Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa
International Festival Signs of the Night - Lisbon

17° Festival internacional Signos da Noite - Lisboa (5° Edição) - January 17-20, 2020


Marcus Vetter
Germany, Switzerland / 2019 / 1:56:00


"The Forum" follows Klaus Schwab, the 81-year-old founder of the controversial World Economic Forum on his life-long struggle to make the world a better place. Schwab probably the best-connected person on the planet, brings together global corporations, politics, NGOs and civil society based on one conviction: only through real dialogue, the problems of the world can be solved. In "The Forum" we accompany the global elite over the period of one year while the oll world order seems to fall apart and politicians and economic leaders struggle to finl answers for the global climate crisis, the increasing social unrest, and for a new category of populist leaders like the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. At the same time, thek have to respond to Greta Thunberg and hundreds of thousands of protesting school strikers around the globe demanding action against the climate crisis. "The Forum" offers a backstage look at the inner workings of one of the world’s most exclusive and criticised gatherings which seeks to avoid simplistic answers. Can Klaus Schwab and the World Economic Forum give a substantial contribution to a world at the crossroads or is it the perfect arena for the self-promotion of the powerful few?


Jury Statement:
Exclusive insight at the Forum in Davos. The camera seems to have almost unrestricted access in front and behind the scenes without losing its critical point of view. This gives an interesting, sometimes almost voyeuristic insight into the world of the people pulling the strings. The film touches many layers both in the present as in the past and the future; edited in a powerful, convincing way. A strong, urgent and above all alarming film.


The Signs Award for Documentary honours films, which express in a surprising and sensitive way the perturbing aspects of reality

Hilla Medalia
Israel / 2019 / 1:43:00


Four Israeli teenagers undergo an irreversible life-altering process. Four Israeli families must grapple with the unsettling process their child goes through during the already brutal enough teenage years; each in its one.



Jury Statement:
The film portrays in a compelling and involving way the lives of four kids that are in gender transition. The four stories all touch different topics and themes; this challenges the viewer to think about the complexity of the subject. The film shows in a convincing way why it is important for the teenagers to be recognized and understood.

Director Statement:
We are grateful and honored to be recognized by Signos da Noite. Transkids brings to the front for the first time in Israel, four brave and unique families dealing with the transformation and transition of their children allowing the viewer to have an intimate and compassionate look at the challenges behind unconditional love. The four transgender youth and their families open their lives and hearts in their quest for understanding. We are happy to be able to bring their stories to the international audience, stressing once more that love and acceptance know no borders.
Best, Mariel and the Medalia Team


The Night Award for Documentary honours films, which represent reality in an ambivalent and enigmatic way, avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions

Watching the Pain of Others
Chloé Galibert-Laîné
France / 2019 / 0:31:30


In this deeply personal video diary, a young researcher tries to make sense of her fascination for the film "The Pain of Others" by Penny Lane. A deep dive into the discomforting world of YouTube and online conspiracies, that challenges traditional notions of what documentary cinema is, or should be.



Jury Statement:
A film about a film about films. A very clever and intimate video-essay that shows an uncomfortable problematic issue that director Chloé Galibert-Laîné does with great ease questioning new forms of cinema. Deep research along with elaborated editing results in an original and convincing piece.

Director Statement:
Watching the Pain of Others investigates an online community of women suffering from a mysterious skin disease called Morgellons, and reflects on the power that images have to heal and to harm. It was extremely important for me to find ways to represent these women without passing judgements or simplifying the challenges that they face as sufferers from an ailment that is not recognized by institutional medicine; I am therefore honored to receive for this film the Night Award, which celebrates films that "represent reality [while] avoiding stereotypes of representation and simple conclusions".


The Edward Snowden Award honors films, which offer sensitive (mostly) unknown informations, facts and phenomenons of eminent importance, for which the festival wishes a wide proliferation in the future.

Travis Beard
Afghanistan, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina / 2018 / 1:17:00


"RocKabul" is a coming of age documentary which deals with youth identity and freedom of expression that existed on the precipitous of the fragile city of Kabul. It shows the strength of the human spirit as Afghanistan's first and only metal band, District Unknown, reach out to the disenchanted Afghan youth, the expat community and eventually the outside world. However, by challenging this traditional Islamic republic, District Unknown literally put themselves and their fans in the firing line. The grassroots music movement which encouraged the participation of men and women alike ultimately crumbles under the weight of the conservative society that shadows them. Captured by Australian filmmaker, Travis Beard who lived in Kabul for seven years, the film features a side of Afghan life rarely shown in Western media.


Jury Statement:
The prohibition of music - and much more the Metal genre - in Afghanistan leaves no choice to a group of passionate musicians as to go underground and still risk even their lives. A dedicated and brave documentary that results in an ode to people who resist oppression. A clear message that music should be a basic human right.


A New Era
Une nouvelle èra
Boris Svartzman
France, Argentine / 2019 / 1:11:00


In 2008, local authorities evict 2,000 villagers from Guanzhou, a river island in Southern China to make way for new urban planning projects – a fate shared by five billion rural citizens of China yearly. In spite of the demolition of their houses and police pressure, a handful of inhabitants return to the island. For seven years, I have filmed their battle to save their ancestral land, from the ruins of the village where nature is slowly reasserting itself, to the worksites of the mega city which inexorably advance towards them.


Jury Statement:
The jury was impressed by the risks and effort the director has taken to film in a country where freedom of the press is being suppressed and criticism on the government can have major consequences. There is a strong bond of trust between the director and the people that are filmed; this shows a lot of dedication and sensitivity.


The Cleaners
Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck
Germany, Brazil / 2018 / 1:28:00

We already knew that fake news gets pumped around. And also that our online behaviour determines what gets shown on everyone’s timeline on social media. But that thousands of Filipino content moderators are actively deciding every day what actually gets seen on the web, so that our timelines are pleasant or at least non-violent? This fact was hidden until recently. Propaganda or free newscast? With hardened eyes and continually learning about sex terms and jihadist flags, this immense workforce decide on thousands of newly placed videos and pictures. In their revealing debut documentary The Cleaners, Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck infiltrate this shadow industry. The internet is not as neutral and democratic as it pretends. High-placed tech experts and (ex-)cleaners speak about the need for and practice of these actions. From conversations with victims of this censorship, it seems that cleaners help steer the course of history. Enter a hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers”, among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley, whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts


Jury Statement:
The sociological, philosophical and political discussion of the existence of a new occupation such as the internet moderators is addressed in a very interesting and profound way. The editing and the different perspectives shown in the film, not only present a complex debate about recent history, but also in a critical and complex way about the actual political and moral questions, what should be online or not.

Director Statement:
Thank you very much for this award. To receive THE SPECIAL JURY AWARD in the Documentary Section is a great honor for us. Getting this recognition means a lot to us and it reinforces us in how important the subject of our film is.
Because that was our goal, to shake up the audience, to trigger a debate with the film, which may also be continued outside of the movie theaters and film festivals. Most of the billions of people in the world who use social media don’t have any clue who does the clean-up-work for them. Most of us take it for granted we don’t have to see videos of beheadings, rape or torture in our newsfeeds. We don’t know there are thousands of young workers in the developing world who sacrifice themselves in order to keep us “safe” and provide us with a “healthy environment” when we go online. At the same time hundreds of thousands of newsworthy pictures and videos disappear every single day without our notice. A lot of individuals as well as whole groups of our societies are secretely silenced with huge effects on our democracy. If our film manages to create a little bit more awareness for these important topics, we are very happy.
We are honored to receive the award. First and foremost, this prize belongs to our protagonists, who had the courage to share their stories with us. We will forward the message to the workers right away. The workers will be very happy about it. Thanks again.
Short call to action: Support the BPO Industry Employees Network from Manila advocating the rights of Filipino clickworkers and onlinecensorship.org fighting for digital rights.