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Cinema Eye Announce Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky as First Recipients of "Hell Yeah Prize"

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire November 3, 2011 at 3:31AM

Cinema Eye Announces Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky as First Recipients of the Hell Yeah Prize for their Paradise Lost Trilogy
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Cinema Eye Announces Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky as First Recipients of the Hell Yeah Prize for their Paradise Lost Trilogy

The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking have announced that "Paradise Lost" filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky are the winners of a new, periodic award called the Hell Yeah Prize.

The award is given to "filmmakers who have created works of incredible craft and artistry that also have significant, real-world impact." It will be presented on January 11, 2012 at the 5th Annual Cinema Eye Honors ceremony to be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. A screening of "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" will take place on January 10, also at the Museum of the Moving Image, and the film will have its HBO premiere later in January 2012.

Full press release below.

New York - The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking today announced a new, periodic award called the Hell Yeah Prize, to be given to filmmakers who have created works of incredible craft and artistry that also have significant, real-world impact. The inaugural Hell Yeah Prize will be presented to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for their HBO Documentary Films trilogy Paradise Lost, which played a critical role in securing the release from prison of the wrongly prosecuted and convicted West Memphis Three.

The award will be presented on January 11, 2012 at the 5th Annual Cinema Eye Honors ceremony to be held at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. A screening of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory will take place on January 10, also at the Museum of the Moving Image, and the film will have its HBO premiere later in January 2012.

“The mission of Cinema Eye is to prioritize outstanding artistry and craft in the field of documentary,” Cinema Eye Honors Co-Chair Esther Robinson said about the new award. “We wanted to find a way to recognize those films and filmmakers that excel at the highest levels to create great art and, as a result, also happen to affect change in the real world that is measurable. Joe and Bruce’s Paradise Lost trilogy - a two decade investigation of an outrageous case of wrongful prosecution and conviction - defines this award perfectly.”

“Joe and Bruce’s dogged determination to keep shining a light on this miscarriage of justice in Arkansas no doubt saved at least one of these young men from being put to death,” said Cinema Eye Honors Co-Chair AJ Schnack. “Their films inspired a global movement that refused to let the issue go away. The fact is that Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory truly stands on its own as one of the best films of 2011. We are honored to present this new award to these landmark filmmakers.”

“To be given the opportunity to work on a series of films that had such a tangible result as the release of the wrongfully convicted West Memphis Three from prison is enough of a reward for any filmmaker, so to be singled out for this inaugural Hell Yeah award is truly inspiring, “ said co-filmmaker Joe Berlinger.

Added Co-filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky: “We are truly grateful to the Cinema Eye Honors for providing this platform to celebrate the power of documentary filmmaking to make a difference in the world.”

About Joe Berlinger, Filmmaker

Two-time Emmy and Peabody winner Joe Berlinger has been a leading voice in nonfiction film and television for two decades. Berlinger’s films include the landmark documentaries Brother’s Keeper, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, a film that re-defined the rockumentary genre. Crude, about oil pollution in the Amazon Rainforest, debuted at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The film, which won 22 human rights, environmental and film festival awards, recently triggered a high-profile First Amendment battle with oil-giant Chevron. In addition to his feature documentary work, Berlinger has created many hours of television as both a producer and director, including the Emmy-winning History Channel series 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America and the Emmy-nominated Gray Matter. He has directed and produced five seasons of the critically acclaimed Sundance Channel series Iconoclasts and directed/executive-produced Masterclass, a new series for the Oprah Winfrey Network. His HBO productions include Addiction, Judgement Day and Virtual Corpse, and he has created series for VH1 and Court TV. His series The Wrong Man helped lead to the exoneration of Marty Tankleff, falsely imprisoned for 17 years for the killing of his parents. Berlinger’s dramatic television directorial credits include NBC's acclaimed hit drama Homicide: Life on the Street.

About Bruce Sinofsky, Filmmaker

Award-winning filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky was born in Boston, MA in 1956 and moved to NYC in 1974 to study at NYU film school. Shortly after finishing school, he began his work with the legendary filmmakers, David and Albert Maysles. In 1991, Sinofsky and longtime documentary partner Joe Berlinger produced, directed and edited the non-fiction feature Brother’s Keeper, named 1992’s “Best Documentary” by the DGA, the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Society of Film Critics. Together, Sinofsky and Berlinger went on to create many landmark films, including Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills, Where It’s At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union, and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, an acclaimed rockumentary about the superstar group. In 2001, Sinofsky directed Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy of Sun Records, which tells the definitive story of rock and roll's most influential record label. Sinfosky has also directed many hours of television, including 2002’s Hollywood High, 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America, numerous episodes of Sundance Channel’s acclaimed series Iconoclasts, and a segment of HBO’s Addiction. From 2007 to 2009, Sinofsky directed San Quentin Film School, a documentary series that follows a group of inmates as they learn the basics of filmmaking.

About the Paradise Lost films and the West Memphis Three

On May 5, 1993, the bodies of three eight-year-old boys were found next to a muddy creek in the wooded Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Ark. A month later, three teenagers, Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley, were arrested, accused and convicted of brutally raping, mutilating and killing the boys. Fraught with innuendoes of devil worship, allegations of coerced confessions and emotionally charged statements, the case was one of the most sensational in state history. The HBO films Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996) and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000) sparked a national debate about the innocence or guilt of the West Memphis 3. Chronicling the entire odyssey, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) is a riveting look at American justice and a celebration of the power of cinema to affect social change.

With the support of HBO, the filmmakers have stuck with the story over an 18-year period, making these compelling films in order to continue to shed light, raise awareness and spur debate about the events that transpired before, during and after the trials that led to their convictions. On August 19, 2011, just as Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory was nearing completion, the West Memphis Three were released from prison.

About the Cinema Eye Honors and the 2012 Awards

The Cinema Eye Honors were founded in 2007 to recognize excellence in artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking. It remains the only international nonfiction award to recognize the whole creative team, presenting annual craft awards in directing, producing, cinematography, editing, composing and graphic design/animation. The 5th edition of the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking will be held January 11, 2012 at New York City’s Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. Nominees for the 2012 awards were announced on October 26, 2011. A full list of nominees can be found at www.cinemaeyehonors.com.

Cinema Eye is headed by a core team that includes Co-Chairs Esther Robinson (director, A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory; Cinema Eye nominee for Outstanding Debut, 2008) and AJ Schnack (director, Kurt Cobain About A Son and founder of Cinema Eye), Producer Nathan Truesdell (producer, Convention), Nominations Committee Chair Sean Farnel (Former Head of Programming, Hot Docs Film Festival), Advisory Board Chair Andrea Meditch (executive producer, Buck and Man on Wire) and Filmmaker Advisory Board Chair Laura Poitras (director, The Oath; Cinema Eye winner for Outstanding Direction, 2011).

For more information about Cinema Eye, visit the website at http://www.cinemaeyehonors.com and follow Cinema Eye on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cinemaeyehonors.

This article is related to: Awards, Documentary





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