CPH:DOX announces its 2020 award winners

The winners of the 17th edition of the international documentary film festival CPH:DOX have been announced Friday evening at an award show taking place online. The Dox:Award in the international main competition went to the Danish film ‘Songs of Repression’ by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner.

The international documentary film festival CPH:DOX was originally set to unspool from March 18-29 in Copenhagen. In the light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the festival cancelled all on-site events and moved its activities online instead, including the six international competitions which have been judged online by the appointed juries. 

In a video published online Friday evening, the festival announced this year’s award winners, honouring the Danish documentary ‘Songs of Repression’ by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner with the Dox:Award in the international main competition.

The festival’s other competitions include Nordic:Dox Award, F:act Award, New:Vision Award, Next:Wave Award and the newly founded Politiken:Danish:Dox Award. 

A limited number of films, among others the competition titles 'Ocean Of Love, 'Only the Devil Lives Without Hope' and 'The Republics’ will be available for international audiences outside of Denmark from tomorrow, Saturday March 28 and until the festival ends on April 5. 

Full list of CPH:DOX 2020 winners: 


  • Winner: 'Songs of Repression' by Marianne Hougen-Moraga & Estephan Wagner (Denmark)


  • Winner: 'South' by Morgan Quaintance (United Kingdom)
  • Special Mention: 'Mother’s Tongue' by Wingyee Wu & Lap-See Lam (Sweden)


  • Winner: 'We Hold the Line' by Marc Wiese (Germany)
  • Special Mention: 'The Social Dilemma' by Jeff Orlowski (USA)


  • Winner: 'Being Eriko' by Jannik Splidsboel (Denmark)
  • Special Mention: 'Själö - Island of Souls' by Lotta Petronella (Finland)


  • Winner: 'Mayor' by David Osit (USA)
  • Special Mention: 'Sisters with Transistors' by Lisa Rovner (United Kingdom)


  • Winner: 'Songs of Repression' by Marianne Hougen-Moraga & Estephan Wagner (Denmark)


  • Winner: 'Hana Korea' by Frederik Sølberg (Denmark)



Winner: Songs of Repression (Marianne Hougen-Moraga & Estephan Wagner, Denmark)


The festival’s international main prize, Dox:Award 2020, went to the Danish documentary ‘Songs of Repression’ directed by Marianne Hougen-Moraga and Estephan Wagner and produced by Final Cut for Real.

On their motivation, the jury says:

“The winning film is chosen by an unanimous jury. It offers a variety of complex, interesting and endearing characters and as the story unfolds it brings us magical cinematic moments that are true to the tradition of cinéma vérité when it is great. The film takes us into a universe of great contrast where victims live side by side with the history and descendants of their oppressors. The film is told with a delicate balance not falling for the easy solution of tabloid overtelling but leaves the subtle narrative to do its thorough job and slowly but surely leaving the audience as repressed as the characters themselves. It is through a sensitive and authentic relationship to their characters, that the filmmakers create a space in which the characters reflect, sometimes it seems for the first time, upon the most private and hidden moments of their past. The authenticity of the character’s reflections triggers the viewer’s fantasy in a way that makes him or her envision vividly the life situations and trauma the characters were shaped by. This is documentary film directing at its best. The winner of the CPH:DOX Dox:Award goes to ‘Songs of Repression’.“

‘Songs’ of Repression’ is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 5.

The Dox:Award jury consisted of Brenda Coughlin from Sundance Institute (USA), Festival Director at DOK Leipzig Christoph Terhechte (Germany), Romanian director Alexander Nanau and Danish director Pernille Rose Grønkjær.

13 films were nominated for the Dox:Award 2020, celebrating strong personal expressions and cinematic quality. The award is a cash prize of 5,000 euros.

DOX:AWARD is presented in collaboration with DR.


Winner: South (Morgan Quaintance, United Kingdom)


The winner of New:Vision Award 2020 is ‘South’ by british artist Morgan Quaintance.

On their motivation, the jury says: 

“With its at once direct and poetic investigation of social injustice across continents and time, the film has impressed the jury by showing us an artwork that is at once aesthetically rigorous and generously open. With its sensitive approach to the people bearing its stories, the film revisits radical movements while avoiding any moralistic didacticism. The award is given to a film that offers a portrait of "a collective voice as a mechanism for change” and pays testimony to humanity's capacity for creating hope. The New:Vision Award goes to Morgan Quaintance for the film ‘South’.”



Special Mention: Mother’s Tongue (Wingyee Wu & Lap-See Lam, Sweden)


The jury also decided to give a Special Mention to ‘Mother’s Tongue’ by Wingyee Wu & Lap-See Lam.

On their motivation, the jury says: 

“This collaborative project explores the subject of migration and displacement through the first person perspectives of three generations of restaurant owners. While breaking through the surface and entering an image space that is at once personally experienced and layered with cultural complexities, the film allows us to look around the back, through the walls - physically and orally investigating what has taken place beneath the veneer. A special mention is given to Wingyee Wu and Lap-See Lam for the film ‘Mother's Tongue’.” 

The New:Vision jury consisted of British artist and former New:Vision winner Ben Rivers, curator at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art Marid Laurberg, and artist and film director Tinne Zenner. 

The 16 nominated short and feature length films in the New:Vision 2020 competition features experiments in the borderland between documentary and artistic reflection. The award is a cash prize of 5,000 euros.


Winner: We Hold the Line (Marc Wiese, Germany)


The F:act Award 2020 went to the German documentary ‘We Hold the Line’ directed by Marc Wiese, following a group of Filipino journalists and their fight for democracy and human rights in a country where president Duterte has waged a 'war on drugs', killing thousands of people. 

The jury states:

“The CPH:DOX F:act Award goes to the film depicting dark, troubling events in a skilful yet measured way, smartly focusing on just the right situations while employing a precise cinematic language. One that for all the portrayed hardships still manages to transform into a story about the unbreakable human spirit, providing the kind of narrative, and everyday heroes hell-bent on unearthing the truth, that we all desperately need right now. Making the voices of those fighting for the freedom of speech sound loud and clear, giving us hope for the future.”

'We hold the Line’ is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 30.


Special Mention: The Social Dilemma (Jeff Orlowski, USA)


The jury also gave a Special Mention to Jeff Orlowski’s ‘The Social Dilemma’.

The jury states:

“The F:act Award jury gives a special mention to a well-researched, creatively executed film that addresses an issue posing a threat to our democracy, our elections and to the health of our children. Surprisingly, the warning comes straight from some of the very people that created the systems we all use every day, making it even more terrifying and thought-provoking. Hats off to the people behind ‘The Social Dilemma’."

The F:act Award jury consisted of Israeli filmmaker Shosh Shlam, the Finnish film critic Marta Balaga and Danish director and journalist Nils Giversen.

10 films were nominated for the F:act Award 2020, dedicated to films in the field between documentary filmmaking, investigative journalism and activism. The award is a cash prize of 5,000 euros.

F:act Award is presented in collaboration with the Danish Union of Journalists.


Winner: Being Eriko (Jannik Splidsboel, Denmark)


The Nordic:Dox Award 2020 went to ‘Being Eriko’ by Danish Jannik Splidsboel. An intimate portrait of the Japanese pianist and performance artist Eriko Makimura, fighting to liberate herself from her past.  

The jury states:

“The award goes to a film which brings an emotional portrayal of a magnetic character with a very personal and sensitive approach. The film opens a number of important themes, from the unrelenting nurture of artistic talent to the challenges of transcending societal norms. We meet a woman who is liberating herself from her past in a bold and approachable way for all of us. The Nordic:Dox Award goes to ‘Being Eriko’ by Jannik Splidsboel.”

‘Being Eriko’ is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 5.


Special Mention: Själö - Island of Souls (Lotta Petronella, Finland)


The jury also gave a Special Mention to ‘Själö - Island of Souls’ by Finnish director Lotta Petronella.

The jury states:

The Jury has decided to give a Special Mention to a film which is a truly cinematic exploration of a space through the voices of those who inhabited it. This film centers on a place haunted by a history of forcibly committed women in a strong visual language and a wired soundscape. The Special Mention goes to ‘Själö - Island of Souls’ by Lotta Petronella.”

The Nordic:Dox jury consisted of Programmer at Sarajevo Film Festival Elma Tataragić, Marrocan Festival Director at FIDADOC Hicham Falah and Danish director Sun Hee Engelstoft.

12 films were nominated for the Nordic:Dox Award 2020, dedicated to this year’s best Nordic documentary film. The award is a cash prize of 5,000 euros.


Winner: Mayor (David Osit, USA)


The winner of Next:Wave Award 2020 is ‘Mayor’ by American David Osit, following the mayor of Ramallah Musa Hadid’s work and mission to end the occupation of Palestine. 

On their motivation, the jury says:

“The Next:Wave selection this year was a coherent and cohesive selection that offered a kaleidoscopic vision of beauty and conflict around the world. We were incredibly impressed with the inventive and layered storytelling brought by each of the filmmakers in this category and the depth of empathy and humanity evident in these works.We would like to award the Next:Wave prize to ‘Mayor’. Set amidst the daily life of the city of Ramallah, Palestine, under Israeli occupation, this film offers a clear-sighted and intimate portrait of an inspiring politician who sets a hopeful example with his commitment to public service. The director David Osit and his team build layers of nuance to the challenges faced by the mayor - both big and small. With its delicate balance between the humour of the banality of office logistics and the resilience of a campaign for international visibility, ‘Mayor’ carves a unique impression and generates the deep sense of isolation that many of us in the rest of world are feeling for the first time.”

‘Mayor’ is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 5.


Special Mention: Sisters with Transistors (Lisa Rovner, United Kingdom)


The juryen furthermore honoured ‘Sisters with Transistors’ with a Special Mention.

On their motivation, the jury says:

“The jury would like to award a special mention to ‘Sisters with Transistors’; a vibrant and exciting film that digs out and celebrates a history that has been overlooked by dominant narratives. With such rich archives and testimonies, a galvanising hope and DIY energy, director Lisa Rovner and her team have crafted a work imbued in the spirit of celebration, innovation, imagination and defiance against the odds. Because “technology blows out power structures”, we hope ‘Sisters with Transistors’ will inspire people to create, adapt, evolve and listen carefully – as one of the artists says: How a community of people listens is what creates their culture.”

'Sisters with Transistors' is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 5.

The Next:Wave jury consisted of IndieLisboa and Berlinale Panorama programmer Ana David, British film critic and curator Sophie Brown and Danish director Kaspar Astrup Schröder.

16 short and feature films from young artists and filmmakers were nominated for Next:Wave 2020. The award is a cash prize of 2,500 euros.

Next:Wave Award is presented in collaboration with Normann Copenhagen.


Winner: Songs of Repression (Marianne Hougen-Moraga & Estephan Wagner (Denmark)


This year’s brand new Politiken:Danish:Dox Award, founded in collaboration with Politiken Film&TV, went to ‘Songs of Repression’ which was also awarded with the festival’s international main award, Dox:Award. 

On the motivation, the jury states: 

“The 2020 winner is a film that tells a story from the top shelf about the human condition, and has gained impressive access to it’s material. But it doesn’t bulldoze ahead. It doesn’t suppress the portrayed but follows them with quiet interviews and subtle images and makes the material sing. This year’s winner of Politiken:Danish:Dox is 'Songs of Repression’ by Estephan Wagnar and Marianne Hougen-Moraga. ‘Songs of Repression’ deals with a powerful theme about human cruelty, about tormentors and victims, and how that distinction isn't always clear. They do it with great trust to the story.They don’t limit the material with conservative templates but set the artistic free and tell truths.”

‘Songs’ of Repression’ is available to a local audience at cphdox.dk/online until April 5.

The jury consisted of film critics from Politiken Film&TV.

Other award winners

The Eurimages Co-Production Development Award for best pitch was also handed out during the festival. The award went to Danish filmmaker Frederik Sølberg for ‘Hana Korea’.