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Take That, Oscars! Academy-Snubbed “Interrupters” Wins Cinema Eye’s Top Prize

Take That, Oscars! Academy-Snubbed "Interrupters" Wins Cinema Eye's Top Prize

At last night’s documentary community love fest that is the annual Cinema Eye Honors, Steve James’ Oscar-snubbed “The Interrupters” took home the award for best feature film and best director. “The Interrupters” examines a group of Chicago citizens who organize to intervene in street disputes.

“Tonight, I really don’t care about the Oscars,” said James. Ameena Matthews, the charismatic subject of his film who was recently named 2011’s best film performance by TIME Magazine, countered, “I still care about the Oscars!”

Cindy Meehl’s horse-whisperer documentary “Buck” won the Audience Choice Prize.

After receiving the inaugural Hell Yeah Prize, given to honor a documentary with real-world impact, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” director Joe Berlinger recounted the experience of debuting the first “Paradise Lost” film on HBO.  

“Something magical happened,” Berlinger said, “when the first film aired. Tens of thousands of people stepped out and did something.” The release of the West Memphis Three in Arkansas has been attributed to Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s trilogy of “Paradise Lost” films, which all aired on HBO.

The late Tim Hetherington won the award for best short film, and in accepting the award, his mother received a standing ovation after calling her son an inspiration for the family’s continued work for global justice.

Previous Cinema Eye winner Jeff Malmberg (“Marwencol”) summed up the sentiments from last night’s ceremony the best when he remembered something Cinema Eye co-chair AJ Schnack told him when the two first met: “Consider yourself lucky. You get to be a part of a community of people who are doing exactly what they want to be doing.”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

The Interrupters
Directed by Steve James
Produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Steve James

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Steve James
The Interrupters

Audience Choice Prize

Directed by Cindy Meehl
Outstanding Achievement in Production
Gian-Piero Ringel and Wim Wenders

Outstanding Achievement in Editing

Gregers Sall and Chris King

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

Danfung Dennis
Hell and Back Again

Spotlight Award

The Tiniest Place
Directed by Tatiana Huezo Sánchez
Heterodox Award

Directed by Mike Mills

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
Directed by Tim Hetherington

Outstanding Achievement in an Original Music Score

John Kusiak

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation

Rob Feng and Jeremy Landman

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film

Clio Barnard
The Arbor

Hell Yeah Prize

Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
The Paradise Lost Trilogy

Legacy Award

Titicut Follies
Directed by Frederick Wiseman

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