Winners of III International Rights Film Festival “STEPS” 2009

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  • Winners of III International Rights Film Festival “STEPS” 2009


The statuette “Steps to Freedom” is awarded to:


Feature films:

Feature film «The Life of David Gale» – best feature film on human rights
poster Director: Alan Parker
Country: USA/Germany
Year: 2003
Synopsis: Gale (Kevin Spacey) is a Texas professor and anti-death penalty activist who, ironically enough, winds up on death row for the rape and murder of a colleague. Kate Winslet plays Bitsey Bloom, the brave journalist who sets out to tell to his story. In the days leading up to his execution, Gale fills her in on his life via flashbacks, which include political debates, lectures, sex with a student, rape allegations, alcoholism, divorce, and despair. As the hour of his doom approaches, Bitsey becomes convinced that Gale is the victim of a shadowy political conspiracy and races against the clock to prove his innocence.

Feature film «The Pain» – best direction, best script, best music
poster Director: Cemal San
Country: Turkey
Year: 2009
Synopsis: The story of `The Pain` reveals the necessity of saying `no` to anything that is not humane in order for people to live humanely. It is the story of a grandson who advocates freedom having to escape and hide from the government officials for a while and a silent and conformist grandfather whose priority is his family, and thus who prefers conservatism, obedience and pain. The main themes are identity, freedom and cultural values in Turkey as well as the sense of belonging, homeland, citizenship and the dirty war. `The Pain` was made to commemorate Engin Ceber who was arrested while selling a legal magazine in the street and sent to one of the prisons in Turkey where he was tortured to death.`The Pain` is the directors soul-searching with regard to the society he lives in and it is a question that he asks to both himself and the people who did not protest against torturing and extrajudicial killings ignoring the lost, the disabled and the murdered as a result of all these. Read more interesting facts about the international independent film festival.

Feature film «Arrivederci» – best direction in a feature film
poster Director: Valeriu Jereghi
Country: Moldova
Year: 2008
Synopsis: «Arrivederci», the drama of two children abandoned by their mother, who left the country to work abroad, and by their father who previously left the family. The children, aged 5 and respectively 7, live alone and suffer from poverty, hang together and have a dream to grow up and go to Italy, where their mother is. Broken down by the poverty, she left them alone because she knew she had taught them how to fight the life and survive, how to work and to live on, and because she knew that people living nearby will give them a hand. But she couldn’t imagine that no money in the world deserves the tragedy inside the children’s souls and their grief for their mother. She thought that she could give them a better life only if she had enough money. At the same time, the movie touches another drama of the people from RM – the temporary abandon of the husbands by their wives, who form other families abroad.

Feature film «Russia 88» – special prize of the festival «Video not bombs»
poster Director: Pavel Bardin
Country: Russia
Year: 2009
Synopsis: A gang of skinheads «Russia 88» are filming propaganda videos to place them on the Internet (Youtube). As the camera records the life of the gang, they grow accustomed to it and stop paying attention to the filming. As the story develops, the leader of the gang ‘Blade’ discovers that his sister is dating a man from the Caucasus…
The plot of the film comes from the imagination of the author but the imaginary story is based on the facts of present day life in Russia.

Kevin Spacey

Best Actor – Kevin Spacey in the feature film «The Life of David Gale»


Kate Winslet
Best Actress – Kate Winslet in the feature film «The Life of David Gale»



Short films:

Short film «Abyss» – Best short film on human rights
poster Director: Ilya Severov
Country: Russia
Year: 2009
Synopsis: Russia, year 1906. Workers and middle class people get together in the countryside on an improvised underground gathering camouflaged as a picnic. A young girl from high society and a student with the revolutionary ideas are falling in love with each other. They dream of the bright future, their heroic revolutionary mission, and the sacrificial love for all the ordinary people. They face their truth and their fate.

Short film «Breath» – best direction is a short film
poster Directors: Khayyam Abdoullayev, Elmaddin Aliyev
Country: Azerbaijan
Year: 2009
Synopsis: Events in the film occur in conservative aunt Aghabayim’s (Amalya Panahova) family in a remote mountainous village of Azerbaijan during World War II. Events happen in an unfavorable way to the mental ethics of a family. Aunt Aghabayim receives death news of her son Mohbaly (Ilgar Jahangirov), who was in the war. By that time Aghabayim lives with her daughter-in-law Shirin (Vafa Rzayeva). There is no man in this small mountainous village except Shirin’s father Aghamousa and Bakhysh, a neighbour’s 14-year old juvenile son. Aghabayim gets aware of Shirin’s pregnancy after certain time. Absence of men in the village causes some doubts from her side. Events become complicated due to this. At last she finds a reason for her doubts. She has doubts about 14-year old Bakhysh in Shirin’s pregnancy. Severe coldness and mysticism of the war accompany events in the film. Aunt Aghabayim decides to wash away the honour of her family, and attacks her daughter-in-law at home in order to kill her. But Shirin runs to the forest to escape with life and limb while her mother-in-law is pursuing her. And during this period Shirin’s recollections play a role in clarifying the events. It turns out that Mohbaly is not dead and the letter of his death has been sent by mistake. Mohbaly is alive, and temporarily comes to the village only to see his wife Shirin.

Short film «He’d never do that» – best short film on animal rights
poster Director: Anartz Zuazua
Country: Spain
Year: 2009
Synopsis: Laura asks the Three Kings for a grandfather.

Documentary films:

Documentary film «Home» – special prize of the festival for significant contribution to development of ecological movement in the world
poster Directors: Luc Besson, Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Country: USA
Year: 2009
Synopsis: In 200, 000 years, humans have disrupted the fragile balance on which Earth was living for 4 billion years. Global warming, shortage of resources, endangered species: humans are jeopardizing their own living conditions. By the end of the century, the relentless consumption will have exhausted almost all of our planet’s natural resources. But it is too late to be pessimistic: we have barely 10 years left to reverse the trend. We need to become aware of our abusive exploitation of Earth’s gifts and change our way of life.
HOME is a travel notebook, showing landscapes captured from a bird’s eye view above. This film calls for a new awareness, inviting the viewer to stop for a moment in order to look at our planet and realize how we treat her treasures and her beauty.

Documentary film «Stealing America: vote by vote» – best documentary on human rights
poster Director: Dorothy Fadiman
Country: USA
Year: 2008
Synopsis: Stealing America: Vote by Vote brings together behind-the-scenes perspectives from the U.S. presidential election of 2004 – plus startling stories from key races in 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2006. Unbiased and nonpartisan, the film sheds light on a decade of vote counts that don’t match votes cast – uncounted ballots, vote switching, under-votes and many other examples of election totals that warrant serious investigation.
Stealing America unveils patterns of anomalies at every level of the electoral process. Controversial partnerships perpetuate a secretive environment, as relevant facts and figures remain hidden from view. As a result, most Americans have no real sense of the threat to free and fair elections. As seemingly unrelated pieces of the puzzle come together, a chilling picture emerges of widespread, artfully crafted “glitches” that, in the final tallies, have the capacity to alter election results.

Documentary film «I’m an Animal/the Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA»best documentary on animal rights
poster Director: Matthew Galkin
Country: USA
Year: 2007
Synopsis: A candid and introspective look at the extreme beliefs and motives of Ingrid Newkirk, the British-born co-founder and driving force behind People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the world’s largest animal-rights organization.

Documentary film «Some are walking, some are riding» – special prize of the festival for contribution to development of cinema, for courage and fortitude is awarded to Ivanenko Oleg, producer of the film (Ukraine)
poster Director: Arthur Yakubov
Country: Ukraine
Year: 2009
Synopsis: The film tells about the marathon «Kiev-Warsaw» which was held to support Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland. Nikolay Kutsenko who was continuously kicking a ball and tree disabled men in wheelchairs walked 42,195 km every day making their way from Kiev to Warsaw and reached their final destination.

Documentary film «Forest for the Trees» – special prize of the festival for contribution to development of rights movement
poster Director: Bernadine Mellis
Country: USA
Year: 2006
Synopsis: «The forest for the trees» is an intimate, behind-the scenes look at an unlikely team of young activists and old lefties who come together to battle the U.S. government. Judi Bari was an Earth First! leader who was one of the first to place as much importance on the legacy and future of the trees as she did on timber workers’ lives and families. But that strategic relationship was too much of a threat. Her car was bombed in 1990, and three hours later, she was arrested as a terrorist-charges that were later dropped. Convinced it was a ploy by the FBI to discredit her and Earth First! Judi decided to sue. Cunningham took on Judi’s case and after 12 years, Judi Bari vs the FBI finally gets a court date.

Documentary film «Razor Wire Rodeo» – special prize of STEPS film festival
poster Director: Nicolas Pallay, J.C Delaloye
Country: Switzerland
Year: 2009
Synopsis: Louisiana State Angola Penitentiary is America’s most infamous and largest maximum-security prison. 5000 inmates are locked up there. Most of them are serving sentences so long that they are going to die at Angola. Each Sunday in October, volunteer inmates battle bulls without training during the Angola Prison Rodeo. This event allows them to enjoy a few seconds of fame in front of a crowd of 10 000 people and make some money… or die. This is the story of men, whose lives have been defined by violence and crushed by the pitiless corrections practices in US prisons.


Animation «1000 Voices» – best animation on human rights
poster Director: Tim Travers Hawkins
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 2009
Synopsis: 1000 Voices is an animated short documentary featuring the voices of immigrants in indefinite detention in the UK, interviewed by the director over the phone. STORY: Messages begin to appear on an abandoned answer phone in the basement of a government ministry. Over the crackle of the line those detained indefinitely in removal centres around the UK begin to break the silence. As they speak their experiences materialize in dark and nightmarish animated images.

Animation «Yudisthira’s Dog» – best animation on animal rights
poster Director: Wolf Clifton
Country: USA/Indonesia
Year: 2008
Synopsis: Based on a tale from Hindu mythology, this is the story of Yudisthira, a pious king whose place in Heaven is determined by his love for a dog. Animated by Wolf Clifton in the style of an Indonesian shadow play, “Yudisthira’s Dog” was originally made for the Yudisthira Swarga Foundation (, an organization in Bali working for the welfare of street dogs and other animals.

People Choice Awardfeature film «Up and Down»

poster Directors: Michael Ozerov, Eduard Verkhoturov
Country: Ukraine
Year: 2009
Synopsis: What does it mean – to betray yourself?
It’s to drift smoothly, believing that this way is the right one. It’s to bury your talent under a luxurious gravestone of apparent wellbeing, to kill love with poison of boredom, to go the pace, believing fervently that your life is eventful and to kill a pungency of emptiness and senselessness by the wine. And when the black hole of solitude is already waiting for you with wide-open arms, where to find strength to stop in front of the last crossroads? To stop and understand that you’ve been moving nowhere. Where’s the escape?

Special prize of the festival for contribution to development of animal rights movement is awarded to the following organiztions


Brigitte Bardot Foundation




International Fur Free Alliance

Honorary diplomas and special mention of the jury
is awarded to the following films:

Feature film «The Minority», dir. Dwayne Buckle, USA

Short films:
«Requiem», dir. Turgut Baygin, Turkey
«The Cleaner», dir. Noel Kearns, UK
«Brandstifter», dir. Felix V. Muralt, Switzerland/Austria
«Even if she had been a criminal…», dir. Jean–Gabriel Periot, France
«Undo», dir. Jean–Gabriel Periot, France
«A Doll of a Christmas Girl», dir. Ludmila Roldugina, Russia
«Lay me down», dir. Shinako Sudo, USA/Japan
«The House», dir. Richard Green, New Zealand
«Silence», dir. Ava Lanche, Iceland
«No way through», dir. Alexandra Monro, Sheila Menon, UK
«Scissu», dir. Tom Bewilogua, Germany
«FRIZON/Free zone», dir. Jan-Eje Ferling, Sweden
«Please, NO!», dir. Kis’keya, Belgium
«Steps», dir. Barney Cheng, USA
«I Remember», dir. Paola Baldion, USA

Diploma for the best debut is awarded to the feature film «Tatoo», dir. Slava Serkez, Ukraine/Russia

Best camera work in a short film – «The Grass Snake», dir. Khayyam Abdoullayev, Elmaddin Aliyev, cameraman – Rovshan Kuliyev, Azerbaijan

Documentary films:
«+1 degree Celsius», dir. Dnes Ruzsa, Hungary
«Being Meera Malik» , dir. Marcos Borregn, Spain
«The House of the Dead», dir. Debora Diniz, Brazil
«Earthlings», dir. Olga Samolevskaya, Ukraine
«Experimental paradigm» dir. Irina Novozhilova, Konstantin Sabinin, Russia

«Tastes differ», dir. Yulia Chilikina, Russia
«Solitude», dir. Mehrdad Sheikhan, Turkey
«Vegetables», dir. Dzhalil Rizvanov, Russia

Honorary diploma for contribution to development and support of social cinema is awarded to film studio «Studio VEK»

Honorary diploma for contribution to development and support of cinema in Ukraine is awarded to Vladimir Mislavskiy (film expert, film critic, author of seven books on art of filmmaking, laureate of numerous awards)

Honorary diploma for support and contribution to development of rights movement is awarded to Sergey Otvodenko

Honorary diploma for support and contribution to development of rights movements is awarded to Tatiana Babina (Director of Kharkov municipal culture center «Sirin», speaker of business alliance «Millenium», author and anchorman of TV programs)