"With courageous characters the filmmaker takes us on a poetic journey towards liberation and maybe freedom. The 2017 WATCH DOCS Award goes to a film that trough a strong personal story and cinematic language highlights women’s empowerment and the rights of disabled people in a rapidly changing country. The award goes to "Still Tomorrow" by Jian Fan."
The 2017 WATCH DOCS Award goes to "Still Tomorrow" by Jian Fian, one of the most beautiful documentaries of recent years—a story about Yu Xiuhua, whose short poem “Crossing Half of China to Sleep With You" became a nationwide online sensation almost overnight. Shortly thereafter, this poet from an agricultural province of China, was already a literary star, enthusiastically met by crowds of fans in Beijing. Fame and genuine popularity brought her money that she intends to use in a difficult battle for independence that, thanks to Jian Fan’s film, is fought literally right in front of our eyes. Suffering from cerebral palsy, Yu, was married off by her parents at the age of 19 to spend her life in a relationship devoid of love and desire. Now, without consideration for her reputation or the opinion of her parents and of her husband, she is adamant about getting a divorce.
The Jury of the 17th WATCH DOCS also decided to present another competition film with a Special Mention:
The jury would also like to give a special mention to a filmmaker that with anadmirable determination and strong resilient characters captures thecomplexities of reality. A highly political story of injustice that needs theworld’s attention. The special mention goes to "A Cambodian Spring" by Chris Kelly.
The Special Mention goes to a documentary which is a result of nine years spent in Cambodia by British documentary filmmaker and photographer Chris Kelly. "A Cambodian Spring" not only provides an extraordinary picture of changes in the Cambodian landscape, also the socio-political one, but it is also perhaps the most interesting among recent artistic, "non-activist" documentary portraits of activists. The three main protagonists are Luon Sovath, a Buddhist monk who becomes a video activist and human rights defender despite problems with a religious establishment that values the alliance of throne and the altar; Srey Pov, a mother of three fighting against forced evictions; and her friend, Tep Vanny, who is slowly moving to the forefront of the social protest movement against displacement. Kelly is interested in the political and personal complexity of their fight for what they believe in, a complexity that eventually transforms into drama. Kelly's wonderful cinematography is accompanied by James Holden's music, which helps create a subtle composition of an audiovisual fugue in which the individual themes are woven together in an emotional finale.