”Vodka Factory” Wins Grand Prix at DOK Leipzig

"Vodka Factory" by Jerzy Śladkowski, a co-production of TVP1, ARTE and SVT got the Golden Dove Prize for the Best Documentary Film at the 53rd DOKLeipzig (October 18 - 24), the one of the most prestigious world festivals of documentary films.

DOK Leipzig - International Festival for Documentary and Animation Film is one of the eldest documentary film festivals in the world and strongly influences international documentary film scene. Along with Jerzy Śladkowski's film, the awards went to, among others, "Steam of Life" by Joonas Berghail and Mika Hotakainen (Finland, Sweden) - Silver Dove and "Goodnight Nobody" by Jacqueline Zund (Switzerland, Germany) - Honorary Mention. The Jury stated that "Vodka Factory" [...] waives a complex and deep story of human condition where hope and despair live together. By using fictional means and yet being documentary, the director handles many characters that gives layer to the film and little by little from a small factory in a Russian city. The film gains space and place and grows into a metaphor of human struggle for happiness and dignity, where the possibility of dream is the only possible way to survive.

"Vodka Factory" presents Wala, a young divorced mother of a young boy, working at a vodka factory in Zygulyovsk, Russia. She lives with her mother and a 17-year-old brother in one apartment. She also dreams of getting out of the provinces to Moscow, where she would be able to start a successful actress career. She attends acting, dance and singing classes, but nobody around understands her aspirations. Her mother - a bus conductor, complains when Wala asks her to take care of the boy as she herself just met a former love of her life after 30 years, and hopes to set her life on a new path.

Wala's colleagues think she is odd and expects too much of life. They don't believe her talents and warn her against Moscow, where she might end up on a street. Wala however makes her own decision not listening to anyone else. She leaves her son so that she would make a career. Her mother refrains then from plans of the new relationship in order to take care of a grandchild... This is an universal, although rooted in very concrete reality, picture of a dissolved social and family ties in a shadow of ever-present vodka from a local factory.

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