'For Sama' Wins Grand Prize at Traverse City Film Festival; 'Slay the Dragon,' 'American Factory,' and More Claim Doc Awards
One Child Nation, St. Louis Superman, 16 Shots and Martin Scorsese's Rolling Thunder Revue join winner's circle
For Sama, the gripping documentary about a young Syrian couple raising their baby daughter in the midst of the siege of Aleppo, has won the top award at the 15th Traverse City Film Festival.
The film by Waad al-Kataeb and Edward Watts earned the festival's Grand Prize at an outdoor ceremony Saturday night emceed by TFCC founder, president and programmer Michael Moore.
This is the latest honor for the documentary, which premiered in March at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. It won Best Documentary Feature there as well as the Audience Award for Documentary, and went on to claim the top prize for documentary at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Al-Kateab and Watts appeared at the Traverse City Film Festival in support of their film, which screened here on Thursday and Friday.
TFCC's award for Best US Nonfiction Film went to Slay the Dragon, directed by Chris Durrance and Barak Goodman, a documentary focusing on "the corrupt practice of gerrymandering... and the fight for fair elections in America."
Best Foreign Nonfiction Film went to One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang. The documentary about the Chinese government's cruel enforcement of its official one child policy - which the filmmakers say included forced abortions and killing of live babies - previously won top documentary awards at Sundance and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.