‘Kokomo City,’ ‘Sira’ Win Panorama Audience Awards  

D. Smith’s Sundance audience award winner Kokomo City has won over Berlin cinemagoers as well, winning the audience award for best documentary in Berlin’s Panorama section. Apolline Traoré’s Sira won the audience prize for best narrative feature.

A raw depiction of the lives of four Black trans sex workers fro New York and Georgia, Kokomo City won both the audience prize and the NEXT Innovator Award for D. Smith in Sundance. Chilean documentary The Eternal Memory, a look at Alzheimer’s disease from director Maite Alberdi, and the follow-up to her 2020 Oscar-nominated The Mole Agent, was the documentary runner-up among Panorama audience voters, with Thierno Souleymane Diallo’s The Cemetery of Cinema, an attempt to rediscover the birth of filmmaking and the lost film heritage of his home nation of Guinea, took third place.

Sira, set in Burkina Faso, follows the young eponymous nomad woman who refuses to surrender after a brutal attack and instead takes a stand against Islamist terror. The Burdened, a Yemeni drama from director Amr Gamal and Léa Fehner’s French feature Midwives were the two audience award runner-ups in the narrative feature category.

The Panorama Audience Awards are the only honors voted on by the full film-going public at the Berlinale, the world’s largest public film festival. In total this year, some 22,000 votes were cast for the 35 feature films and 9 documentaries in the 2023 Panorama line-up.

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