Award season rolls on! Thursday evening saw the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association announce the winners of the second annual Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards with Brett Morgen’s JANE being named Best Documentary, while Evgeny Afineevsky and Frederick Wiseman were co-honored with Best Director for CRIES FOR SYRIA and EX LIBRIS: THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, respectively. Ceyda Torun’s debut feature KEDI won Best First Documentary, as Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s THE VIETNAM WAR took home Best Documentary Series.
In tandem with the Critics’ Choice Doc Awards, the International Documentary Association named its nominations for the 2017 IDA Awards, with Matthew Heineman’s CITY OF GHOSTS, Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’s DINA, Agnès Varda and JR’s FACES PLACES, Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s LA 92, and Yance Ford’s STRONG ISLAND all up for Best Documentary. The British Independent Film Awards also unveiled their own nominations this past week. Those up for Best Documentary include Aaron Brookner’s UNCLE HOWARD, Carol Salter’s ALMOST HEAVEN, Lucy Cohen’s KINGDOM OF US, Morgan Matthews’s WILLAMS, and Daisy-May Hudson’s HALF WAY.
DOC NYC is nearing, and to celebrate they’ve been running flash sales on tickets at 5 for $5 for select films. The current sale runs through noon today. On Wednesday, the festival announced its 2017 jury members, featuring the likes of filmmakers Doug Block and Andrew Rossi, as well as Vox film critic Alissa Wilkinson, Women Make Movies’s Debra Zimmerman and more.
With nominations from various organizations being announced this week, we can no longer deny that we are now in the midst of award season. The IDA Documentary Awards revealed their initial nominations for its 33rd edition, including those up for the ABC News VideoSource Award for best use of news footage in a documentary: BLOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN, ICARUS, OBIT., ELIÁN and LA 92. Those wishing to attend the award ceremony on December 9th at the Paramount Theatre in LA can still purchase tickets here through October 27th. IDA also announced this year’s Enterprise Documentary Fund Grantees who received $850,000 in funding across 11 projects.
Last Tuesday, Cinema Eye announced their annual list of Unforgettables, “which annually celebrates the exciting and sometimes tricky collaborations between filmmaker and subjects by noting those indelible individuals who helped define documentary cinema in 2017.” Among the 30 individuals from 15 different films named were Daje Shelton from FOR AHKEEM, Ola Kaczanowska of COMMUNION, Yance Ford from STRONG ISLAND, and Christine’a Rainey, Christopher “Quest” Rainey, PJ Rainey and William Withers from QUEST. Anne Thompson broke the story over at IndieWire.
Following shortly thereafter, the IFP Gotham Awards unveiled their own nominations, including for a quintet of films up for Best Documentary, including EX-LIBRIS – THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY, RAT FILM, STRONG ISLAND, WHOSE STREETS?, and THE WORK. Tickets for the award ceremony to take place on November 27th at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City can be purchased here.
Early in December there is always an avalanche of awards and lists and festival announcements and more, so it’s no surprise that at the top of this week’s news is that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released it’s shortlist of the 15 films still in the running for the Oscar for Best Documentary. Cara Buckley highlighted the racially and politically driven focus of this year’s shortlisters for The New York Times, while Christopher Campbell outlined where can find all 15 films over at Nonfics. The 32nd annual IDA Documentary Awards also took place this past week, with Ezra Edelman’s O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA winning Best Feature, Orlando von Einsiedel’s THE WHITE HELMETS winning Best Short, and Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi’s MAKING A MURDERER taking home Best Limited Series. Additionally, IDA published a lengthy interview with its Amicus Award Honorees, Norman and Lyn Lear. Other award news included the European Film Academy naming Gianfranco Rosi’s FIRE AT SEA as the Best European Documentary at the European Film Awards over the weekend, and Cinema Eye Honors naming their immensely diverse 2017 Heterodox Award nominees in ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, THE FITS, KATE PLAYS CHRISTINE, MOUNTAINS MAY DEPART, and NEON BULL.
Adding to the chorus of praise that is awards season, a whole host of best of lists turned up over the last week, each with their own nonfiction infusion. The staffers over at The New York Times, Vulture, Slant and IndieWire, each published their’s. Included between the lists was NO HOME MOVIE, WEINER, CAMERAPERSON, HOMELAND: IRAQ YEAR ZERO, and of course, O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA, amongst others.
Just a week after Sundance dropped its competition linup, its Premieres section has been revealed and features new work from Lucy Walker, Barbara Kopple, Stanley Nelson, Rory Kennedy and more. Shortly thereafter, the Documentary Shorts were also announced. On the opposite coast, the Tribeca Film Festival hired former SVP of acquisitions and productions at Alchemy, Jeff Deutchman as its new Programmer at Large, according to Graham Winfrey of IndieWire. And Basil Tsiokos looked at the new nonfiction offerings of this year’s Dubai International Film Festival, while Leo Goldsmith looked back at his experience at Doclisboa for Film Comment.
Light on general doc commentary and festival news, this week was instead overflowing with awards season announcements. First, the IDA Documentary Awards named their long list of nominees, with 13TH, FIRE AT SEA, O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA, CAMERAPERSON, I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO and WEINER listed in the running for Best Feature. The following day, the Cinema Eye Honors, now in their 10th year, released their own list of nominees, with the same films up for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking, minus 13TH. On Thursday evening, Ezra Edelman and Ava DuVerney came away the big winners at the inaugural Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, as O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA came away with 4 awards, including Best Documentary (Theatrical Feature) and Best Director (Theatrical Feature), and 13TH with 3 awards, including Best Documentary (TV/Streaming) and Best Director (TV/Streaming).
Across the pond, the British Independent Film Awards listed a completely different set of films with their 2016 nominees for Best Documentary – THE CONFESSION: LIVING THE WAR ON TERROR, DANCER, THE HARD STOP, NOTES ON BLINDNESS and VERSUS: THE LIFE AND FILMS OF KEN LOACH. The European Film Awards followed suit with another diverse list of nominees for Best European Documentary in 21 X NEW YORK, A FAMILY AFFAIR, MR. GAGA, S IS FOR STANLEY, THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED and of course, FIRE AT SEA.
With DOC NYC on the verge of its inception, its director of programming, Basil Tsiokos, continues to preview the festival’s copious offerings at What (not) To Doc. David Morgan of CBS News also began to sift through the immense lineup, noting that “145 documentary features — nearly a record — have qualified for submission for this year’s Academy Awards. Audiences at this year’s DOC NYC Festival will find no shortage, either, with more than 250 films and events scheduled, including 110 feature-length documentaries, nearly half of which were directed or co-directed by women.” Riding that same wave of excitement, the folks over at Cinema Tropical listed the Latino films scheduled to screen at the festival.