The National Online Festival DocPoint Exceeded Expectations

The festival that ended on Sunday the 7th of February exceeded expectations. During the festival’s ten-day run, more than 7000 film tickets were sold, and online events captured the attention of approximately 17 000 fans. The most watched film of the festival was Mia Halme’s People We Come Across. The first DocPoint-Yle awards in DocPoint’s history were awarded to John Webster’s Donner – Private and Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino’s Makongo.

Celebrating its 20-year anniversary, DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival was organised on 29.1.–7.2.2021 as a national online festival due to Covid-19 restrictions. The ten-day festival housed over 70 documentaries from 38 different production countries.  More than 7 000 tickets were sold, and the festival’s online events drew in approximately 17 000 views. The most popular online event was the online seminar  The Dramaturgy and Storytelling of Documentary Film, which took place on Friday 5.2.

The most watched film of the festival was Mia Halme’s PEOPLE WE COME ACROSS, which follows a vaccine trial in Benin. Other films that rose to become fan-favourites include Suvi West’s EATNAMEAMET – OUR SILENT STRUGGLE, Viktor Kossakovsky’s GUNDA, Radu Ciorniciuc’s ACASA, MY HOME, and Natalija Yefimkina’s GARAGE PEOPLE

In two new competition series, held for the first time ever, 5 000 euro DocPoint-Yle awards were presented to the best national and international documentaries. In addition to choosing the winners, international juries consisting of film industry professionals also presented special mentions to films from each category. The winner of the best national documentary was John Webster’s DONNER – PRIVATE, whilst the award for best international documentary went to Elvis Sabin Ngaïbino’s MAKONGO. The juries’ special mentions went to Mohamed El Aboudi’s SCHOOL OF HOPE and Amel Alzakout and Khaled Abdulwahed’s joint directorial PURPLE SEA. The winner of the audience vote was Peter Wallenius’s MARIKA’S PASSING. This year the recipient of the AVEK-funded Aho & Soldan Lifetime Achievement Award was film editor Tuuli Kuittinen.

– The festival passed our expectations -despite not knowing what to expect when we moved online. Although we missed having direct contact with our festival audience, we are delighted by how enthusiastically fans have embraced this festival. Both the film programme, as well as the discussion events got a lot of positive feedback, and social media was abuzz with folks sharing their own festival experiences. DocPoint’s anniversary year has been incredible, albeit in a completely different way than we initially expected, says the festival’s executive director Tapio Riihimäki.

Next year DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival will be back as per usual in the turn of January and February.