After a weekend of documentary excitement at the IDFA, the nominations and awards just kept coming. Not only were there the IDA Awards on Friday and the European Film Awards yesterday, this week also saw Better This World win Best Documentary honour at the Gotham Awards and Sundance announce which films will make a shot at their festival in January. Here an overview.
Let’s start with the Gotham Independent Film Awards which were handed out in New York on Monday. As said, the compelling feature documentary Better This World, about the injustice done to two young men by the American justice system, won the award for best documentary, leaving great films such as Hell and Back Again, The Woodmans and Bill Cunningham New York with nothing.
The Interrupters, the Steve James’ film about violence interrupters in Chicago was also amongst the nominees which missed out, and not just here. The film has managed to miss every big award this year, including a mention on the Oscars shortlist. There is perhaps one more chance when the film gets to compete in January for the Cinema Eye Honors. However, it will be competing with Senna, Nostalgia for the light, Project Nim and The Arbor – not a bunch of lightweights.
The Gotham’s also awarded Scenes of a Crime with an award in the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You category, for which both nonfiction and narrative features are in competition. The film by directors Blue Hadaegh and Grover Babcock, is another crime documentary that questions the American justice system’s approach to upholding justice.
Coming back to Nostalgia for the Light, the film by Patricio Guzman was also a nominee on the list of the International Documentary Association Awards. The feature sees the filmmaker travel to the driest place on earth, the Atacama Desert, where atop the mountains astronomers from all over the world gather to observe the stars. But the Atacama is also known for other reasons as it is a place where the heat of the sun keeps the human remains of former political prisoners intact.
Receiving the IDA Award for his film this weekend, Guzman said in his speech: “A country that does not have documentary filmmaking is like a family without a photo album.” See the full list of winners and nominees here.
Last night in Berlin, the honors went to the filmmaker Wim Wenders (pictured at the top), who with the film Pina, about his friend and world famous choreographer Pina Bausch, won the European Film Academy award for best documentary. The other two nominees were the Dutch De Stand van de Sterren and ¡Vivan Las Antipodas!.
Pina is also nominated as Best Foreign Independent film at tonight’s British Independent Film Awards. The ceremony, which is hosted by actor and comedian Chris O’Dowd, might also bring some good news for the film Senna which is nominated in no less than three categories; Best British Independent Film, Best Technical Achievement and Best Documentary.
And this is not all that happened this week; the Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced their nominees for Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture award (which again includes Senna, project Nim and Bill Cunningham New York), and the list of selected films in the running for a prize at the Sundance Festival, which starts 19 January in Utah, has also been announced. The selection of the latter sees some familiar films which previously screened at the IDFA. Check out the article to see the complete updated list of selected films.