Finalist, Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs Sponsored by Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs

Dan Fallshaw and Violeta Ayala (Bolivian/Australian)

April - August 2016, Bolivia

The Fight

Produced in collaboration with the Sundance Institute Short Documentary Fund and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Broadcast by The Guardian

People with disabilities are among the most discriminated against in Bolivia. Dan and Violeta’s film follows a determined group of activists as they cross the Andes into the country’s capital, La Paz, to lobby for improved rights and benefits. They capture violent scenes as the protesters in wheelchairs set up camp a block away from the city’s main plaza and are met by riot shields, tear gas and water canon. For the first time in Bolivia’s history, police erect three meter high barricades, station tanks and hundreds of riot officers to stop the protesters from entering the plaza. The story of an extraordinary fight between a government and a group of citizens.  

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Violeta, an indigenous filmmaker from Bolivia, and Dan co-created United Notions Film with the motto of challenging the status quo. In 2005 they traveled to Mauritania to make 'Between the Oil and the Deep Blue Sea', an investigation about international corruption in the oil industry. In 2006, they shot 'Stolen', uncovering racial-based slavery in a UN-monitored refugee camp in Algeria. The film sparked worldwide controversy when it premiered at the Sydney Film Festival 2009. In 2015 they made ‘The Bolivian Case’, questioning the media's racism in Norway. Their latest film 'Cocaine Prison' will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017.

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Judges Comments

“The story felt so fresh, highlighting an issue none of us even knew existed. This is committed, compelling observational documentary-making at it’s best, with super-beautiful characters at its core. It felt experimental... making the viewer feel part of it, this road trip and the protests. It’s also packed with powerful, human moments we won’t forget in a hurry, like the main protagonist talking to camera, as he tenderly and absentmindedly strokes his wife’s hair as her head peeps out from their tent. It grabbed our attention, made us care, and made us want to know more.”