The Council of Europe’s Eurimages Fund and the Beldocs International Documentary Film Festival are pleased to reveal the winner of the eighth edition of the prestigious Audentia Award for Best Female Director: Anna Hints for the film Smoke Sauna Sisterhood. The documentary takes place in the darkness of a smoke sauna, where women share their innermost secrets and intimate experiences, washing off the shame trapped in their bodies and regaining their strength through a sense of communion. Anna Hints has already won the Directing Award - section World Cinema - Documentary at Sundance Film Festival, 2023 and the Golden Gate Award in the Best Documentary Feature section at the San Francisco International Film Festival 2023.
The jury which selected this film included: Beatrice Fiorentino, Film critic, freelance journalist and film programmer; Stefan Arsenijević, international award winning director and now teacher of master’s studies at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts in Belgrade and Ksenija Zelenović, Program Coordinator at the Yugoslav Film Archive, and leader of the project A1 Kinoteka, artistic director and film programme editor of A1 Kinoteka Summer Cinema and creative consultant and Deputy Artistic Director for Belgrade International Film Festival – FEST. She also co-represents Serbia in the Eurimages Film Fund.
In announcing the award, the jury commented on Smoke Sauna Sisterhood:
“Words that become stories, confidences that open worlds, stories that cross bodies. Observed with complicity, tenderness and moving respect, a group of women find refuge in a limbo, a place suspended in space and time that becomes purgatory, confessional, a safe place to cleanse both body and soul. A modern Sabbath or a pagan ritual that embraces the magical and tangible dimension, something in between a Nordic fable, a tribal enchantment and the warmth of an embrace. Archetypal, hypnotic, intimate and boldly political.”