The International Documentary Film Festival of Guía

MiradasDoc recognises the work of First Hand Films with an Award during its 9th edition

MiradasDoc recognises the work of First Hand Films with an Award during its 9th edition

The International Documentary Film Festival of Guía de Isora dedicated its section Documentary in Televisionto the Swiss distribution company.


MiradasDoc awarded a prize to First Hand Films as an acknowledgment to the role the Swiss company plays in the distribution of documentaries in television. The award was given at the conclusion of the 9th edition of the festival, which ended last Saturday, 8th November.

With this honorary award, the festival recognises the work of television programmes or television distributors that dealing with reality contexts have been able to rejuvenate the language of documentary filmmaking and bring it closer to our living rooms. In this particular case, MiradasDoc acknowledges the role of the Swiss distributor in facilitating the access of high quality documentary films to diverse international broadcasters.

Thus, First Hand Films joins the TV programmes that MiradasDoc has recognised in previous editions: Salvados, the programme by La Sexta (Spain), awarded in the 8th edition (2013); CNN in the 7th (2012); Informe Robinson, of Canal +, in the 6th edition (2011), or the TVE programme Al filo de lo imposible, which was awarded in the 5th Edition (2010) on the occasion of its 25th anniversary.

MiradasDoc wanted to recognise the importance of the Swiss distributors, who have also contributed to the consolidation of MiradasDoc Market with their recurring attendance to this international space for documentary film distribution. Here, First Hand Films can “learn about new projects from places that are less represented in other documentary and financing forums, especially projects from Latin America”, according to Ayse Poffet, FHF representative at this year’s MiradasDoc Market.

Founded in 1998 by Esther van Messel, and with offices in Zürich and Berlin, the distributor represents almost 300 films and 200 producers from all over the world. First Hand Films functions as an executive producer in some projects and is present at all major festivals around the year with stands in their main markets.

A large part of their titles have won awards, such as Emmy, Prix Europa, the most important awards at the IDFA, Biarritz, Banff, Grimme-Preis, Grand Prix Nyon, National Film Awards, European Film Awards, Silver Leopards Locarno and the Rose d’Or of Montreux, amongst others.

The distributor was featuredin this recently finished 9th edition of MiradasDoc in the section that the International Documentary Film Festival of Guía de Isora dedicates to Documentary Films on Television. This year the section was called De primera mano, First Hand Films, and two films were shown: Trespassing Bergmann (107’/ 2013 / Sweden), from filmmakers Jane Magnusson and Hynek Pallas, and Five Days to Dance (77’/ 2014 / Spain), from Rafa Molés and Pepe Andreu. These films “give an idea of the quality and width FHF represents”, Poffet remarked.

Trespassing Bergman is an art and culture series that talks about the life of Ingmar Bergmann and his essential films as seen by the main actors and directors of our time. Five Days to Dance is a film based on the human portraits of a group of teenagers that are given a week to put up a choreography and show it in a theatre.  The representative of FHF said that “it was precisely in MiradasDoc where we met the producers of this film. It was here where a relationship that ended in an agreementwas born”. The film of Molés and Andreu also received the Canal + Award in this 9th Edition of MiradasDoc, an award that is granted by this broadcaster at MiradasDoc.

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