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4 documentaries win awards at Shanghai TV Festival

BULGARIAN director Sophia Tzavella won a MIDA award for Best Social Documentary today for her film "Paradise Hotel," which depicts life in a neighborhood on the outskirts on a provincial town in Bulgaria. It's a tale about integration, love, misery and a Gypsy wedding.

MIDA or Magnolia International Documentary Awards are given in four competitive categories: Social Documentary, History and Biography Documentary, Nature Documentary, and Asian Documentary.

"Documentary film has a long history in Bulgaria. The country has won many awards in international competitions," said a representative from the Bulgarian Consulate in Shanghai. "This helps Bulgaria to promote cultural exchange with other countries."

German director Sebastian Dehnhardt's film, "The Chancellor Who Fell to His Knees, The Two Lives of Willy Brandt," earned the Best History and Biography Documentary award. It portrayed the former German Chancellor Willy Brandt from his childhood to his life as a politician.

South Korean director Jang Kyung Soo's "Last Tundra – Inheritors of Tundra" grabbed the Best Nature Documentary award. The 4-part documentary zoomed in on human existence in tundra, one of the world's most inhospitable environments. The film also let the audience in modern cities to rethink their values and ways to save the earth.

"The year in tundra was a memorable experience, because in that world, there's no money, no electricity, and no communication, even no toilet," Soo said. "Today, I'd like to thank the people in tundra with this award."

Israeli director Heymann picked up he Best Asian Documentary award with "Lone Samaritan," a film that tells the touching story of Sophie Tzedaka and her father's journey after they were excommunicated from Samarita due to religious beliefs.

"I want to send my big big love to the characters in my film," Heymann said at the Award and Closing Ceremony of Shanghai TV Festival today.


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