The Georgian filmmaker Mariam Chachia wins the "Next Masters Competition" at the 59th DOK Leipzig, along with the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation’s Golden Dove, which is endowed with 10,000 Euros. Her film “Listen to the Silence” beat ten other international productions in this competition. Its world premiere was held in Leipzig. Winners of the “Next Masters Competition” receive 10,000 Euros in prize money; this is provided by the Media Foundation and is intended to help fund the award winner’s next project. Stephan Seeger, Managing Director of the Media Foundation and Director of the Sparkasse Leipzig Foundations, congratulated the Georgian filmmaker: “Her production is the perfect example of what a documentary can do: It brings us up close to a remarkable person who has to master the challenges of life in an unlikely place. As we watch the film, the skilful use of cinematic means leaves us empathizing with its protagonist.”
Renowned Russian director and producer Marina Razbezhkina, who was the juror of this year’s “Next Masters Competition”, explained that Mariam Chachia was receiving the honour “for her belief in the fact that a person can change their world from within themselves, even if life is cruel to them.” The Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has supported DOK Leipzig since 2004 by providing prize money for exceptional films by new artists. A brief summary of “Listen to the Silence”: The film takes the viewer to a school for deaf children in Tbilisi, where they also learn to dance. Mariam Chachia focuses mainly on the ups and downs of a boy called Luka, a deaf “Billy Elliot” with the temperament of a hurricane. The viewer experiences the school, its children, their dance lessons, quarrels, a little love story – and all of this is perceived from an unusual perspective, such as when the sounds of life fade into a woolly nothingness in the film just like they do for the children.