The two documentaries were backed by Nordisk Film & TV Fond.

The Swedish film The Deminer directed by Hogir Hirori and Shinwar Kamal was produced by Hirori and Antonio Russo Merenda, in co-production with Ginestra Film and SK Production.

The jury of the IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary said The Deminer is ‘an experiential, universal and global film. It portrays and reflects a part of the world that we rarely encounter in the cinema while capturing the tenacity of a single man confronting impossible odds.’
The film is a nerve-wracking portrait of Kurdish colonel Fakhir who disarmed thousands of bombs and mines only with his courage and a pair of wire-cutters.

Antonio Merenda who won IDFA’s top award in 2015 for Don Juan said about this new accolade: “We are extremely happy for the award and it really means a lot for our film. The extraordinary footage from Colonel Fakhir’s demining mission is such an important treasure that has been disposed in our care and we have done all we can to present it in a shape that will hopefully make it glow for long.” Dogwoof Sales handles world sales outside North America (Cinetic Media).

The Distant Barking of Dogs by Simon Lereng Wilmont was produced by Denmark’s Monica Hellström of Final Cut for Real in co-production with Sweden’s Story AB, Finland Mouka filmi and Bayerischer Rundfunk/Arte. The observational film about 10-year old Oleg who grows up in war-torn Eastern Ukraine is represented internationally by Cinephil.

Two other Nordic films were awarded at IDFA:

  • the Danish film Cosmic Top Secret by Trine Laier won the €5,000 DocLab Award-Digital Storytelling, 
  • The Swedish film As We’re Told by Erik Holmström and Fredrik Wenzel won the €2,500 Special Jury Award for Short Documentary. 

IDFA’s top VPRO Best Feature-Length Documentary award was handed out to Mila Turajlic’s The Other Side of Everything (Serbia, France, Qatar), set within the walls of a sub-divided flat in Belgrade, symbolising the country’s political unrest.

IDFA closes on Sunday when the Audience award will be unveiled. On Thursday the film The Deminer was number 3 in the Audience Top 5.

For the full list of awards check:

Read our interview with The Deminer co-director Hogir Hirori CLICK HERE.