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Magnolia awards honor touching documentaries

The much-coveted Magnolia International Documentary Awards were handed out to winning Chinese and foreign filmmakers yesterday.

The Best Documentary (60 minutes and up) award went to Israeli director Yael Hersonski's "A Film Unfinished." Her film seeks the truth behind one of the most mysterious Nazi propaganda films ever shot inside the Warsaw Ghetto. It touched the jury panel for its respect for history and life.

The Best Documentary (less than 60 minutes) award was given to another Israeli film "Life in Stills" by Tamar Tal. It portrays a relationship, full of love, humor and courage, between a 96-year-old woman and her grandson.

Chinese directors Li Lintao and Zhang Xiaoying took the Best Chinese Documentary award for their film "The Surging River" which explores human migration, burial customs and ethnic lifestyle in the deserts of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in northwest China. Although many documentaries on archaeological subjects are dry, this film is vivid and captivating, the jury said.

"It is difficult and time-consuming to make a good documentary," said director Li. "Receiving this award is important for us because it proves that our hard work has really paid off."
Zhu Yu, a 25-year-old Chinese director, received the Best Director award for his "Cloudy Mountain," a true record of lives of people who suffered environmental deterioration in western China. The film's cameraman Liu Zhifeng also garnered the Best Photography award.

Martin Gerner's "Generation Kunduz" which tells the story of five young Afghans in the city of Kunduz during the Afghan War won the Jury's Grand Prix. The film provides insight into the lives of ordinary Afghan people and conveys a strong message for peace.


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