The Hermit of Treig | Lizzie Mackenzie (Second Prize)
Nyandeng | Akuol de Mabior
As South Sudan hangs in the balance of a tenuous peace agreement, Akuol’s mother, Nyandeng prepares to become one of the country’s five vice-presidents. Her mission is to safeguard her late husband, John Garang’s vision for South Sudan’s people, their country, and their family.
Director: Akuol de Mabior is a South Sudanese filmmaker who aims to create stories for the screen that facilitate African imaginations and encourage us to think differently about ourselves and our futures.
Judge Gary Kam said: “A daughter portrays her mother’s fight, as one of the vice presidents of South Sudan, to build the foundation of peace and prosperity in the post-civil war nation. With unprecedented access to the protagonist, Nyandeng provides an intimate insight into a politician’s love, hope and fear as a mother and politician who tries to complete the political legacy of her late husband.”
When Akuol heard she was a finalist she responded: “I’m laughing, crying, grateful, humbled, energised and can’t stop smiling.”
What causes a person to consider stepping away from society, to lead a life of isolation, far from the modern world? This is a tender and intimate film about an elderly hermit in the Highlands of Scotland who opens his life to director Lizzie MacKenzie, whilst he comes to terms with his increasingly frail body and questions whether he will be able to live out his last years in the wilderness he calls home.
Director: Lizzie MacKenzie is a self-shooting director who focuses on characters at the edge of society, who remind us of our place within the natural world.
Judge Oli Harbottle said: “At a time when we are all experiencing living in self-isolation, this is an irresistible look at someone who has chosen that very lifestyle for the past thirty years out of choice rather than necessity. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, the fact the director has spent seven years to win the trust of the film’s subject allows for what promises to be a truly tender and intimate portrait of someone living far away from the hectic nature of modern life.”
When Lizzie heard she was a finalist she responded: “Can’t wait to tell Ken… I’ll have to send a pigeon!”