F:ACT Award: Documentary on fight for democracy in Hong Kong wins

Together with Danish Union of Journalists, IMS sponsored CPH:DOX’s F:ACT Award. The award honours films that operate in the space where investigative journalism and documentary film meet.

“Documentary films can be a tool for change. They can give insights, hold your attention and even influence both audiences and powerholders. In many circumstances, documentarists can access and describe situations otherwise not brought to the public eye,” says IMS director Jesper Højberg.

The 2021 F:ACT Award was given to When a City Rises on the 30th of April. The documentary depicts Hong Kong youths’ fight for democracy and freedom rights. The jury, independent of both IMS and DJ, wrote in their statement:

“If there was one underlying thread connecting all the films nominated for this award, it is courage. In many instances, the filmmakers risked their lives multiple times and over the course of years to expose injustice, oppression and cruelty. As a jury, we were awed by their bravery, their vision and their dedication. […] This film by a directing collective of young people shines a light on the brutality of China’s oppressive policies and actions through the intimate stories of a small group of activists on the frontlines of the democracy movement. […] We hope that our chosen film receives the widespread international attention it deserves and as the best investigative films sometimes can, plays a role in changing the world.”

Rights repressed in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of the gravest examples of repression of freedom of expression in South East Asia. IMS has described the developments and rights repression towards media in the region here.

“Good documentary films have the ability to access certain areas and convey issues which ordinary journalism cannot. IMS supports filmmakers in bringing stories from some of the most challenged parts of the world,” Rasmus Steen, head of IMS documentary film unit explains.  

A part of IMS’ work is to support independent documentaries reach a wider audience. F:ACT Award is part of these effort. Since its establishment in 2013, originally created by CPH:DOX and the Danish Union of Journalists (DUJ), the F:ACT Award has honoured films that operate in the space where investigative journalism and documentary film meet.

“By sponsoring the F:ACT Award, IMS wants to contribute to the acknowledgement of the value and importance of films that unite the best from the journalistic toolbox and the visual power of documentary films,” says Rasmus Steen.