Oscar 2011: International Documentary Association Nominees

LOS ANGELES, October 27, 2011–The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced nominations and honorary awards for the 2011 IDA Documentary Awards today. The 27th Annual IDA Documentary Awards will be held on Friday, December 2 at the Director’s Guild in Los Angeles.

“The past year has been a remarkable one for documentary films,” said IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin, “on both a national and international level documentary films have demonstrated time and time again the power of nonfiction storytelling to change lives and have direct impact on our world.”

The five films nominated in IDA’s Feature category are: BETTER THIS WORLD, Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega’s riveting account of two boyhood friends from Midland, Texas who wind up arrested on terrorism charges at the 2008 Republican National Convention; HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, Peter Richardson’s life-affirming and staggeringly powerful portrait of what it means to die with dignity; Chilean master director Patricio Guzmán’s moving, and deeply personal odyssey, NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT; Daniele Anastasion and Eric Strauss’ compelling portrait, THE REDEMPTION OF GENERAL BUTT NAKED, which confronts hard questions about both the power and limits of forgiveness in a nation searching for healing and justice; and from Mexico, THE TINIEST PLACE (EL LUGAR MAS PEQUENO), Tatiana Huezo’s story of an annihilated Salvadorian town that re-emerges through the strength and deep love of its inhabitants for the land and the people.

The five nominated films in the Short category are: BROKEN DOORS, Goro Toshima’s look at a young, homeless couple, struggling to survive on the streets of Hollywood; Barbara Hammer’s MAYA DEREN’S SINK, an engaging tribute to the mother of avant-garde American film; MINKA, Davina Pardo’s intimate story about architecture, memory and the meaning of home; Sara Nesson’s POSTER GIRL, a portrait of an all-American high-school cheerleader turned ‘poster girl’ for women in combat struggling with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress order (PTSD); and THE WARRIORS OF QIUGANG, Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon’s look at villagers in a remote district of central China who battle a chemical company that is poisoning their water and air.

IDA also announced that the Best Feature and Best Short award winners would again be selected by IDA’s members through an innovative online viewing and voting process. Launched in 2010, the secure, password-protected online system will allow IDA members to cast their votes online after viewing each of the five nominees in the Feature and Short categories. Screening committees of industry professionals based in New York City, Washington, DC, the San Francisco Bay Area, Vancouver, BC, Canada and Los Angeles determine other award categories.

The five nominees for the Continuing Series Award are: 30 FOR 30 (ESPN Films), AMERICAN EXPERIENCE (WGBH), THE PASSIONATE EYE (CBC), POV (American Documentary, Inc. | POV) and VANGUARD (Current). Limited Series nominees are: BOOMTOWN (Planet Green), IF GOD IS WILLING AND DA CREEK DON’T RISE (HBO Documentary Films), ON SERIES (Current), MICHAEL FEINSTEIN’S AMERICAN SONGBOOK (PBS) and THE NATIONAL PARKS PROJECT (Discovery World HD).

Nominees for the IDA HUMANITAS Award are: THE CARRIER (Maggie Betts, Director), HOW TO DIE IN OREGON (Peter Richardson, Director), THE LEARNING (Ramona Diaz, Director), POSITION AMONG THE STARS (Leonard Retel Helmrich, Director) and THE TINIEST PLACE (EL LUGAR MAS PEQUENO) (Tatiana Huezo, Director). Five student films are nominated for the DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD: GUAÑAPE SUR (János Richter, Director), HEART-QUAKE (Mark Olexa, Director), RIVER OF VICTORY (Trevor Wright, Director), SMOKE SONGS (Briar March, Director) and TRANSIT (Regina Tan, Director).

Nominees for the ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD, which recognizes the use of news footage in documentary filmmaking include: BEST BAND IN THE LAND (Amber Edwards, Director/Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook- Episode 2), THE GREEN WAVE (Ali Ahadi, Director), THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA: DANIEL ELLSBERG AND THE PENTAGON PAPERS (Judith Ehrlich & Rick Goldsmith, Directors/POV), THE PRUITT-IGOE MYTH (Chad Freidrichs, Director) and REAGAN (Eugene Jarecki, Director/HBO Documentary Films).

The IDA will award its prestigious 2011 Career Achievement Award to legendary documentary filmmaker Les Blank. This award is given to a filmmaker who has made a major impact on the documentary genre through a long and distinguished body of work. 

For over 40 years, Les Blank has created films about the lives and music of passionate people who live at the periphery of American society, including rural Louisiana French musicians and cooks; Mexican-Americans; chef Alice Waters and other San Francisco Bay Area garlic fanatics; Appalachian fiddlers; Polish-American polka dancers; rock musicians; and even gap-toothed women. With the selection of Blank’s Garlic Is As Good As Good Mothers and Chulas Fronteras for The National Film Registry, the filmmaker joined Fred Wiseman and the Maysles brothers as the only documentarians to be honored with two films on the Registry list.

The New York Times’ Vincent Canby declared that Blank “is a master of movies about the American idiom… one of our most original filmmakers.” Werner Herzog, recipient of IDA’s Career Achievement Award in 2008 and subject of Blank’s Burden Of Dreams and Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, will present the Award.

In previous years, IDA has bestowed its Career Achievement Award on documentary luminaries such as Barbara Kopple, Errol Morris, and Michael Moore.

Each year IDA also recognizes the achievements of a filmmaker who has made a significant impact at the beginning of his or her career in documentary film. Danfung Dennis, director of one of the year’s most celebrated films, HELL AND BACK AGAIN, will receive the 2011 Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.

A still photographer who has covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2006, Danfung Dennis won the 2010 Bayeux-Calvados Award For War Correspondents and in the same year was named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmaker Magazine. He directed and filmed his first feature length documentary on the war in Afghanistan, HELL AND BACK AGAIN, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and won both the World Cinema Jury Award and the World Cinema Cinematography Award. The film has also received awards at the Moscow International Film Festival and the Camden International Film Festival.

Tickets for the 2011 IDA Documentary Awards are available for purchase now at www.documentary.org/awards2011.

About the International Documentary Association

Founded in 1982, the International Documentary Association (IDA) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that supports documentary filmmaking worldwide. At IDA, we believe that the power and artistry of the documentary art form are vital to cultures and societies globally, and we exist to serve the needs of those who create this art form. IDA is the portal into the world of documentary filmmaking. We provide up-to-date news, information and community through our website, documentary.org, our various special events, and our quarterly publication, Documentary Magazine. Our main program areas are Advocacy, Filmmaker Services, Education and Public Programs & Events.