‘The Silence of the Ants’ Tops Lau Haizetara Forum Awards at San Sebastian Major Doc Event

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“The Silence of the Ants,” by documentary filmmaker Francisco Montoro, snagged top prizes at the 18th Lau Haizetara Documentary Co-Production Forum, part of the San Sebastián Festival.

The documentary took the Ibaia–Elkargi Award for best project at the pitching session, plus the Distribution and Festival Consultancy Treeline Award and the Fipadoc Biarritz Award.

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Produced by Apnea Films, “The Silence of the Ants” follows a Spanish couple who traveled to the Ukraine in 2015 to find the seven-year-old girl they hosted for temporary foster care.

Federation Spain’s “Carapirú: El Superviviente,” by Aner Etxebarria and Pablo Vidal, took The Ibaia – Bilibin Circular Prize for its environmental values with a title suggesting a combination of “Cast Away” and “Apocalypto” translated to real life in Brazil’s Amazon jungle.

The DocsBarcelona Documentary Festival Award went to “The Little Princess, A Star Is Born,” about Antoine de Saint Exupery. Directed by journalist Vincent Nguyen, it is co-produced by Barcelona’s Barnabe Productions with France’s Les Films D’Ici and backed by Arte France.

The projects selected at this year’s Lau Haizetara edition covered a broad variety of social issues.

“The war in Ukraine, the migratory crises and gender identity are present in many projects,” said Elena Mera, head of international business at Treeline Distribution.

Several social documentaries focused on strong characters. Produced by Incubadora and Small Box,  “Rotacismo,” by Ecuador’s Ricardo Ruales, addresses his inability to pronounce the letter R, known as the Treacher Collins syndrome.

A co-production between Spain’s Blur Films, Icónica and La Termita, helmed by Murcia’s Carlos Saiz, “Lionel” turns on a friend of the director who seeks to reunite with his estranged father.

Lau Haizetara’s 18th edition also showed “more and more women both producing and directing, and more and more social issues of concern,” according to co-ordinator Silvia Hornos.

Organized by Basque producers lobby Ibaia, Lau Haizetara has consolidated forcefully as a meeting point for the international documentary industry. The event raised this year to €5,000 ($5,000) the cash prize for best project at the pitching session.

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