2012 CDS Filmmaker Award Goes to “Special Flight”

Image from "Special Flight"

The fifteenth annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, a program of the Center for Documentary Studies, was held April 12–15 in downtown, Durham, North Carolina. The event featured screenings of more than a hundred films from twenty-seven countries; the fifty-seven films in the NEW DOCS program were eligible for this year’s awards—including the Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award—selected by juries and Full Frame audiences at an Awards BBQ on the last day of the festival.


Special Flight – Trailer

The CDS Filmmaker Award is a $7,500 annual prize created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change. This year’s CDS Filmmaker Award went to Special Flight (Vol Spécial), directed by Fernand Melgar, which focuses on the Swiss detention center of Frambois. With xenophobia in Switzerland (and the rest of Europe) at an all-time high, Frambois has become a way station for immigrants whose requests for political asylum have been rejected, despite the fact that some of them have lived in Switzerland for years, paying taxes and raising families. The film tracks the tension and desperation that build as people bide their time—for months, sometimes years—until they are forcibly returned to their native country, a place that is no longer their home.

Special Flight also won Full Frame’s Grand Jury Award. The jury described the impact of director Fernand Melgar’s work: “With incredible access and patient observation, we experience the complex and powerful relationships between the captives and the captors.  An exceptional work of vérité filmmaking, Special Flight forces us to confront the contradictions of humane incarceration.”

For a list of the other Full Frame award winners, click here

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