TRUE VISION AWARD
The True Vision Award is the only award given by the festival. With the True Vision Award, we celebrate a director’s (or directing team’s) dedication to the advancement of nonfiction filmmaking. Each year, the award is cast in bronze by mid-Missouri sculptor Larry Young.
2018 AWARD RECIPIENT: DIEUDO HAMADI
Dieudo Hamadi’s films capture situations so absurdly bleak that your gut response might be to let out a few uncomfortable, pitch-black chuckles. His debut, “Ladies in Waiting” (2009, co-directed with Divita Wa Lusala), observes young mothers who are trapped in a Kinshasa maternity ward, unable to leave until they settle their debts, which increase with each passing day. In National Diploma (2014), young Kisangani scholars, desperate to pass a high-stakes exam, head to church for pen blessings and exorcisms. Mama Colonel (2017) finds a tenacious police officer begging aloof crowds for anything — a banana, a piece of coal — for neglected rape victims.
In all his work, Hamadi observes how humans respond to systems that are rigged against them, particularly when they decide to face them together. He is perpetually attentive to group dynamics and to the extraordinary energy of communal spaces. Invariably, his camera will land in a heated crowd and study the electric debate that unfolds, a dizzying mix of agendas at play. His films thrum with chaotic energy.
At 34, Hamadi is the youngest director to receive the recognition. His unflinching observational camera draws from documentary tradition, but his editing techniques point towards the future. He thrusts us into the world of many conflicting realities, where valiant humans find themselves literally pleading to an uncaring market. Hamadi refuses to flatten those realities. He vividly and persistently captures the confusion, submerging us in it, but by sticking alongside the righteous to the bitter end, his art dignifies truth
Hamadi attends True/False 2018 with his new film, Kinshasa Makambo. This tense, perceptive documentary unfolds in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where courageous young revolutionaries rally to rescue their beloved country from the autocratic grip of President Joseph Kabila. Hamadi trains his camera on three young men — Jean-Marie, Christian and Ben — as they put their bodies and psyches on the line to bring free elections. The activists, thrust into spirited meetings and intense street protests, navigate questions familiar to resistance movements worldwide: whether or not to lock arms with the leading opposition party, to what degree violence has a place in their protest, and whom to trust. Hamadi, a sharp-eyed cinematographer, breaks free of narrative convention, crafting a knotty, dynamic chronicle keenly attuned to the textures of their struggle.
THE TRUE VISION AWARD IS SPONSORED BY DR. TIMOTHY McGARITY OF RESTORATION EYE CARE