Changes are afoot for the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking, the annual event that spotlights achievement in documentary. Organizers unveiled a significant date change for 2010, moving the New York City-based event to January. Previously, the Cinema Eye honor were held in March, well after most other film awards events including the Academy Awards.
Nominations for the 2010 Cinema Eye Honors will be announced in early November at the Sheffield Doc Fest in the U.K.
“It felt strange to me to come back from SXSW [in March] and be writing the [Cinema Eye] script about ‘Watltz with Bashir’ and ‘Man on Wire’ and saying something that hasn’t been said before. Sundance really feels like the kick off of the new year, and there’s a conversation that happens then about the best films of the previous year and I feel that we should be a part of that conversation then being so much later,” said Cienema Eye founder AJ Schnack to indieWIRE Wednesday. “I think it would be better to be in the midst of the [awards] conversation and promoting the consideration about the artistry and craft of non-fiction film, which is what the [Cinema Eye Awards] are all about.
Additionally, Cinema Eye is expanding its team, with filmmaker Esther B. Robinson (“A Walk Into the Sea”) and newly named San Francisco International Film Festival director of programming, Rachel Rosen, joining filmmaker AJ Schnack (“Convention”) as co-chairs for the 2010 Cinema Eyes. Also, Andrea Meditch, who was the Executive Producer on the Cinema Eye winning films “Man On Wire” – which also took the Oscar last year – and “Encounters at the End of the World” will join the leadership team as chair of the Cinema Eye advisory board. She had previously served as an interim board member and becomes the committee’s first chair. Toronto International Film Festival Documentary Programmer Thom Powers, who co-chaired the first two editions of Cinema Eye with Schnack, will serve as chair of the Cinema Eye Nominations Committee.
Indiepix will continue to sponsor the 2010 event as part of its three-year contract, and the organization hopes to find additional support. “We feel it’s an event that should be owned by the community and we’ll be looking to have a larger sponshorship pool,” said Schnack. “Indiepix has been amazing in helping get Cinema Eye off the ground and we look forward to continue working with them again.”
Continuing on about the roles of Robinson and Rosen, Schnack indicated that he hoped their participation will expand the reach of the awards in its third year and beyond. “Thom [Powers] and I, with Indiepix’s help, has been a closed circle and it’s great to be opening up that circle this year and having a larger leadership team. Esther, having been working for filmmakers and protecting and advocating for filmmakers will bring a great perspective, and Rachel brings in all her years of experience, especially working intimately all these years with the Spirit Awards, so that brings in all sorts of great perspectives.” Rosen was recently named director of programming at the San Francisco International Film Festival after serving as head of programming at LAFF, which is under the same organization that produces the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards in February.
The Cinema Eye Honors were founded in 2007 to recognize artistic merit in the field of nonfiction filmmaking. The first edition of the awards were held in March 2008 at the IFC Center in New York. The exact dates for the Cinema Eyes in January will be announced in early Autumn.