jury members:

Ellen Windemuth, WaterBear Network (The Netherlands)

Claudia Bucher, ARTE (France)

Debra Zimmerman, Women Make Movies (United-States)

Lauren Ezell Kinlaw, Frontline | PBS (United-States)


the hungarian playbook

Produced by: Film Five (Germany)

Directed by: Bence Máté

Logline: The Hungarian Playbook follows the heroic struggle of a handful of young journalists against the propaganda machine of prime minister Viktor Orbán, which is becoming a role model across national borders. They are insiders who turned against the system.

Award sponsored by Real Stories and Off The Fence

Prize: 3,000 euros in cash and 2 full passes for the next edition of Sunny Side of the Doc 2021

Jury’s word:

“We found it difficult to choose just one film as we were quite impressed with the breadth and quality of the twelve selected projects. Ultimately, we felt The Hungarian Playbook stood out in its coverage of a timely and urgent story that is not only important in Hungary, but in all of Europe and across the globe”, commented Lauren Ezell Kinlaw. “The project speaks to the threat posed by the rise of far-right movements and autocratic leaders in countries around the world, and the courage of journalists fighting both within and outside the system.”

from cold war to green war

Produced by: Lardux Films (France)

Directed by: Anna Recalde Miranda

Logline: Since 2002 around 2000 environmentalists have been murdered around the world, 70% in Latin America, a natural resource eldorado. What connections can be made between these deaths and Latin America’s political past? I seek the roots of this violence by questioning the OperationCondor, the world’s largest repressive corporation, against thousands of subversives in the 70s. Is green the new red?


driving into the storm

Produced by: Temjin Co.,LTD (Japan)

Directed by: Tenji Takakura

Logline: Today online shopping has become a fixture in the lives of Chinese people. The demand for consumer goods has led to an explosive development of the logistics industry, with 30 million truckers responsible for 80% of the domestic cargo.
This film tells the story of truckers, showing the risks they face and exposing the harsh reality behind the veneer of China’s sudden prosperity.

the comeback of asbestos

Produced by: Memento (France)

Directed by: Thomas Dandois & Alexandre Spalaïkovitch

Logline: Anyone who thinks that the asbestos scandal is a thing of the past is sadly mistaken. In a breathtaking investigation that takes us from Paris to Moscow and from New York to Bonn by way of Africa and Asia, we reveal how this product is constantly
gaining new markets despite its dangers to public health and remains, more than ever, a global threat.

from the shadows

Produced by: Filament Pictures PVT LTD (India)

Directed by: Miriam Chandy Menacherry

Logline: From the Shadows uses the imagery of public art to delve into missing narratives. It follows an artist down a black hole into the thick of the trafficking belt to bring to light personal stories of survivors and their fight for justice. A gruelling court battle questions whether law enforcement agencies instead of protecting victims are part of a network that exploits them?

the tax war

Produced by: Mechanix Film As (Norway)

Directed by: Hege Dehli

Logline: Tax War follows a group of tax justice warriors who are seeking global tax reform. The film features American Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, the French superstar economist, Thomas Piketty, anticorruption activist, Eva Joly, former Green Party
presidential candidate. The heart of the story is also with eminent women leaders from the Global South.

the battle for cobalt

Produced by: Dancing Dog Productions (Belgium)

Directed by: Arnaud Zajtman & Quentin Noirfalisse

Logline: As the world faces global warming, the electric car industry claims to offer a clean ecological alternative. The world of tomorrow therefore relies on a strategic mineral that is key to the car batteries: cobalt. The blue metal is mainly extracted in DRCongo
at a huge environment and human cost. The film investigates this battle waged by the car industry and its effects on the ground.

zero heroes

Produced by: Spanner Films LTD (United-Kingdom)

Directed by: Franny Armstrong

Logline: ZERO HEROES is the world’s first drama-doc sitcom, set in the past, present and future of the climate crisis. Both a scripted comedy led by a female comedian and a current affairs series about the scientists, farmers, politicians, activists and entrepreneurs
battling to save humanity, ZERO HEROES is the brainchild of THE AGE OF STUPID’s writer/director FRANNY ARMSTRONG.

make it look real

Produced by: Staple Fiction Pty LTD (Australia)

Directed by: Kate Blackmore

Logline: An intimacy coordinator – hired to choreograph Hollywood sex scenes keep performers safe on set – aims to change her industry in the wake of the #MeToo movement but begins to question whether she really is able to protect the actors she works with.

mafias in europe: the daphne project

Produced by: Forbidden Films (France)

Directed by: Jules Giraudat

Logline: In 2017, journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car explosion, a few meters from her home in Malta, in the heart of Europe. She was known for her investigative work on mafia networks and the corruption of politicians in Malta. Two years later, new elements are brought to light and shake the Maltese government. But the whole case still must be clarified.

shut the fuck up!

Produced by: East Roads Films (Ukraine/France)

Directed by: Taisiia Kutuzova

Logline: Serhiy, a shy teenager aged 16, investigates corruption and ecological disasters in his little town near Kyiv, until one day he gets assaulted by the local political boss. Three years later, now 19, Serhiy decides to run for office against the same man: to take revenge against those who use violence against civic activists and to show that young people can bring something new in politics.

the death of a bee

Produced by: Artic Light As (Norway)

Directed by: Asgeir Helgestad

Logline: Norwegian nature is iconic, but its captivating beauty hides stories of loss. Photographer Asgeir Helgestad takes us on a mesmerizing journey to experience life-giving bonds and reconnects us with threatened nature. Through a personal narrative
and intimate portraits of freedom-loving reindeer, enigmatic puffins and bustling bees, the film is a call to action for nature and biodiversity loss.

breaking the news

Produced by: Voyage Studios (The Philippines)

Directed by: Asgeir Helgestad

Logline: The Philippines’ biggest newsroom is killed by the government. As owners bargain to save it, a journalist fears what the price may be.

A word from our sponsors


“We are committed to creating and sharing documentaries that bring important issues to light and make positive impacts on the world. In 2020, we published “Road To Roxham”, a film co-commissioned with the CBC, joining refugees and asylum seekers travelling from around the world, through the USA and into Canada, often at great risk. We were also home to the YouTube Originals “Trapped”, which investigates the iniquities of the cash-bail system in America. We believe in the power of addressing urgent problems through human stories that engage a broad audience, create empathy and lead to pressure for policy change.”

Paul Woolf, executive editor, Real Stories

“I believe now, more than ever before, television has the power to inspire us. It allows us to feel deeper and connect to issues that once may have seemed so far removed for our everyday lives. Investigative documentaries that challenge the narrative are becoming even more important in our search to find solutions and create a better world for the future. Audiences are ready and thriving for stories that give us hope and opportunities to act.”

Loren Syer-Willoughby, head of acquisitions, Off the Fence

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