The premiere screening of Lidia Duda's latest film turned out extremely successful. Forest left the festival in Thessaloniki with the second prize, the Silver Alexander, for best international production. Maciek Hamela's film also won the Amnesty International Award.

The Thessaloniki Documentary Festival was established in 1991. This international event is dedicated to documentary film. The organisers have focused solely on presenting and promoting the most important international documentary productions. Debates and presentations on the future of the industry and new technologies are equally important to them. The industry section is an integral part of the event. The festival is held under the patronage of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

Lidia Duda's Forest focuses on Joasia and Marek. After graduating, they bought an old house in Białowieża – Europe’s oldest forest – right next to Poland's eastern border. It’s their little paradise – a place for their children to grow up far away from the troubles of the modern world. For Marysia, Ignacy, and Franek the forest is like a second home – familiar and safe. But one day their forest changes. Strangers show up. Outsiders… refugees. Unwanted both in Poland and in Belarus. Against the law, the family starts helping them. You can’t leave other human beings without help, can you? The children’s world changes drastically. They no longer play knights and princesses, but refugees and border patrols. Big politics knocks at their door, and nothing is the same as it was before.

Awarded by Amnesty International, Maciek Hamela's In the Rearview captures the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Suspended in time and space, facing an uncertain here and now, a group of people decides to abandon what's most precious to them and without hesitation get into a dusty van on foreign plates. The car covers thousands of kilometres, serving various functions: a waiting room, a hospital, a shelter, and above all, a space for confessions and admissions, which the fellow travellers start to share naturally. In The Rearview is a collective portrait composed of the experiences of people who have one goal: to find a safe haven. In the van, their temporary asylum, differences of gender, age, skin colour, physical ability, origin, identity, views, or beliefs fade away altogether. The Ukrainian and Polish titles (Zvidky kudy, Skąd dokąd), “where from” (звідки / zvidky) and “where to” (куди / kudy) are also routine questions asked when passing through numerous checkpoints scattered all across Ukraine.

The list of all awarded films can be found here.