It should come as no surprise to anyone following the award season happenings that on Saturday night Bing Liu’s MINDING THE GAP was named Best Documentary at the 34th Annual IDA Documentary Awards at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles. Other honorees included Floyd Russ’s ZION (available via Netflix), which won Best Short, Chapman Way and Maclain Way’s WILD, WILD COUNTRY, which took home Best Limited Series, and Steve Loveridge’s MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A., which won best Music Documentary.
Looking toward the Oscars, Addie Morfoot outlined in Variety how campaign budgets and the influx of participation from streaming services has drastically changed the documentary Oscar race. She begins, “There’s no denying the race for documentary Oscar has changed dramatically in the past decade and even more so in the past five years. The reason for the shift? Money…Netflix, Amazon and Hulu all have deep pockets and aren’t afraid to make that known during Oscar season. (This year Netflix and Hulu boast docs like SHIRKERS, MINDING THE GAP and CRIME + PUNISHMENT)”. In contrast, Christopher Campbell imagined at Nonfics what this year’s Golden Globe doc nominees might have been if the category existed.
While awards season continues to heat up as trudge deeper into the winter season, early December is always host to many best of lists critics of all sorts. In The New Yorker, Richard Brody listed his favorite films of the year without order, including INFINITE FOOTBALL, THE REST I MAKE UP, NOTES ON APPEARENCE, THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING, POW WOW, as well as other more well known docs among his favorites. Meanwhile in The New York Times, Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott ranked theirs, with a quartet of docs taking Scott’s #1 slot. And at Vox, Alissa Wilkinson dropped a list of her top 11 favorite docs, with a few sadly hard to see picks like Sam Green’s scantily performed live production of A THOUSAND THOUGHTS and the minimally screened AMAZING GRACE taking prominence.
New Yorkers have much to celebrate with the release of the complete DOC NYC 2018 lineup. Featuring 135 feature-length documentaries, 42 of which are world premieres, the festival is set to run November 8-15 at the IFC Center in Greenwich Village and Chelsea’s SVA Theatre and Cinepolis Chelsea. The schedule can be found here. Breaking the news at Realscreen, Daniele Alcinii noted, “World premieres at the festival include two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple‘s NEW HOMELAND, which follows refugee boys from war-torn Syria and Iraq to a Canadian summer camp; Jed Rothstein’s ENEMIES: THE PRESIDENT, JUSTICE & THE FBI, a Showtime documentary series; Havana Marking and Sam Hobkinson’s THE KLEPTOCRATS, following investigative journalists uncovering the intricacies of the Malaysian financial scandal; and Clay Tweel’s OUT OF OMAHA, a coming-of-age tale of twin African-American brothers filmed over eight years.”
On Tuesday, the International Documentary Association unveiled its 34th IDA Documentary Awards shortlist, consisting of 31 feature films and 28 shorts. The final IDA nominations in each of the Feature and Short Documentary categories will be announced on October 24th, along with the Special and Creative Recognition Awards. Those shortlisted include festival favorites such as WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?, SHIRKERS, MINDING THE GAP and BISBEE ’17.
Our own 2018 Fall Season continues tomorrow night at IFC Center with THE SENTENCE by director Rudy Valdez, who will be on hand for a live post-screening Q&A. Sheila O’Malley of RogerEbert.com called it “A documentary portrait of the devastating impact mandatory minimum sentences have had on his [Valdez’s] family,” while in The New York Times, Ken Jaworowski warns, “You should add five minutes to the actual running time of THE SENTENCE. That’s about how long you’ll need to mop up your tears at the end of this emotional documentary.” Tickets for the screening are still available here.
Barely a week into December and the holiday/award season goodies are already being handed out in mass! While both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review named AMY the best doc of the year, the New York Film Critics Circle begged to differ by giving the title to a film close to their hearts (and zip codes), IN JACKSON HEIGHTS. As reported by Andrew Pulver of The Guardian, Ross A. Lincoln of Deadline, and various Hollywood Reporter staffers, Joshua Oppenheimer’s heavily favored THE LOOK OF SILENCE took home the prize for best doc early in the week at this year’s Gotham Independent Film Awards. And to continue the diverging chorus of opinions, Judith Dawson and Louise Osmond’s crowd pleasing DARK HORSE was named best doc at this year’s British Independent Film Awards.
Amidst this hail of honors, the International Documentary Association Awards also celebrated their 31st edition, naming THE LOOK OF SILENCE as the best doc feature, alongside a lengthy list of deserving honorees. In the wake of the announcements, a flurry of discussion as taken place in pieces from Rebecca Keegan in The Los Angeles Times, Nigel M. Smith of The Guardian, Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, Scott Feinberg in The Hollywood Reporter and Realscreen’s Manori Ravindran. In tandem with the IDA Awards, IDA executive director Simon Kilmurry briefly appeared on KCRW to discuss the state of documentaries. Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released their 15 film Oscar shortlist for documentary feature, including most of the expected contenders, including 11 films previously programmed as part of DOC NYC’s Shortlist section. Stephanie Goodman singled out AMY and THE HUNTING GROUND as forerunners in her report of the announcement in The New York Times, while at the POV Blog, Tom Roston aptly commented on the inclusion of 3 1/2 MINUTES, 10 BULLETS and WE COME AS FRIENDS, and the blatant snubbing of MONTAGE OF HECK and THE WOLFPACK. At indieWIRE, Anne Thompson and Peter Knegt revealed their predictions for the final 2016 Oscar contenders.
With eight films on this year’s Oscar shortlist having had their world premieres at Sundance earlier this year, it’s no secret that Park City has become a major springboard for non-fiction fare. So, despite all the excitement about awards, it was the Sundance Film Festival‘s revealing of their 2016 competition titles that sparked the most interest this week from critics and doc lovers alike. In his piece in The New York Times on the annoucement, Brooks Barnes riffs on this idea, noting that “Sundance, coming up on its 32nd installment, has long served as a launching pad for documentaries. TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, which went on to win the 2014 documentary Oscar, was first seen in competition.” Sandy Cohen of The Washington Post and Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie reflected on the festival’s lineup, while indieWIRE’s Eric Kohn and Kate Erbland listed “9 Hidden Gems from the 2016 Sundance Lineup,” singling out a pair of docs, including the anonymously directed HOLY HELL and Robert Greene’s KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE.
There’s no denying it now: Awards season is in full swing. This week the International Documentary Association announced the nominees for the 31st Annual IDA Documentary Awards, as well as their honorees who include Gordon Quinn, Ted Sarandos, Lyric R. Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe, Matthew Heineman, Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation. At indieWIRE, Anne Thompson mulled on the selections, contemplating how they’re beginning to shape the Oscars. Additionally, Variety’s Kristopher Tapley, Deadline’s Amanda N’Duka, The Hollywood Reporter’s Hilary Lewis and Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie each reported on the nominations.
In addition to the IDA Awards nominations, both the British Independent Film Award nominations and the European Film Awards nominations were announced. The BFI and Cineuropa’s Naman Ramachandran reported on the British Independent Film Award nominations, while Guy Lodge of Variety and David González published the nominees for the European Film Awards, also at Cineuropa. James Gay-Rees’ PALIO, which is among the British Independent Film Award nominees, was reviewed by Joe Leydon at Variety.
Tomorrow, Stranger Than Fiction continues with Jeff Malmberg’s modern doc classic, MARWENCOL. Following the screening, film subject Mark Hogancamp and co-author/film producer Chris Shellen will be doing a post-screening Q&A and signing of the new book “Welcome to Marwencol.” Tickets to the screening are still available and can be purchased here.
With both the New York Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival having just recently concluded on either side of the Atlantic, it seemed only fitting that DOC NYC and the Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival announce their complete line-ups this week to help keep our fall festival sugar rush going. Closing out the BFI London Film Festival, Jennifer Peedom took home the Grierson Award for Best Documentary for her mountain climbing doc SHERPA, while Daniel Walber wrote a rundown of the best docs at this year’s NYFF at Nonfics.
A few weeks back DOC NYC announced that Kim Longinotto would be among this year’s Visionaries Tribute honorees, receiving the Robert and Anne Drew Award for observational filmmaking. This week Realscreen’s Kevin Ritchie reported that Longinotto would also be the recipient of this year’s BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award. The International Documentary Association also released the names of the honorees for the 31st Annual IDA Documentary Awards, including Career Achievement Award winner Gordon Quinn, Founder and Artistic Director of Kartemquin Films, Pioneer Award honoree Ted Sarandos, the Chief Content Officer at Netflix, Amicus Award winners Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation, and the much deserving Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award winners Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe for their work on (T)ERROR.
In other festival news, DOC NYC’s Director of Programming, Basil Tsiokos previewed the non-fiction fare on offer at the upcoming New Orleans Film Festival, DocsDF: The International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City, and the Chicago International Film Festival at What (not) To Doc.
This week Stranger Than Fiction continues with the New York premiere of THE WANTED 18, Palestine’s official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award! Director Amer Shomali in attendance for a post-screening Q&A. Tickets are still available here.