Film by Emmanuel Gras previously won awards at Cannes and Moscow International Documentary Festival
The 22nd COLCOA French Film Festival has wrapped in Los Angeles, with the top documentary prize awarded to Makala, from director Emmanuel Gras.
The film tells the story of a young Congolese man and the brutal physical effort he undertakes to support his family. He exerts himself almost beyond endurance to forge charcoal out of wood for sale at market.
A simple story of one man's labour told with an artistry that leaves an indelible impression.
Makala -- the title is derived from the Swahili word for charcoal -- won best film at Critics Week (Semaine de la Critique) at the Cannes Film Festival last year. It also earned Special Mention in the Golden Eye competition in Cannes for the best documentaries in the festival, essentially finishing second to Faces Places, the film co-directed by Agnès Varda and JR. Gras' film also won the jury prize at the Moscow International Documentary festival and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The COLCOA French Film Festival is presented by the Franco-American Cultural Fund, in collaboration with the Directors Guild of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, The Writers Guild of America West and France’s Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music (SACEM).
Makala is available for viewing on iTunes. See the trailer here:
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.