December 7, 2023

Armenian animation Aurora’s Sunrise has taken home the Grand Prize at the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) in Geneva after 10 days of documentary and fiction film screenings.

The production follows the true story of Aurora Mardiganian, a 14-year-old girl who survived the Armenian genocide and journeyed from Turkey to the US before becoming a Hollywood sensation. 

It was the first animated film of its kind to be made in Armenia and was recognised by the Academy Awards earlier this month in the International Feature Film section, becoming just the second animated documentary film to be nominated in that category after Danish production Flee in 2022.

Director Inna Sahakyan, who was unable to travel to Switzerland, was represented instead by an Armenian delegation to the United Nations.

The Oscar nominee also secured the top Jury Award for best documentary at the MiradasDoc Festival in Spain on 4 February.

Colette et Justin, directed by Franco-Congolese filmmaker Alain Kassanda went on to secure the Gilda Viera de Mello Prize at the FIFDH. It tells the story of an elderly couple and their experience of colonisation in the Belgian Congo.

“One of the reasons I made this film was I also wanted to re-approach the narrative. This story is not passed on in my family, but more generally, Afro-descendants do not necessarily know the history of their parent’s country of origin,” Kassandra told Euronews Culture.

“Who holds this memory? And how do we re-appropriate these archives to tell a story from our own point of view?” he added.

For more on this report click on the video above.


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