Last Train Home, the latest from Montreal-based hit doc-makers EyeSteelFilm, was the toast of the 22nd annual International Documentary Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), nabbing the VPRO award for best feature-length film against a strong field.
The prize, one of the most prestigious in the doc world, comes with a sculpture and €12,500 ($19,800) for first-time feature director Lixin Fan, who was associate producer of EyeSteel's Genie-winning box-office hit Up The Yangtze.
Train reveals the daily grind and the homecoming trek for New Year's of millions of Chinese migrant workers who return to their villages from the cities.
For the second year, EyeSteel's rented houseboat was also unofficial party headquarters for late-night doc revellers wanting a local vibe. "People started calling it the 'sink the boat' party," laughs Fan. "They would show up at seven asking for coffee!"
IDFA's audience award went to Louie Psihoyos' Japanese dolphin hunt exposé The Cove.