"Detropia," "Only the Young," "Room 237" and "¡Vivan las Antipodas!" received four nominations each.
Cinema Eye is often posited as an alternative to the Academy Awards' best-documentary race, which has had to fight the perception of overlooking popular and well-regarded documentaries every year.
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However, Cinema Eye may be even more noteworthy for taking a granular look at the art of documentaries, with categories that include achievements is graphic design and animation, editing and score.
"[Other documentary awards] are mostly about the directors," said Cinema Eye cochair AJ Schnack. "This is really about the whole creative team. Usually they don't even know when the premieres are. Here, they're the representatives for the film."
This is the first year that nominees for the top category were determined by votes from both the 25-person nominations committee as well as more than 60 directors of this year’s eligible films.
Cinema Eye made the announcement at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which is currently hosting the AFI FEST.
The full list of nominated documentaries follows.