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"Enemies of Happiness" winner in the Silverdocs film festival in NewYork

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100 international documentaries from 42 countries screened

USINFO, June 18, 2007 By Carolee Walker, USINFO Staff Writer

Joya with Eva Mulvad in NY
Director Eva Mulvad and Malalai Joya speak at the Q&A after their film Enemies of Happiness at the Silverdocs international documentary film festival on June 14 in Silver Spring, Maryland. (Photo by Lauren Ruane/AFI)

Silver Spring, Maryland – Films about social and political relations took home audience and jury awards at the weeklong Silverdocs international documentary film festival.

Top award winners Please Vote for Me, by Chinese director Weijun Chen, and Enemies of Happiness, by Danish filmmaker Eva Mulvad, use stories about the political campaign process to educate about democracy.

In Enemies of Happiness, which follows the intense final weeks of Malalai Joya's successful election campaign to the Afghan parliament, Joya uses the democratic political process to advocate for women's rights amid death threats from powerful politicians opposed to her candidacy. Ironically, in May, just after the film was completed, the Afghan parliament voted to suspend Joya from her seat, citing a rule forbidding members from criticizing each other. Joya is a vocal critic of Afghan parliamentarians who have ties to Northern Alliance warlords.

Silverdocs, organized by the American Film Institute (AFI) and the Discovery Channel television company, is an annual documentary film festival that brings new long and short documentary films to Washington. This year, 100 films from 42 countries were screened over six days. Now in its fifth year, Silverdocs is becoming a well-known venue for international documentary filmmakers to access U.S. audiences, according to Finneran.

Documentry film on Malalai Joya
Enemies of Happiness has been winner of "The world cinema jury prize for documentary" in Sundance and Silver Wolf Award at the 2006 International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA).

At nearly all of the screenings, audiences are invited to participate in question-and-answer sessions with individuals associated with the films, including directors and producers.


Women set an example to men that politicians can work in a collaborative fashion, says U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state in 14 Women, which had its world premiere at Silverdocs on June 14. A documentary about the women who served in the U.S. Senate in 2006, 14 Women is an engaging look at how the common bonds of female politicians can cross party lines. Republican and Democratic women lawmakers focus on health care, education, employment, security and the environment, director Mary Lambert said at the premiere. So-called women's issues now have become human issues that are priorities for American voters, Lambert added.

The full text of a press release announcing the winners of the 2007 Silverdocs film festival is available on the festival's Web site.