Sunny Side of the Doc 2021 Unveils Award Winners


The 32nd edition of Sunny Side of the Doc took place online from June 21 to 24, with winners announced for its pitch selections, special prizes and talent hubs and work in progress.

The winner of the best Global Issues Pitch was The Click Trap, produced by Spain’s Polar Star Films and directed by Peter Porta. This is Not a Kanga, produced by Wonder Maria Films in Portugal and directed by João Nuno Pinto and Fernanda Polacow, won the Best Arts & Culture Pitch.

The Best Immersive Experiences Pitch winner was Noire, from Novaya in France and directed by Stéphane Foenkinos and Pierre-Alain Giraud. The Tiger Spirit—The Race to Save Malaysia’s Last Tigers, from Poland’s Clearwing Foundation For Biodiversity and directed by Paolo Volponi, won the Best Wildlife & Conservation Pitch, while the Best Science Pitch winner was Music’s Superpowers, from France’s CPB Films and directed by Jacques Mitsch. The Ultimate Joker, from Poland’s Vision House Productions and directed by Krzysztof Dzieciolowski, was the Best History Pitch winner.

Among the Special Prizes winners was Lady Sapiens, The Experience for Grand Prix PIXII, produced by Little Big Story (France) and co-produced by Ubisoft and France Télévisions (France), and directed by Camille Duvelleroy. The New Voices Award went to Girls’ Stories, from Poland’s Pinot Films and directed by Aga Borzym.

The winner of the Ushuaia Impact Award was Sound of Ice, from Norway’s Oslo Pictures and directed by Tommy Gulliksen. No Mercy—The Female Gaze, produced by Tondowski Films in Germany and directed by Isa Willinger, won the East Doc Market Award. The Meeting Point Vilnius Award was given to The Ultimate Joker, directed by Krzysztof Dzieciolowski and produced by Poland’s Vision House Productions.

Under the umbrella of Talent Hubs & Work in Progress, the Best Talent Hub Central & Eastern Europe winner was Cinema Under Siege, produced by Novi Film (Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovia) and directed by Srđan Šarenac. To Embody, produced by Les Films du Tambour de Soie (France) and directed by Noëlie Giraud, was honored with the Best Talent Hub Women in Doc award. Best Work in Progress: Central & Eastern Europe went to 72 Hours, produced by Playtime Films (Belgium) and directed by Anna Savchenko.

Festival invitations included Waitergate, produced by Poland’s ZK Studio and directed by Konrad Szolajski, heading to Movies That Matter. Animal Nation, produced by Canada’s Rotating Planet Productions and directed by Ari A. Cohen and Jesse Bochner, was invited to Wildscreen Festival; and Our Forest, produced by Lato Sensu Productions (France) and directed by Marc Dozier, Jérôme Bouvier, Quincy Russell, Hamid Sardar-Hafkhami and Mike Magidson, was invited to Jackson Wild.

Roughly 1500 industry professionals from 58 countries (including 380 decision-makers) and 891 companies took part in the 32nd edition of Sunny Side of the Doc. The fifth edition of PiXii Festival was held in La Rochelle.

Mathieu Béjot, director of strategy and development at Sunny Side of the Doc, said: “As the pandemic is receding globally, industry expectations for resuming normal activity are high. The focus for this online edition was on networking—an element much missed by many over the past months. And the figures prove this to have been a success.”

Béjot added: “For many months now, through our central theme, #StorytellingMatters, we have responded to this call to unravel the complexities of our world, to this need to bring together the international documentary community. This was reflected in an eclectic and renewed winners list, a mostly female participation (58.5 percent), and through our pledge to gender equality commitments made for the upcoming Generation Equality Forum.

“We are delighted with PiXii Festival’s success amongst the general public, both at cultural venues across La Rochelle and also via the online video library,” Béjot continued. “This 5th edition has shown great maturity and renewed ambition. But our greatest objective, of course, will be to welcome ‘in real life’ all industry professionals in La Rochelle from 20th to 23rd June 2022.”

The 33rd edition of Sunny Side of the Doc and the 6th edition of PiXii Festival will take place on June 20 to 23 next year.

All 50 sessions of the 2021 edition remain available for catch-up on the event’s digital platform until Wednesday, June 30.