GUEST JURY PANEL 2021
Best Feature Documentary Jury
Sophia Pouloupati was born and raised in Kalamata/Greece, where she studied Graphic Design. She worked at several journalism organizations over the years until she found her true calling after she got involved with the organizing team of the Peloponnisos International Documentary Festival.
Promoted as head of the organizing committee the last couple of years, it's up to her how roles and responsibilities are assigned in order to deliver a successful event. As the program director of the festival, her task is to ensure that a well-balanced, high-quality program is presented.
Best Feature Documentary Winner: DON'T BE AFRAID IF I HUG YOU
Α film, perfectly directed and technically, that follows the journey of Franco and Andreas, a father and his autistic son who begin from Castelfranco Veneto located in Italy, on a motorcycle and arrive, after a long way, at the Moroccan steps of Morrakech Express by Gabriele Salvatores (1989). And, at the same time, a dive into the world of autism, full of daily challenges and a constant effort of our heroes to overcome themselves, something that leaves you with a sweet aftertaste, a sense of hope: Niccolò Maria Pagani's documentary does not directly expose you to the unpleasant and difficult moments and trials of the two heroes, however it makes it apparent that such moments constitute a large part of their daily lives.
On the contrary, it primarily highlights an outstanding demonstration of a father's love for his son, which has as an ultimate goal, and through this journey, to help him reach the point of achieving the desirable autonomy. Simultaneously, he tries to show us what it means to raise a child with autism, and, at the same time, to prove to all those who struggle with a similar situation and believe that there is no escape from suffering and despair, that with patience and primarlyl love, they can overcome this feeling of helplessness and resignation that they may experience.