Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: LEMBRI UUDU winner of Unconventional Storytelling Award 2018.

AWARD WINNERS: Cheap Cuts Documentary Film Festival 2018

Cheap Cuts Documentary Film Festival has announced this year’s award winners. Find out who won – and our RADIANT CIRCUS views – of the many outstanding short docs we saw at Hackney Attic and Rio Cinema.

Cheap Cuts 2018 took place over four days at Rio Cinema and Hackney Attic (17 to 20 MAY 2018). Showcasing “the very best of British and international short documentary talent”, the friendly festival run by Vera Hems Anderson & Natalia Garay Ceron thew its doors wide open to “a real mix of creatives, professionals, students and the curious”.

Selected by an international jury, the awards from the UK’s only festival dedicated to short documentary film have been given to:

  • HOLD by Phoebe Cottam [Best British Short Doc]
  • MY AUNT PIKY by Ana Carolina Baquero [Best International Short Doc]
  • 100 WOMEN I KNOW by Phoebe Montague [Emerging Talent Award]
  • LEMBRI UUDU by Eeva Magi [Unconventional Storytelling].

Having a penchant for adventurous moving pictures, RADIANT CIRCUS was delighted to see Eeva Magi’s film LEMBRI UUDU win the award for Unconventional Storytelling. It’s a bold film that uses camera techniques more commonly found in genre fiction to communicate something powerful about the depth of loss and longing in the shifting communities of rural Estonia following independence.

Standout scenes including an old woman caressing the camera’s POV as if to welcome the face of an old friend, a man pouring the same camera a drink and making space at his sparse table, the individual static ‘portraits’ awarded each participant and the final – unexpected – smoke-filled sequence of a community coming together all linger long on the memory. Fact or fiction? That’s surely the point…

We didn’t see all of the other films in this year’s programme, but here’s our pick of the films we were delighted to have met in the darkness:

  • SNACKBAR (IMBISS) by Christoph Eder & Jonas Eisenschmidt: The London premiere of a languid, observational study about how kindness and commerce can meet at the crossroads of humanity.
  • LEMBRI UUDU by Eeva Mägi: Kind of like a black-and-white EVIL DEAD – with a swooping POV steadycam heralding the arrival of lost spirits – but with less stop-motion plasticine and considerably more pathos. [WINNER]
  • HOLY GOD by Vladlena Sandu: Overcoming subtitling snags for its UK premiere, Sandu’s film involves strong, cinematic storytelling in bold swathes of long static shots to tell a profoundly moving story of trauma and its aftermath. [SPECIAL MENTION]
  • LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR by Irene Carter: Manages a difficult balancing act between the contrasting politics of its Leave-voting, Islamophobic subject, Mark, and the Remain-voting, and more hopeful views, of its occasionally on-camera filmmaker. As the this subtle film shows, life is always more complex than these polarised positions would suggest.
  • HOLD by Phoebe Cottam: Proving that holding back can often deliver outstanding results, Cottam’s film slowly reveals the truth  and pain caused by the absence of a loved one. The sometimes fruitless, often uncomfortable, back and forth car journeys shared by mother and daughter, and snatched phone conversations with the far away husband/father – “love you, love you, love, love, love, love, love…” – all hint at the Herculean struggle that threatens to rip everything apart: “I worry that I won’t be able to maintain the vacuum”. [WINNER]

As you can see, we weren’t far off the money… Here’s the full list of all the Award Winners and Special Mentions from this year’s festival.


Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: HOLD.
Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: HOLD.

Winner – HOLD, UK by Phoebe Cottam
Special Mention – LOVE CHILD, UK/Germany by Sonja Madani


Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Award Winners 2018: MY AUNT PIKY.
Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: MY AUNT PIKY.

Winner – MY AUNT PIKY, Ecuador/UK by Ana Carolina Baquero
Special Mention – HOLY GOD, Russia by Vladlena Sandu


Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: 100 WOMEN I KNOW.
Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: 100 WOMEN I KNOW.

Winner – 100 WOMEN I KNOW, UK by Phoebe Montague
Special Mention – NOT JUST A PIECE OF CLOTH, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE by Alaa Alhussan


Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: LEMBRI UUDU.
Cheap Cuts Doc Fest Awards 2018: LEMBRI UUDU.

Winner – LEMBRI UUDU, Estonia by Eeva Magi
Special Mention – BITE, Brazil by Adriana Barbosa & Bruno Mello