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Starz Denver International Film Festival awards best docu

The 28th Starz Denver International Film Festival has announced the winner of the Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary. The Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary is presented to a filmmaker who best represents the truth and purity of documentary filmmaking as established by the Maysles Brothers.
Albert Maysles has presented this award at Closing Night festivities.

The jury wishes to recognize the haunting, melancholy beauty of Peter Forgacs' EL PERRO NEGRO: STORIES FROM THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR (Hungary) with its Maysles Brothers Award for Best Documentary Film. The jury salutes the faith the director had in believing he could find an original, memorable way to reveal world history by combining old home movies, poetic recitations and music.

With EL PERRO NEGRO, acclaimed Hungarian filmmaker Péter Forgács (DIFF19 & 21, SDIFF26) has taken another large step in perfecting his unique vision of documentary filmmaking, using fragments of old home movies to draw fascinating dreamlike portraits of the "other side" of history. Here Forgács turns his attention to life in Spain during the turbulent and horrific 1930s just before and during the Spanish Civil War. With words and images, he creates an astonishingly unbiased snapshot of a moment in time when a country and its people were torn apart by fascism, labor unrest and the rise of anarchy.

The jury also wants to give a special citation to the German/Lebanese MASSACRE directed by Monika Borgmann, for its courageous filmmaking, sense of daring and political relevance. It's an uncomfortable film to watch, but demands our attention.

Six men, with their faces hidden from sight, describe their involvement in the 1982 three-day massacre of some 1,000 to 3,000 Palestinian civilians in Beirut's Sabra and Shatila camps. The participating militiamen were said to come from the Forces Libanaises, a Lebanese Christian-based group with strong connections to Israel. Striking in this documentary is the absence of eye-witness photos – visual details of the massacre or its aftermath. The horror and the bloodshed are documented by the firsthand accounts of six perpetrators claiming to have been trained by Israelis to become "human time-bombs."

In the early 1960s, two brothers started a revolution in documentary filmmaking. Albert and his late brother David pioneered the method called direct cinema. Hand-held cameras and lightweight sound equipment made possible an immediacy and spontaneity that led to an entirely new way of making films uniquely suited to non-fiction subjects.

Jurors for The Maysles Brothers Award were documentarian Robb Moss, freelance writer/critic Steve Rosen, and IDA editor Tom White.

The other finalists are:

Directed by Heather Lyn MacDonald (U.S.)
A joyful documentary that profiles five age-defying women, The Silver Belles, an elderly dance troupe made up of veteran Harlem showgirls still performing to delighted audiences. From age 84 to 96, these women will change any preconceptions you have about old age. Their interactions are filled with humor and sparkling with verve and candor. Director Heather Lyn MacDonald affectionately showcases the music, dancing and the laughter and bickering of friendships that have lasted for more than 70 years.

Directed by Renaud Delourme (France)
This lovingly crafted documentary uses the photographs of famed aerial photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand to create an animated fresco composed of three equally important components – image, music and voice. Without laying blame, the film presents the paradox in which the beauty of nature blends with the cruelty of humanity, as the power of nature interacts with the frailty of mankind. The total experience becomes a visceral exploration of the future of our planet.

Directed by Canaan Brumley (U.S.)
With a sharp echo of Frederick Wiseman's 1971 BASIC TRAINING and Stanley Kubric's FULL METAL JACKET, former Navy man and current civilian Army barber Canaan Brumley takes us inside boot camp training at Camp Pendleton, California. Without so much as an introduction, Brumley throws the audience in with a bus load of recruits, plays witness to their haircuts – the shaved heads making it almost impossible to identify any specific recruit – and shadows them through their physical exams. EARS, OPEN. EYEBALLS, CLICK. relies solely on image and sound, shunning the traditional documentary tools narration and interview.

Directed by Roberta Grossman (U.S.)
One of the most important but least-known human rights stories in America today involves the fact that nearly all Indian nations are threatened by environmental hazards. Native American children play near radioactive waste, tribes fish poisoned rivers and reservations are surrounded by factories spewing noxious fumes. This powerful documentary, which is divided into four chapters, takes a hard look at these tragedies through the eyes of some remarkable Native American activists on the cutting edge of these new environmental wars.

Directed by David Zeiger (U.S.)
In a new work by veteran documentarian David Zeiger comes a perspective that has never been told in film – the story of the rebellion of thousands of American soldiers against one of the most controversial wars in American history. SIR! NO SIR! captures the volatile '60s and '70s as never before. The documentary uses both rare archival and recently shot interviews with key figures from the movement, examining a pivotal moment in history through the lens of the common soldiers, who reveal their difficult decision to oppose the Vietnam War.

Director Ang Lee recipient of the Mayor's Lifetime Achievement Award is interviewed from stage after the BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN screening at the Ellie.

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