The Danish film co-directed by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner picked up the top DOX:Award and inaugural Politiken-Danish DOX:Award. 

Produced by Final Cut for Real’s Signe Byrge Sørensen and Heidi Elise Christensen and executive produced by Oscar-nominated Joshua Oppenheimer (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence), Songs of Repression follows a small German colony in Chile that was once founded as a sectarian settlement and now operates as a beautiful tourist resort. It explores how the inhabitants have developed different narratives in order to cope with the grim and traumatic past, made up of 45 years of child abuse, collective beatings, slave-like living conditions, and support to Pinochet’s dictatorship.

Both Wagner who grew up in Chile under Pinochet’s military rule and his partner and co-director Hougen-Moraga, raised in exile in Denmark, knew about the small German colony (previously known as ‘Colonia Dignidad’) since their childhood and spent three and a half years filming the colony’s inhabitants. “Our aim with this film is to open up for a discussion about what happens when traumas are not overcome, so they don’t repeat through generations. We believe that it is imperative to expose the roots of such structures in these times where totalitarian regimes are again gaining strength on a global level,” said the directors.

The film was edited by the renowned Nils Pagh Andersen (The Act of Killing, Mogadishu Soldier, Human Flow).

The jury of the CPH:DOX main award consisting of Sundance Institute’s Brenda Coughlin, DOK Leipzig festival director Christoph Terhechte, directors Alexander Nanau and Pernille Rose Grønkjær said in their statement: "The film takes us into a universe of great contrast where victims live side by side with the history and descendants of their oppressors. The film is told with a delicate balance not falling for the easy solution of tabloid over-telling but leaves the subtle narrative to do its thorough job and slowly but surely leaving the audience as repressed as the characters themselves."

Songs of Repression is sold internationally by Autlook Film Sales. Speaking to about the film’s world launch online due to the coronavirus outbreak, producer Signe Byrge Sørensen said: “I think CPH:DOX did a fantastic job, creating the online festival. Of course, it has been strange not to be in the cinema with an audience, but we have had very good press and we have reached more people across Denmark than we otherwise would. I think festivals in the future should all have an online presence as well.”

Other awards given out at CPH:DOX’s virtual film festival are the following:
  • Nordic:Dox Award to Being Eriko by Jannik Splidsboel (Denmark), produced by Sonntag Pictures. The film is an intimate portrait of the Japanese pianist and performance artist Eriko Makimura, fighting to liberate herself from her past. 
  • Special Mention Prize to Själö - Island of Souls by Lotta Petronella (Finland), produced by MADE. 
  • New:Vision Award to South by Morgan Quaintance (UK). 
  • Special Mention to Mother’s Tongue by Wingyee Wu & Lap-See Lam (Sweden) 
  • F:act Award to We Hold the Line by Marc Wiese (Germany). 
  • Special Mention to The Social Dilemma by Jeff Orlowski (US) 
  • Next:Wave Award 2020 to Mayor by David Osit (US). 
  • Special Mention to Sisters with Transistors by Lisa Rovner (UK)

The €15,000 Eurimages Co-Production Development Award for Best Pitch was handed out to Hana Korea by Danish director Frederik Sølberg (Doel). The project produced by Sonntag Pictures follows Hyorin, a newly arrived North Korean refugee, in her transition to becoming an independent woman in South Korea.