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JURY 2019




Thomas has been working as an independent director and producer of nonfiction films, specializing in international co-productions, since 1992. His initial projects include studies of filmmakers James Ivory and Michelangelo Antonioni.


Thomas directed his first film in 1996: Bosnia hotel — the story of Kanyan peacekeepers in Bosnia. This was followed by Maharajah Burger — about the mad cow crisis as seen from conversion to Christianity of a Papuan Chief, was honoured with the Silver Spire Award at the San Francisco IFF. He directed a sequel in Papua the fallowing year: Waiting For Jesus and completed the trilogy with the film Christ Comes to the Papuans.


Next documentary A Decent Factory (2004), was broadcasting worldwide to many coutries and recived more then 50 festival prizes, including Europa Award. In this documentary director follows the Ethical Researcher of Nokia company on her trip to China to examine suppliers of Nokia. 


In his film Babies (2010) Thomas Balmès criss-crosses the globe to observe and record the first two years in the lives of four infants and their families — from Mongolia to Namibia to San Francisco and Tokyo. The film was internationally well-received and praised for it’s brilliant simplicity and wonderfully conveyed feeling of happiness and joy. Contrary to popular belief that documentaries do not attract a lot of viewers, Babies also proved to be a major box office success grossing almost $10.000.000 worldwide. 


His next fim Happiness (2014) reflecting impact in a moment of authorization television and Internet in Bhutan, — a story through eyes eight years old monk Peyangki, preying eagerly for a TV set in the last village in Bhutan to go through the process of globalization. The film premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival and won The Documentary World Cinema Cinematography Award. The documentary was also selected for many prestigious International Film festivals and received a number of prizes.


Thomas is regularly invited to conduct lectures and master classes in France and abroad such as Brown University, the Watson Institute, Lisbon International Film Festival, etc.

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