Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Berlin 2019 (Panorama)

The film is an interrogation of modern-day slavery and a uniquely harrowing coming-of-age tale. Rodd Rathjen's exquisitely crafted debut feature follows a 14-year-old rural Cambodian boy as he sets off to escape his family's poverty, but is enslaved aboard a Thai fishing trawler. Squalor and cruelty threaten to crush his spirit, yet he finds the self-preserving courage to break the chains. By exposing brutal reality through its tightly-woven narrative, this artistic call to action sheds necessary light on much-overlooked human rights abuses at the heart of our global economy. (Photo: © Rafael Winer)