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International Documentary Association Nominations Impact the Oscar Shortlist

International Documentary Association Nominations Impact the Oscar Shortlist

The International Documentary Association nominations for the 2014 IDA Documentary Awards have landed. As more and more high quality documentaries are made each year, the IDA nominations and other awards become crucial in the next weeks, as the documentary branch of the Academy just received their last packet of screeners. Each member has to see 20% of the films–assigned to them by the branch–and then can see as many others as they can cram in. Thus these nominations below help them to decide what to watch. The Oscar doc feature short list will be announced no later than the first week of December, per the Academy.

The 30th IDA Award winners will be presented on Friday, December 5th at the Paramount Theatre at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

Already frontrunners in the Oscar race are the following IDA’s Feature nominees:

CITIZENFOUR,” Laura Poitras’ acclaimed portrait of whistleblower Edward Snowden and surveillance in the post 9/11 age; as well as “Finding Vivian Maier,” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s detective story about the unexpected discovery of one of the 20th Century’s greatest photographers, which also landed a writing award, and “The Salt of the Earth,” Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado’s exhilaratingly beautiful examination of the life and work of photographer Sebastião Salgado.

Also nominated are Marshall Curry’s “Point and Shoot” which tracks Matt Van Dyke’s personal odyssey in North Africa including fighting and imprisonment during the revolution in Libya; and Nick Broomfield’s Tales of the Grim Sleeper,” an investigation into the notorious serial killer who terrorized South Central Los Angeles over 25 years. 

Notably missing from this list is the widely praised doc from Steve James, Roger Ebert biodoc Life Itself,” which may have been penalized for its high profile since Sundance. CNN and Magnolia released the film. Also snubbed by the IDA are the respected “The Case Against 8,” “Code Black,” “E-Team,” “Happy Valley,” “Masters of Deceit,” “Mission: Blue,” “Red Army,” and “Rich Hill.”

Rookie filmmaker Alan Hicks’ Clark Terry jazz doc “Keep on Keepin’ On,” which producer Quincy Jones has been promoting with Academy members, is nominated for the IDA Humanitas prize. Rory Kennedy’s portrait of honorable military men, “Last Days in Vietnam” scored the best editing award. 

Interestingly, there is only one overlap between the five short docs and the Academy doc shortlist: “Our Curse,” in which director Tomasz Śliwiński chronicles his family’s struggle with Ondine’s Curse. The others are:

“Ghost Train,” a film from James Fleming and Kelly Hucker about the mystery of growing old;  Edgar Barens’ “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall,” which details Hall’s final months in prison hospice being cared for by fellow inmates; “The Queen,” Manuel Abramovich’s portrait of an 11-year-old Queen of the Carnival; and “Tashi and the Monk,” from Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke, the tale of 5-year-old Tashi who joins a community of orphaned and unwanted children founded by former Buddhist monk Lobsang Phuntsok.
Winners in the Best Feature and Best Short categories are selected by IDA’s international membership. Screening committees based in New York City, Washington, DC, Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles determine other award categories.
Five productions are nominated for the Curated Series Award: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE (PBS), AMERICAN MASTERS (PBS), INDEPENDENT LENS (ITVS/PBS), POV (American Documentary | POV) and REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL (HBO Sports). Limited Series nominees are: CHICAGOLAND (CNN), COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY (FOX), THE SIXTIES (CNN), TIME OF DEATH (Showtime Networks, Inc.) and YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (Showtime Networks, Inc). Nominees in the Episodic Series category are ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN (CNN), MORGAN SPURLOCK INSIDE MAN (CNN), OPRAH’S MASTER CLASS (OWN), OUR AMERICAN WITH LISA LING (OWN) and VICE (HBO). In the Short Form Series category, A SHORT HISTORY OF THE HIGHRISE (National Film Board of Canada and The New York Times), LAST CHANCE HIGH (VICE News), OP-DOCS (The New York Times), PLANET MONEY MAKES A T-SHIRT (NPR) and RUSSIAN ROULETTE (VICE News) are nominated.
Nominees for the HUMANITAS Documentary Award, given to a documentarian whose film strives to unify the human family by exploring and transcending cultural barriers, are: HOW I GOT OVER (Nicole Boxer, director), KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON (Alan Hicks, director), and LIMITED PARTNERSHIP (Thomas G. Miller, director). 
Five student films are nominated for the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: CAST IN INDIA, (Natasha Raheja, director), EVAPORATING BORDERS (Iva Radivojevic, director), HOTEL 22 (Elizabeth Lo, director), MY DAD’S A ROCKER (Zuxin Hou, director) and SOLITARY PLAINS (J. Christian Jensen, director). 
Nominees for the ABCNews VideoSource Award, which recognizes compelling use of news footage in documentary filmmaking, include: 1971 (Johanna Hamilton, director), CAPTIVATED THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART (Jeremiah Zagar, director), CONCERNING VIOLENCE (Göran Hugo Olsson, director), THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT KENNEDY (Gary Goeztman, Tom Hanks, Mark Herzog, executive producers) and THE JOE SHOW (Randy Murray, director).
The IDA Creative Recognition Awards honor excellence in cinematography, composing, editing, and writing in documentary feature films. The recipients of these awards represent the highest achievements in their respective crafts, and highlight the importance of their work in compelling documentary storytelling.  ELEVATOR (cinematography by Hatuey Viveros Lavielle) will be recognized with the Best Cinematography Award presented by Canon, LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM (edited by Don Kleszy) will receive the Best Editing award; ALFRED AND JAKOBINE (music by Nick Urata) will be presented with the Best Music award, and FINDING VIVIAN MAIER (written by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel) will receive the Best Writing award.
Darius Clark Monroe, director of EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, will receive IDA’s Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award, which recognizes the achievements of a filmmaker who has made a significant impact at the beginning of his or her career in documentary film. The winner of the Emerging Documentary Award receives $5,000 in cash and a donation of post-production services valued at $50,000, made possible by sponsors Red Fire Films and Modern VideoFilm.
EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, Monroe’s feature film debut, premiered at SXSW 2014. It won the Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award and The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and was selected for a Spike Lee Production Fellowship and a Warner Bros. Film Award. The film has received a grant from Cinereach and other significant support. Monroe is a MFA Graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has won screenplay awards including one from the National Board of Review, and has been selected to participate in the Screenwriters Colony and as a fellow at the Sundance Institute Screenwriters Intensive.
The Pare Lorentz Award is given at the IDA Documentary Awards to recognize films that demonstrate exemplary filmmaking while focusing on environmental and social issues. This year’s Pare Lorentz Award recognizes the film TASHI AND THE MONK, co-directed by Andrew Hinton and Johnny Burke.  Also nominated for Best Short, TASHI AND THE MONK tells the story of Buddhist monk Lobsang Phuntsok and 5-year-old Tashi Drolma, the newest arrival to the community for abandoned and orphaned children that Phuntsok established in the foothills of the Himalayas. 
In addition to recognizing the year’s best in documentary filmmaking and nonfiction programming, the 2014 IDA Documentary Awards will honor Robert Redford, acclaimed filmmaker and actor, ardent conservationist and environmentalist, and founder of the world-renowned Sundance Institute with its Career Achievement Award. Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, award-winning filmmakers and founders of World of Wonder, will receive the Pioneer Award and Rithy Panh, Academy Award®-nominated filmmaker and founder of the Bophana Audiovisual Resources Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, will receive IDA’s Preservation and Scholarship Award.

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