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Film director Thorsten Trimpop wins Golden Dove at Leipzig Festival


The prize, one of the most prestigious for documentary filmmaking, is for Trimpop’s film Furusato, chronicling the effects of Japan’s nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Director, CMS/W lecturer, and Open Documentary Lab fellow Thorsten Trimpop has been announced as the winner of a Golden Dove grand prize at the Leipzig Festival, one most prestigious awards in the world of documentary filmmaking, for his film Furusato, chronicling the effects of Japan’s nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

Furusato古里 tells of the unusual relationship between a country and its inhabitants. For more than a thousand years the overwhelming nature of the east coast of Japan has been deeply interwoven with people’s lives. Here the earth is sacred, but now it is penetrated by an invisible danger. For those who have decided to stay anyway, the coastal landscape around the destroyed reactor of Fukushima Daiishi is their home – their Furusato

Trimpop’s Golden Dove comes with €10,000. In awarding the prize, its jury said about the film:

Although Germany has decided to phase out nuclear power, a nuclear power plant will still be built in Poland near the German border. Besides Chernobyl has already irradiated a quarter of the world for centuries. The way how one of the world’s most important industrial nations handles the reactor catastrophe of Fukushima, how this nation is unable to cope with it until this very day and how it continues to fail to come to terms with it day by day – all this has the director and his courageous team packed into an impressive documentary piece of cinematic art in an unsettling, disturbing and highly complex way. Moreover, the film also shows how survivors cannot, or do not want to, leave their native area, with foreseeable consequences for their own health and that of future generations, and how this people – whether old or young – are being fed with hopes and lies and left to themselves. This film is an excellent example of a warning against an actually inconceivable sample of similarly inhuman, undemocratic, suicidal events on our planet, the only one we have.

Our Open Documentary Lab contributed to the final production through screenings of and feedback on rough cuts, and Trimpop credits Lab director and Professor of Comparative Media Studies William Uricchio as “a great source of support and commitment.”

Andrew Whitacre
Written by
Andrew Whitacre

Andrew directs the communications efforts for CMS/W and Responsible AI for Social Empowerment and Education. A native of Washington, D.C., he holds a degree in communication from Wake Forest University, with a minor in humanities, as well as an M.F.A. in creative writing from Emerson College.

This work includes drawing up and executing strategic communications plans, with projects including website design, social media management and training, press outreach, product launches, fundraising campaign support, and event promotions.

Andrew Whitacre Written by Andrew Whitacre