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New documentary award announced

Posted January 8th, 2008 by ingrid

Yesterday AJ Schnack announced the launch of a new nonfiction filmmaking awards event to take place at the IFC Center in NYC on March 18th this year. Readers of Schnack’s blog will know that he has been a very vocal critic of the Oscar shortlist for being too issue-based and not recognizing the importance of the craft of filmmaking and storytelling. These new awards are designed to correct this and the lovely folk at Indiepix have come on board to support the endeavor. The awards will be co-chaired by AJ Schnack and Thom Powers, Documentary Programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival and the nominating committee included programmers from North America’s top film festivals, all of whom are champions of documentaries in all their many and wonderful forms:

Thom Powers (Chair), Documentary Programmer, Toronto International Film Festival
Phoebe Brush, Director of Programming, Full Frame Film Festival
Matt Dentler, Producer, South by Southwest Film Festival
Sean Farnel, Director of Programming, Hot Docs
Tom Hall, Director of Programming, Sarasota Film Festival
David Kwok, Director of Programming, Tribeca Film Festival
Cara Mertes, Director of Sundance Documentary Film Program, Sundance Film Festival
David Nugent, Director of Programming, Hamptons International Film Festival
Rachel Rosen, Director of Programming, Los Angeles Film Festival
Sky Sitney, Director of Programming, SilverDocs
David Wilson, Director, True/False Film Festival
Brit Withey, Artistic Director of Festivals, Starz Denver Film Festival

It’s also really nice to see that filmmakers will not have to sell their children to be included in this list and that films are not being excluded for rogue foreign broadcasts and other Academy misdemeanors. I’m so glad to see The Monastery on this list for example as it was definitely one of my favorite films of last year. You can read more about the genesis of these awards and about the eligibility rules on Schnack blog. This is the shortlist of films for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking which certainly includes more of my favorites than the Academy shortlist although I wish The King of Kong was on here and I’m sure I’ll start thinking of other films when my coffee kicks in:

BILLY THE KID
DEEP WATER
THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK
GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
INTO GREAT SILENCE
LAKE OF FIRE
MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET)
THE MONASTERY – MR. VIG AND THE NUN
NO END IN SIGHT
SICKO
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE
THE UNFORESEEN
ZOO

Good work AJ and everybody else involved! It makes me really happy when discussions in the documentary community turn into tangible results like this. It makes you realize that we’re not all just farting in a jar and that is very inspiring. Makes me want to DO SOMETHING DO MORE this year.

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