‘Dark Suns’, ‘Hale County’ Top RIDM Winners

_Hale County This Morning, This Evening

By Pat Mullen

Julien Elie’s Dark Suns (Soleils noirs) and RaMell Ross’s Hale County This Morning, This Evening were the big winners from this year’s Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM). The films won the grand prizes for Best Canadian Feature and Best International Feature, respectively, at last night’s award ceremony.

Dark Suns is an unsettling account of violence in Mexico while Hale County is an thoughtful essay on race in the southern USA. Elie previously made the films Celui qui savait (2002) and Le dernier repas (2003), while Ross offers his directorial debut with Hale County, which won a special jury prize for creative vision at Sundance earlier this year.

RIDM’s audience award went to Memory is Our Homeland by Jonathan Durand. The Canadian-Polish co-production is a deeply personal film in which Durand explores the untold stories of nearly one million Poles who were sent to forced labour camps in Siberia during World War II, while thousands of others were exiled to Iran and India.

The full list of winners is as follows:

Grand Prize for Best Canadian Feature (presented by Studios Saint-Antoine)
Dark Suns – Julien Elie

Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature
Symphony in Aquamarine – Dan Popa

Grand Prize for Best International Feature (presented by Bell Media)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening – RaMell Ross

Special Jury Prize: International Feature
Extinction (Extinção) – Salomé Lamas

Best New Talent from Québec/Canada (presented by Post-Moderne)
Symphony in Aquamarine – Dan Popa

Best International Short or Medium Length Film
The Disappearance of Goya – Toni Geitani
Special mention: Gulyabani – Gürcan Keltek

Best Canadian Short or Medium Length Film (presented by Télé-Québec)
Zagros – Ariane Lorrain and Shahab Mihandoust

People’s Choice Award (presented by TV5)
Memory is Our Homeland – Jonathan Durand

Magnus Isaacsson Award
And with a Smile, the Revolution – Alexandre Chartrand

Students’ Award presented by Desjardins
20-22 OMEGA – Thierry Loa

Women Inmates’ Award
A Delicate Balance – Christine Chevarie-Lessard

DARK SUNS from Julien Elie on Vimeo.