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Doc Filmmakers: You Don't Need to Premiere at Sundance to Win an Oscar, But Most Nominees Debuted There

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire December 13, 2013 at 12:39PM

The changes in the Academy's documentary rules may have made it easier for the year's top documentaries to get some recognition come Oscar time. (Before, the small group of nominators were accused of having taste that seemed not to correspond with generally agreed upon quality and popularity.) So where do these high quality films premiere? This year, a staggering ten of the fifteen shortlisted films debuted at Sundance.
1

2012

"Battle for Brooklyn" = Hot Docs
"Bill Cunningham New York" = Sundance
"Buck" = Sundance
"Hell and Back Again" = Sundance
"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" = Sundance

"Jane's Journey" = not at a festival
"The Loving Story" = Full Frame
"Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" = TIFF
"Pina" = Berlinale

"Project Nim" = Sundance
"Semper Fi: Always Faithful" = Tribeca
"Sing Your Song" = Sundance
"Undefeated" = SXSW

"Under Fire: Journalists in Combat" = not at a festival?
"We Were Here" = Sundance

Sundance: 7
not at a fest: 2
Hot Docs: 1
Full Frame: 1
TIFF: 1
Berlinale: 1
Tribeca: 1
SXSW: 1

Nominees: 

Sundance: 2

Berlinale: 1
TIFF: 1
SXSW: 1

2013

"Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" = Sundance
"Bully" = TIFF
"Chasing Ice" = Sundance
"Detropia" = Sundance
"Ethel" = Sundance
"5 Broken Cameras" = IDFA
"The Gatekeepers" = Jerusalem International Film Festival

"The House I Live In" = Sundance
"How to Survive a Plague" = Sundance

"The Imposter" = Sundance
"The Invisible War" = Sundance

"Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" = TIFF
"Searching for Sugar Man" = Sundance

"This Is Not a Film" = Cannes
"The Waiting Room" = Full Frame

Sundance: 9
TIFF: 2
IDFA: 1
Jerusalem: 1
Cannes: 1
Full Frame: 1

Nominees:

Sundance: 4


Jerusalem: 1

2014

"The Act of Killing" = TIFF
"The Armstrong Lie" = Venice
"Blackfish" = Sundance
"The Crash Reel" = Sundance
"Cutie and the Boxer" = Sundance
"Dirty Wars" = Sundance
"First Cousin Once Removed" = NYFF
"God Loves Uganda" = Sundance
"Life According to Sam" = Sundance
"Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer" = Sundance
"The Square" = Sundance
"Stories We Tell" = Venice
"Tim's Vermeer" = TIFF
"20 Feet from Stardom" = Sundance
Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington = Sundance

Sundance: 10
TIFF: 2
Venice: 2
NYFF: 1

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Documentary, Festivals, SXSW







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