Winners MtMF20

Winners MtMF20 Awards text

We are proud to announce the winners of the Movies that Matter Festival 2020! Unfortunately, this year's festival was cancelled due to measures to control the coronavirus. A selection of the festival films is now available on The juries of the festival programmes ActivistCamera JustitiaDutch Movies Matter and Students' Choice watched all films online. They are delighted that the winning films receive the recognition that they deserve.

Activist Documentary Award: Ximei

Directors Andy Cohen and Gaylen Ross have been awarded the Activist Documentary Award and € 5.000 for their documentary Ximei. The Activist competition is a collaboration with Amnesty International The Netherlands and consists of eight documentaries about the life and work of inspiring human rights defenders. The jury, led by Amnesty International The Netherlands board member Nenita La Rose, praised the film and the activist's work.

From the jury report: "Ximei is a poignant portrait of extraordinary courage and resilience of a woman who champions marginalised and victimised members of society."

Activist Liu Ximei and director Andy Cohen expressed their gratitude for the Award in this video.

Read the full jury report here.

About the film
Intimate portrait of Chinese AIDS activist Liu Ximei, driven by compassion, optimism and an incredible fighting spirit. She is the voice of the many poor farmers who contracted AIDS from blood transfusions in the 1990s. Liu is strong, but can harassment, obstruction and her illness make her give up hope?

Camera Justitia Award: Collective

The Camera Justitia jury, led by human rights activist and filmmaker Kelly Matheson, awarded the Camera Justitia Award to Alexander Nanau, director of Collective. The film La Causa received a Special Mention from the jury. Camera Justitia is a programme with films about legal dilemmas, truth finding and the fight for justice.

From the jury report: "As a jury, we felt Collective embodied what this award represents. Collective exposes Romania’s failing health care system – a system with a mandate to care for its patients, not to kill them. It reveals the partnership between corporate interests and State agents to cover up mass corruption. It emphasises the role free press plays in the fight to secure basic human rights in law, reminding us that “when the press bows down to authorities, the authorities will mistreat the citizens.” It underscores the critical role of whistleblowers and the courage it takes to come forward for the larger good. And finally, it introduces us to visionary human rights defenders embedded in the press, in the health care system and in the government that give us hope and show us that there is a path forward that is rooted in human rights if we choose to take it."

Director Alexander Nanau shared his gratitude for receiving the Award in this video.

Read the complete jury report here.

About the film
Carefully composed, thriller-like documentary about medical scandal and corruption in Romania. A courageous group of journalists refuses to give up, and an idealistic politician tries to tackle the problem at its root. Do they stand a chance in a country suffering from corruption?

Dutch Movies Matter Award: Stop Filming Us

Stop Filming Us by director Joris Postema has received the Dutch Movies Matter Award. The jury, led by Ido Abram (deputy director of the Eye Film Institute), gave a Special Mention to Sidik en de panter. The festival organises the Dutch Movies Matter programme, with the support of copyright organisation VEVAM, in order to stimulate socially committed, domestic films.

From the jury report: "Beautiful images and captivating dialogues have made for a fresh approach to a tricky topic. It is a multi-layered film with fantastic characters whom we get to know intimately in the most genuine way. As audience we are part of the filmmaking process itself. We follow the thought processes of the filmmaker, who is consistently trying not only to self-reflect and to engage in an honest dialogue with the protagonists, but also to make sure that they have agency in telling their stories."

Director Joris Postema shared his gratitude for winning the Award in this video.

Read the full jury report here.

Students' Choice Award: Atlantis

The Students' Choice Award, in collaboration with Leiden University, has been awarded to Valentyn Vasyanovych, for his film Atlantis. The jury was unanimous in its verdict that the film was a cinematic masterpiece, with an important message about the consequences of war.

About the film
Ukraine, 2025: despite its successful outcome, the war against Russia has left the Ukrainian population in a state of wretchedness. Atlantis is pure arthouse cinema. Despite the film’s shocking and explicit footage, director Valentyn Vasyanovych also uses beautifully staged shots to reveal warmth and humanity in a desolate, post-war landscape.