Last Wednesday, IDFA announced the winners of its various 2017 competition programs, with Mila Turajlic’s TIFF alum THE OTHER SIDE OF EVERYTHING winning Best Feature-Length Documentary, Simon Lereng Wilmont won the IDFA Award for Best First Appearance for THE DISTANT BARKING OF DOGS, Best Mid-Length Documentary was awarded to Martin Benchimol and Pablo Aparo for THE DREAD, and Marcin Sauter took home Best Short Documentary for ZHALANASH – EMPTY SHORE. Running tandem the main festival, the IDFA Forum saw 58 projects from 23 countries pitched to potential funders and distributors reports Damon Wise for Variety. Covering the Forum for Realscreen, Selina Chignall put forth a trio of reports on the pitch highlights.
Earlier in the week, RIDM also revealed their 2017 award winners. The Grand Prize for Best International Feature went to ROOM FOR A MAN by Anthony Chidiac, TAMING THE HORSE by Tao Gu was named Best Canadian Feature, and OUVRIR LA VOIX by Amandine Gay won the People’s Choice Award.
“Four documentary projects screened at the AFI DOCS 2017 Film Festival, with presenting sponsor AT&T, will receive funding from the AFI DOCS/NBCUniversal Impact Grants,” announced the American Film Institute on Monday. The grants support outreach and social action campaigns for projects that participated in the AFI DOCS Impact Lab, including Laura Checkoway’s EDITH+EDDIE, Jeremy S. Levine and Landon Van Soest’s FOR AHKEEM, Peter Nicks’s THE FORCE, and Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s I AM EVIDENCE.
While the festivals were wrapping up all of their award announcements, the Film Independent Spirit Awards named their 2018 nominations, including those for Best Documentary: Lana Wilson’s THE DEPARTURE, Agnés Varda and JR’s FACES PLACES, Feras Fayyad’s LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, Ramona S. Diaz’s MOTHERLAND, and Jonathan Olshefski’s QUEST.
The Producers Guild of America also revealed their 2018 PGA Awards nominees for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures: CHASING CORAL, CITY OF GHOSTS, CRIES FROM SYRIA, EARTH: ONE AMAZING DAY, JANE, JOSHUA: TEENAGER VS. SUPERPOWER, and THE NEWSPAPERMAN: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BEN BRADLEE. If you’re feeling like there are a couple of noms coming out of left field, you’re not alone, as evidenced by Anne Thompson‘s piece at IndieWire in which she notes, “Among the lauded documentaries left off the 2017 PGA nominations were Cannes documentary winner FACES PLACES, directed by Agnes Varda and JR, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s portrait of Brooklyn Hassidim, ONE OF US, and popular Turkish cat documentary KEDI. While the PGA’s feature nominees often align with Oscar contenders, that’s not so true for the documentaries.”
The 45th International Emmy Awards also took place last week, seeing the Netflix doc series HIP-HOP EVOLUTION take home an Emmy for Arts Programming, and the BBC doc series EXODUS: OUR JOURNEY TO EUROPE being award in the Documentary category.
Jon Alpert’s long fermenting CUBA AND THE CAMERAMAN had its debut on Netflix on Friday after having its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, gleaning substantive coverage from David Ehrlich of IndieWire, Kase Wickman of HuffPost, Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times, and Valentina I. Valentini of Variety. Other notable doc coverage included Manohla Dargis‘s review of BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY in The New York Times, Gabriel Bell‘s look at THE PILGRIMS in Salon, Richard Brody ruminating on JIM & ANDY: THE GREAT BEYOND in The New Yorker, Louis Bolling‘s feature on QUEST in HuffPost, Tony Pipolo on The Non-Actor program season at the Film Society of Lincoln Center in Artforum, and Mallika Rao speaking with Hari Kondabolu about his new film THE PROBLEM WITH APU in Vulture. At The Globe and Mail, Kate Taylor asked five filmmakers give their thoughts on the subject of decolonization, while Barry Hertz took a look inside Telefilm’s sea change to promote new Canadian movies. And finally, The Guardian’s Barney Ronay asked, “Are we entering a golden age for the sports documentary?,” while in The New York Times, J. Hoberman celebrated Icarus Films’s new DVD box set of eight Jean Rouch films.
Until next week, if you have any tips or recommendations for the Memo, please contact me via email here, or on Twitter, @Rectangular_Eye.