Tonight “Forgetting Dad” won the Jury Grand Prize of the International Competition at GZDOC – the Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival in China. In the glitziest awards ceremony I’ve ever had the pleasure of partaking in, and the only one in an amusement park, I had the great pleasure of receiving the final and most important prize of the evening while television camera swooned about and flashes lit the sky. What a surreal experience to top off my first week in China! (Watch the video here)
The jury’s decision was unanimous. I was particularly touched by their statement, and how the Asian members were so supportive of the film. I guess it really does strike a universal chord. Here’s what they had to say:
“The film captures a private issue which seems to be restricted to a family. Dad lost his memory because of a car accident. The director takes a step-by-step way to tell a story which is closely related to everyone of us. Everyone has the right to choose their lifestyle. Respecting their choice is respecting ourselves. The film is warm and thought-provoking.”
I don’t think anyone has ever referred to the film as warm before, but as the jury members told me afterwards, they were touched by how I steadfastly refuse to denounce my father and how I go against the audience’s expectations by not confronting him on camera in the end. Clearly they didn’t have a problem with the film’s ambivalence and open end.
The entire week here at GZ DOC has been a blur that I’ll have to write more about once I’ve stopped spinning. But for now, thanks again to my family for all their openness in participating in the film, and thanks to my dedicated crew for their amazing artistic contributions and willingness to stick it out so long until we got the film just right.