Jean-Gabriel Périot to receive Marek Nowicki Prize

It is our great pleasure to announce that this year's laureate of the Marek Nowicki Prize will be Jean-Gabriel Périot - French experimental filmmaker whose films have been presented at WATCH DOCS for 15 years. 

The Marek Nowicki Prize is awarded by the Board of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights for outstanding achievements in portraying human rights in film. 

Jean-Gabriel Périot digs through hours of archival footage to create unique film collages. Sensitivity, philosophical insight, and an editor's perceptive eye ensure that his film installations are always a compelling story about history, the present, politics, and society. Periot's films uniquely combine a commitment to traditional film stock with an avant-garde approach to form. Periot has developed his own editing style and, as he emphasizes in interviews, it is the editing that determines the final overtone of the stories he tells. 

During the 21st WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film, we will present a retrospective of Périot's work, including his latest film "Returning to Reims," which premiered at this year's Cannes Film Festival. It is a portrait of the French working class from the 1950s to the present, edited from classic films and archival footage. The film is loosely based on the acclaimed book by French philosopher and sociologist Didier Eribon, whose ideas were filtered through the director's personal and political experiences. For the first time in his work, Periot uses a voiceover, or rather a female voiceover - the famous French actress of the young generation Adèle Haenel.

Another title by Jean-Gabriel Périot, which will be screened at the festival, is "German Youth," a story, told through fascinating, stylish archival footage, of the radicalization of German youth in the 1970s, which resulted in terrorist attacks by the Red Army Faction. The third feature film by the filmmaker, which we will present as part of the retrospective, is "Our Defeats" - an experimental attempt to check if the ideals of the French left in the 60s and 70s (as well as the avant-garde film art of those times) still have any meaning for today's youth. In addition, we will show 8 short experimental documentaries - forms that became Périot's trademark and brought him fame in the world of avant-garde filmmaking.     

Jean-Gabriel Périot will be a guest of the 21st WATCH DOCS. Human Rights in Film - he will personally receive the Marek Nowicki Prize and will meet with the festival viewers.