The jury states:
“In a time where the media leaves societal issues behind after long ages of war documenting the repercussion of conflict this film stands out for its vivid realism, unflinching focus on the fraught reality of a very human story. A story that ultimately we are all collectively responsible for.
In Kabul, full of scars and disappointment, we meet a true hero who tries to catch the faded hope in the eyes of thousands of opium addicts living under a bridge. They rather take drugs than eat bread and the price is almost the same, but the consequences unbearable. But Layla Haidary has a mission and she fights every day to save lives without any support from a corrupt government. Breaking rules and social norms of a woman’s place in Afghanistan, Laila remains resilient and brave.
Meanwhile, the two directors remain persistent and engaged, carrying the flow of the film with honesty and agility, turning their investigation into an ethical mission despite the danger and risks they undertake to fulfill it. Juxtaposing their hero with a horrid environment and a countless number of people and issues aiming at portraying her as a true archetype, entangled in the world’s tragedy but never shying away from her near constant hope to change her world and the world. The award goes to: ‘Laila at the Bridge’ by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei.”
The F:ACT Award jury consisted of Talal Derki, Filmmaker (Syria/Germany), Sawsan Darwaza, Filmmaker and Festival Director (Jordan), Christopher Quinn, Filmmaker, (United States), Finlay Pretsell, Filmmaker (United Kingdom), and Minna Grooss, Filmmaker, writer and journalist, (Denmark).
The F:ACT Award is dedicated to auteur filmmaking in the field between research-based, investigative journalism, activism and documentary cinema.