Adam Isenberg, the director of the Nicaraguan-Turkish co-production film Una vida sin palabras / A Life Without Words (pictured) is the winner of the 2012 Filmmaker Award given by the Margaret Mead Film Festival, the film festival announced it last night at its closing ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The documentary film tells the story of two siblings born deaf in rural Nicaragua who have never strayed more than a few miles from the farm where they were born, reaching adulthood with no written, spoken, or signed language. When an NGO worker tries to teach them their first words, the quiet but moving drama that unfolds poses provocative questions about the meaning and nature of language, of aid work, and of documentary film.
The Margaret Mead Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary filmmakers who embody the spirit, energy, and innovation demonstrated by anthropologist Margaret Mead in her research, fieldwork, films, and writings. The award is given to a filmmaker whose feature documentary displays artistic excellence and originality of storytelling technique while offering a new perspective on a culture or community remote from the majority of our audiences' experience.