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International Documentary Awards Focus Spotlight on Oscar Contenders, from ‘Free Solo’ to ‘Dark Money’

A short list of movies are consensus picks among early awards groups, which gives them a better chance of being sampled.

at the 33rd Annual IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Theatre on December 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

The 33rd Annual IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Theatre on December 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Getty Images for International Documentary Association

With the sprawling number of high-caliber documentaries flooding every platform and clamoring for attention, the International Documentary Association Awards are a crucial curator pointing other awards groups in the direction of what they need to see. Academy documentary branch members, who are inundated with hundreds of movies to watch, aren’t necessarily keeping track of which movies won awards at festivals along the way.

So far, the influential DOC NYC shortlist and the Critics Choice Documentary Award nominees also included many of the IDA’s feature picks: On all three lists are Stephen Maing’s NYPD expose “Crime + Punishment,” fall box office hit E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s vertiginous “Free Solo,” rookie filmmaker Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap,” and Morgan Neville’s summer box office phenomenon “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” an emotionally wrenching portrait of the late TV star Fred Rogers.

Making two out of three are Kimberly Reed’s timely political thriller “Dark Money” and ReMell Ross’ “Hale County This Morning This Evening,” plus two summer hits, Betsy West & Julie Cohen’s “RBG” and Tim Wardle’s “Three Identical Strangers.”

In order to address the plethora of strong stories, the IDA has “expanded the number of nominees in the Best Feature and Best Short categories to ten films,” said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of IDA. “Documentary storytelling is a vital way to explore and make sense of our world, and these nominees illustrate how vibrant and essential films are to a healthy democracy.”

"Minding the Gap" director Bing Liu

“Minding the Gap” director Bing Liu

Emily Strong

The IDA is giving the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award to Chicago-based filmmaker Bing Liu for “Minding the Gap,” his examination of a group of skateboarders, including himself, with wrenching home lives. “Minding the Gap” broke out at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. Liu, along with co-editor Joshua Altman, will also receive the Best Editing Award for Minding The Gap.

And the coveted IDA Courage Under Fire Award — which is given to a filmmaker who demonstrates extraordinary courage in pursuit of the truth — will be presented to director Stephen Maing and all the NYPD12 whistleblowers of “Crime + Punishment.”

Winner of the Amicus Award is Chicken & Egg Pictures, which was founded in 2005 by Julie Parker-Benello, Judith Helfand, and Wendy Ettinger, and led by Executive Director Jenni Wolfson since 2013. Chicken & Egg Pictures has awarded $6.3 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to 300 filmmakers. Filmmakers who have been supported by Chicken & Egg include Dawn Porter, Grace Lee, Natalia Almada, and Laura Nix.

Three-time Academy Award nominee and co-founder of New Day Films Julia Reichert will receive the Career Achievement Award for her five-decade career supporting stories about women and working people.

Winners of the 34th edition of the IDA Awards will be announced at the ceremony on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Paramount Studios, hosted by Ricki Lake, director with Abby Esptein of the documentary “Weed the People” (Mangurama), which explores the medical use of cannabis in the treatment of children with cancer.

The IDA’s mission is “to build and serve the needs of a thriving documentary culture, provides year-round support, education, and advocacy for documentary makers,” and to provide $1.2 million annually in grants to support documentary filmmakers.

IDA Members can vote for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short starting November 4, 2018 until December 3, 2018.

The 2018 IDA Documentary Awards are sponsored by: NETFLIX, National Geographic Documentary Films, Showtime Documentary Films, A&E IndieFilms, Participant Media, RYOT, PBS, and Archibald Family Charitable Foundation. The Official Media Sponsor of the Awards is The Hollywood Reporter.

The full list of 2018 IDA awards honorees and nominees is below.

2018 IDA Awards Features Nominees

“Crime + Punishment” (Hulu. Director/Producer: Stephen Maing. Producers: Ross Tuttle and Eric Daniel Metzgar)

“Dark Money” (PBS Distribution. Director/Producer: Kimberly Reed. Producer: Katy Chevigny)

“Free Solo” (National Geographic. Directors/Producers: E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. Producers: Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill)

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (Cinema Guild. Director/Producer: RaMell Ross. Producers: Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)

“Minding the Gap” (Hulu/POV. Director/Producer: Bing Liu. Producer: Diane Quon)

“Of Fathers and Sons” (Kino Lorber. Director: Talal Derki. Producers: Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert and Hans Robert Eisenhauer)

“Sky and Ground” (World Channel (PBS). Directors/Producers: Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett. Producers: Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre)

“The Silence of Others” (Cinephil/POV. Directors/Producers: Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar)

“United Skates” (HBO. Directors/Producers: Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown)

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (Focus Features. Director/Producer: Morgan Neville. Producers: Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma)

2018 IDA Awards Shorts Nominees

“Black Sheep” (The Guardian. Director: Ed Perkins. Producers: Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn)

“Fear Us Women” (RYOT. Director: David Darg. Producer: Diego Traverso)

“Lifeboat” (Director/Producer: Skye Fitzgerald. Producer: Bryn Mooser)

“Los Comandos” (World Channel. Directors/Producers: Joshua Bennett and Juliana Schatz-Preston. Producers: Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff and Jessica Chermayeff)

“Mosul” (PBS Distribution. Director: Olivier Sarbil. Co-Director/Producer: James Jones. Producers: Dan Edge and Raney Aronson-Rath)

“Sidelined” (A&E IndieFilms. Director: Galen Summer. Producer: Jason Goldman.)

“The Girl and the Picture” (USC Shoah Foundation. Director/Producer: Vanessa Roth. Producers: Devorah Palladino and Stephen D. Smith)

“We Are Not Done Yet” (HBO. Director: Sareen Hairabedian. Producer: Jeffrey Wright and David Holbrooke)

“We Became Fragments” (The New York Times Op-Docs. Director/Producer: Luisa Conlon. Directors: Lacy Jane Roberts and Hanna Miller)

“Zion” (Netflix. Director/Producer: Floyd Russ. Producer: Carter Collins)

2018 IDA Awards Series Nominees

Curated Series

American Masters (PBS. Executive Producer: Michael Kantor)

Doc World (WORLD Channel. Executive Producer: Christopher Hastings)

Independent Lens (ITVS & Independent Lens / PBS. Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen)

POV (POV/American Documentary. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)

“Why Slavery?” (The Why Foundation. Executive Producers: Mette Hoffmann Meyer and Nick Fraser)

Episodic Series

“Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” (CNN. Executive Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig, Jared Andrukanis, Amy Entelis and Lizzie Fox)

“Christiane Amanpour: Sex & Love Around the World” (CNN. Executive Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Lydia Tenaglia, Christopher Collins, Joe Caterini, Anna Chai, Amy Entelis and Lizzie Fox)

“ESPN Films: Enhanced” (ESPN. Executive Producers: Gentry Kirby, Alex Gibney, Brad Hebert, Stacey Offman, Libby Geist and Connor Schell)

“Last Chance U” (Netflix. Executive Producers: Greg Whiteley, Joe LaBracio, Dawn Ostroff, James D. Stern and Lucas Smith)

“The Confession Tapes” (Netflix. Executive Producers: Philip David Segal, Sarah Whalen, Jeff Bumgarner, Steven Robillard, Kelly Loudenberg, James Graves and Devin Griffin)

“The Trade” (Showtime. Executive Producers: Matthew Heineman and Pagan Harleman)

Limited Series

“Best Shot” (YouTube. Director/Executive Producer: Michael John Warren. Executive Producers: LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard and Jordan Wynn)

“Bobby Kennedy for President” (Netflix. Director/Executive Producer: Dawn Porter. Executive Producers: Laura Michalchyshyn, Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes, Dave Sirulnick, Nestan Berhrans and Gunnar Dedio)

“Flint Town” (Netflix. Directors/Executive Producers: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper and Jessica Dimmock. Executive Producers: David Pritikin, Steve Golin and P.G. Morgan)

“November 13: Attack on Paris” (Netflix. Directors/Executive Producers: Jules Naudet and Gédéon Naudet. Executive Producer: Paul Barrois)

“Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story” (Paramount Network. Directors/Executive Producers: Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason. Executive Producers: Mike Gasparro, Shawn Carter, David Glasser, Chachi Senior, Nick Sandow, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton)

“Wild Wild Country” (Netflix. Directors: Chapman Way and Maclain Way. Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Josh Braun and Dan Braun)

Short Form Series

Guardian Documentaries (The Guardian. Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips and Lindsay Poulton)

Life Underground (Doc & Film international. Executive Producer: Laurence Milon)

MEL Films (Executive Producer: David Freid)

The New York Times Op-Docs (The New York Times. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo)

VICE on HBO (HBO. Executive Producers: Shane Smith, Tim Clancy and Subrata De)

2018 IDA Awards Music Documentary Nominees

“A Modern Man” (Rise and Shine World Sales. Director: Eva Mulvad. Producers: Sigrid Dyekjær and Sidsel Lønvig Siersted)

“Bathtubs Over Broadway” (Director/Producer: Dava Whisenant. Producers: Amanda Spain and Susan Littenberg)

“MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.” (Abramorama. Director/Producer: Steve Loveridge. Producers: Lori Cheatle, Paul Mezey and Andrew Goldman)

“Mr. SOUL!” (Director/Producer: Melissa Haizlip. Co-Director: Samuel D. Pollard)

“Whitney” (Roadside Attractions. Director: Kevin Macdonald. Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Lisa Erspamer)

2018 IDA Awards Creative Recognition Awards

Best Cinematography

Winner: “Distant Constellation” (Cinematographer: Shevaun Mizrahi)

“Crime + Punishment” (Cinematographer: Stephen Maing)

“Free Solo” (Cinematographer: Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer)

“Taste of Cement” (Cinematographer: Talal Khoury)

“The Distant Barking of Dogs” (Cinematographer: Simon Lereng Wilmont)

Best Editing

Winner: “Minding the Gap” (Editors: Bing Liu and Joshua Altman)

“Distant Constellation” (Editors: Shevaun Mizrahi and Shelly Grizim)

“Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle” (Editors: Raúl de Torres and Daniel Urdiales)

“Hale County This Morning, This Evening” (Editor: RaMell Ross)

“The Stranger” (Editor: Rasmus Stensgaard Madsen)

Best Writing

Winner: “The Other Side of Everything” (Writers: Mila Turajlic)

“Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun?” (Writer: Travis Wilkerson)

“Of Fathers and Sons” (Writer: Talal Derki)

“People’s Republic of Desire” (Writer: Hao Wu)

“Wild Relatives” (Writer: Jumana Manna)

Best Music Score

Winners: “Bisbee ’17” (Composer: Keegan DeWitt) and Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Composers: Scott Alario, Forest Kelley and Alex Somers)

“Bathtubs Over Broadway” (Composer: Anthony DiLorenzo)

“The Distant Barking of Dogs” (Composers: Uno Helmersson and Erik Enocksson)

“MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.” (Composers: Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks)

2018 IDA Awards Sponsored Special Awards

ABCNews VideoSource Award Nominees

“Jane Fonda in Five Acts” (HBO. Director/Producer: Susan Lacy. Producer: Emma Pildes and Jessica Levin)

“John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” (HBO. Directors/Producers: Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt)

“Love Means Zero” (Showtime. Director/Producer: Jason Kohn. Producers: Amanda Branson Gill, Anne White, Jill Mazursky and David Styne)

“Mercury 13” (Netflix. Directors/Producers: David Sington and Heather Walsh)

“Studio 54” (Zeitgeist Films. Director: Matt Tyrnauer. Producer: Corey Reeser, Matt Tyrnauer and John Battsek)

Pare Lorentz Award

Winner: “The Silence of Others” (Cinephil/POV. Directors/Producers: Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar)

Honorable Mention: “The Distant Barking of Dogs” (Cinephil. Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont. Producer: Monica Hellstrøm)

David L. Wolper Student Award Nominees

“Abrázame” (National Film and Television School. Director: Jas Doyle Pitt)

“Circle” (National Film and Television School. Director: Jayisha Patel)

“Forced” (UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director: Grace Oyenubi and Nani Walker)

“Palenque” (Northwestern University School of Communication. Director: Sebastián Pinzón Silva)

“Walker’s” (University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of Film Studies. Director: Kyle Myers-Haugh)

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