman: her mother and stepfather had fled there from Stralsund and survived the war in hiding, her grandparents were deported from Amsterdam and murdered in the concentration camp. Her brother, then eight years old, was betrayed and survived the concentration camp. Inspired by her encounters, Friederike Fechner founded the "Initiative for the Remembrance of Jewish Life in Stralsund". Volunteers are working on a digital memorial book. The aim is to list all the Jewish citizens of the Hanseatic city and their fate.

7. Iran/Khosro Rasouli
Heaven of The Earth

Original title: Behesht-e-Zamin

Author(s): Solaleh Ghobadi-Khosro Rasouli

Producer: Khosro Rasouli

Directors: Khosro Rasouli-Behnam Gholizadeh

Sound engineer: Effat Jamalipour

Other key staff: Azam Jamali (reasearcher&interviewer), Mehraneh Behnahad (narrator), Hossein Moshfegh (songs recordings)

Language: Persian

Length: 24:49

“Heaven of The Earth” is a magic-real story of thousands of years of Shalizar (paddy fields of rice cultivation) in Iran. the occupation of most of the people in the northern regions of Iran is rice cultivation. Rice in Persian means something that is obtained through suffering. It is strange that this tedious work is done by women in our country. The hardworking women of northern Iran have, over the years, willingly or unwillingly, caused the emergence of countless stories, legends, lullabies and songs in Shalizar; so that today, in addition to the economic and social dimensions, Shalizar is the focus of cultural and artistic attention. story of “Heaven of The Earth” is a monologue, narrated by a small green plant of rice in a surreal way but everything is real under the surface.

8. Poland/Free Range Productions
Caught Between, Never Home

Author(s): Bartosz Panek

Producer(s): Bartosz Panek, John Beauchamp (who's also a presenter here)

Director: Steven Rajam

Sound engineers: Bartosz Panek, John Beauchamp

Language: English

Length: 26:30

It is not a secret that music and singing can heal trauma. If Małgorzata didn’t find out some old Jewish and Balkan songs, and didn’t start to perform them, she would feel helplessly wounded, unable to embed her heart and soul within an identity marked not only by the ordeal of war, but also silence. For centuries, Poland was home to millions of Jews in the very heart of Europe. Decades after the horrors of the Holocaust, questions of lost identity and hidden memories have arisen. What is it like if one wants to face them and understand one’s family, their choices and, last but not least, oneself? What is it like not to overcome such dilemmas, to try and deal with them but fail in the process? Małgorzata was born into a mixed, Polish-Jewish family in the late 1980s. She says being a Jew in Poland todays means people think you are neither truly Jewish, nor Polish. She is just one of the thousands of third-generation Jewish people across Central Europe attempting to make sense of an identity that cannot be changed, reversed or erased. However, it can be understood, even if it means facing trauma, transmitted from one generation to the next. Her story shows that war never ends. She draws energy from breathing and music – not even from the words she sings, but more from moods, emotions, and spirits. Notes and melodies that were also transmitted from generation to generation.

9. Serbia/ArtworksAudio
A Story about a House – No. 20, Drinčićeva Street

Original title: Priča o kući - Drinčićeva 20

Authors, producers, directors, sound engineers: Snežana Ristić & Radonja Leposavić

Language: Serbian

Length: 41:30

A Story about a House – No. 20, Drinčićeva Street The house at No. 20, Drinčićeva Street, located in the centre of Belgrade, was built before the Second World War. Today, it houses the premises of the Architects’ Collective and RadioAparat. Who designed and built it, when exactly was that, and who has lived there? What do the pianist Ivana Rakić Ilić and the programmer Rastko Ilić think when they pass through Drinčićeva Street today? They were born and grew up in the house at No. 20, Drinčićeva Street. What are their memories of their childhood spent there, of their father, the TV director Ratko Ilić, a bohemian spirit who used to gather an interesting company around him – from the trumpeter Fejat Sejdić to the poet Ljubomir Ršumović, from the Russian poet Vladimir Vysotsky to the movie director Dušan Makavejev... And what it all looks like to them from today’s perspective. Along with a great many documentary sound recordings, we hear about this from a sister and brother, Ivana Rakić Ilić and Rastko Ilić, as well as the architect Zoran Dmitrović.

10. Spain/Laura Romero Valldecabres
Return to the Nest

Original title: Retorno al Nido

Author, producer, director, sound engineer: Laura Romero Valldecabres

Other key staff: curated by Montserrat Palacios and Llorenç Barber, mastering by David Dorado

Language: Spanish, Valencian and Catalan

Length: 50:30

Return to the Nest is an audio documentary made during the spring of 2022 with recordings of landscapes and bird songs in the region of the Vall d'Albaida (Valencia region, Spain). The piece combines the presence of birdsongs with the oralities of local residents in relation to their struggle for the preservation of the natural landscape. Concepts such as rhythm, melody, harmony, texture and silence are intermingled to assess the extent to which human activity (anthropophony or other non-audible vibrational sources) affects natural environments. ‘Return to the Nest’ reflects on the current conflict of the massive installation of photovoltaic macro-plants in the Valencian Region, which is currently managing more than 300 projects in rural areas. Since 1993, the entity SEO/BirdLife has been defending 'Responsible Renewables' designed to provide maximum benefit to local communities and minimum environmental impact. The piece also pays homage to the patient and passionate profession of ornithology and field recording, specially with Eloïsa Matheu, the first biologist woman who began to record soundscapes in Spain. It often happens that we listen to the songs of birds but we do not manage to see or distinguish them. This is the acousmatic listening of every day. An invitation to pause in listening and return to the ancestral nest. This piece includes some old texts by authors such as Wallace Stevens (Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, 2017).

11. The Netherlands/Prosper de Roos
Zodiac Dad

Original title: Pa Zodiac

Author, producer, director: Prosper de Roos

Sound engineer: Arno Peeters

Other key staff: Jair Stein (commissioning editor)

Language: Dutch

Length: 56:2

While helping his aging and dementing father cleaning up his house, documentary maker Prosper de Roos accidentally finds several documents and a cassette tape with his name on it. The papers are astrological texts and a horoscope his father made of him. The astrological writings consist of hand-drawn diagrams and complicated calculations carefully jotted down with a ballpoint pen. The texts are an astrological deconstructing of Prospers character and being, who was 11 years old at the time. On the cassette tape the voice of his father can be heard consulting an astrologer. Pops doesn't know what to do with his son. Young Prosper doesn't listen, is undisciplined and still wets his bed. The astrologer is not surprised all. The boy has a tricky horoscope. He does not tolerate his own soul, is a brawler and could easily become a terrorist. And all because the child has the same natal-sun as Hitler. It has something to do with karma. The finding of the astrological texts and curious cassette tape is the starting point for a personal quest. What role does the zodiac play in a father-son relationship? How do two worlds collide and find each other? And why did a curious predictions of the future came true? This documentary is an auditory journey that spans over ten years and takes an unexpected turn when the corona pandemic intervenes.

12. UK/Falling Tree Productions Ltd
Lights Out: Call Signs

Author, producer, director: Cicely Fell

Sound engineer: Mike Woolley

Other key staff: Volodymyr Gurtovy (protagonist), Alan Hall (Exec producer)

Language: English

Length: 27:31

“… hauntingly poetic in effect …” (Radio Times) A man, a Mouse and a morse key: the story of a radio amateur in Kyiv as the Russian invasion unfolds. When his wife and two children flee Kyiv to escape the war, Volodymyr Gurtovy (call sign US7IGN) stays behind in their apartment with only his radios and the family hamster, Mouse, for company. Prohibited by martial law from sending messages, he becomes a listener, intercepting conversations of Russian pilots and warning his neighbours to hide in shelters well before the sirens sound. During air raids, he hides behind the thickest wall in his apartment, close to his radios, their flickering amber lights opening a window to another world. A story of sending and receiving signals from within the darkness of the Kyiv blackout. “Truly special … Seek it out.” (Patricia Nicol, The Times)

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