Monday Memo: STRONG ISLAND Tops 11th Annual Cinema Eye Honors

Director Yance Ford and his remarkable heart-wrenching debut STRONG ISLAND received a trio of major awards at the 11th annual Cinema Eye Honors in Queens on Thursday evening, including Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Debut and Outstanding Nonfiction Feature Film. Additionally, Brett Morgen’s JANE was honored with the Audience Choice Prize and the award for Outstanding Score, while Jonathan Olshefski’s QUEST won Outstanding Editing, Kareem Abeed, Stefan Kloos and Soren Steen Jespersen won Outstanding Production for LAST MEN IN ALEPPO, Andrew Ackerman and Jeff Orlowski won Outstanding Cinematography for CHASING CORAL, and Stefan Nadelman won Outstanding Graphic Design for LONG STRANGE TRIP.

Earlier in the week, the Directors Guild of America revealed its nominees for Best Documentary of 2017 – THE VIETNAM WAR, ICARUS, CITY OF GHOSTS, ABACUS: SMALL ENOUGH TO JAIL & WORMWOOD – as did the British Film Academy Awards (BATFAs) – CITY OF GHOSTS, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, ICARUS, AN INCONVENIENT SEQUEL & JANE. Leading the way in its support of women nonfiction filmmakers, Chicken & Egg Pictures, via Rachel Montpelier at Women and Hollywood, announced that the recipients of their annual Breakthrough Filmmaker Awards are Natalia Almada, Ramona Diaz, Laura Nix, Kimi Takesue, and Nanfu Wang. Each filmmaker is to recieve a $50,000 unrestricted grant and a year of professional mentorship.

As we wait for Sundance to kick off later this week, Akiva Gottlieb reported for IDA on UnionDocs‘ “weekend workshop called ‘Speculations in the Archive,’ a sold-out gathering that explored the archive’s potential to spur imagination and invention.” The verdict? “If there’s something that links the new practitioners of what might be called speculative archival filmmaking, it’s the conviction that documentary can be the product of solitude, and that communion with inanimate materials can generate the most thrilling, immediate forms of direct cinema.”

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Monday Memo: IDFA Names Festival Award Winners

This week the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) named its award winners, with SONG FROM THE FOREST named the best feature-length documentary. At DocGeeks, Alexandra Zeevalkink also had coverage of the awards, as did Jennifer Merin of Brian Brooks of the Film Society of Lincoln Center website reported on the the new doc AI WEI WEI: THE FAKE CASE from director Andreas Johnson, which premiered at IDFA. Emma Norton of the DocGeeks blog also took a look at the new Ai Wei Wei doc. Peter Knegt of Indiewire also reported that IDFA had named a special jury award in honor of the late Peter Wintonick. Realscreen’s Adam Benzine reported that international rights–excluding the U.S.–for AMERICAN ARAB had been nabbed by Cargo Film & Releasing at IDFA. And the POV blog this week took note of the digital storytelling manifesto that came out of Quebec recently.

Award season unofficially kicked off this week, apparently. Barry Walsh of Realscreen reported that Ken Loach would receive an honorary Golden Bear award at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival. Walsh also had news of the Film Independent Spirit Awards’ nominees for the documentary prize, as did Christopher Campbell of and Peter Knegt of Indiewire. At The Wrap, Steve Pond had coverage of the Producers Guild of America doc award nominees. And Adam Benzine covered the Montreal International Documentary Film Festival (RIDM) awards for Realscreen.

The Cinema Eye Honors named its nominees for its Heterodox award, given to a film that bridges the gap between fiction and documentary. Kevin Ritchie covered the news at Realscreen, with Sara Salovaara doing the same for Filmmaker Magazine. At, Christopher Campbell wrote up the Heterodox award nominees, along with the news that Josh Fox would receive the Hell Yeah Prize for his GASLAND docs.

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