By Ray Pride

Tenth Cinema Eye Honors Document Nominees

  • Feature Film Nominees | Cameraperson, Fire at Sea, I Am Not Your Negro, OJ: Made in America and Weiner
  •  I Am Not Your Negro and OJ: Made in America Lead With 5 nominations
  • Cameraperson and Fire at Sea receive 4 nominations
  • Weiner, The Eagle Huntress and Tickled get 3 nominations
  • Steve James returns to host 10th Annual Awards Ceremony at Museum of the Moving Image in January 2017
Thirty-seven feature films and five shorts will vie for the 2017 Cinema Eye Honors as nominees were announced tonight in Brooklyn at the Alamo Drafthouse.  It’s the 10th annual edition of the nonfiction film awards, which recognize outstanding artistry and craft in documentary during Cinema Eye Week, a multi-day celebration in nonfiction filmmaking that takes place in New York City each year in January.
Winners will be announced at the 2017 Honors Ceremony on January 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, which will be hosted for the second consecutive year by award-winning nonfiction filmmaker Steve James (The Interrupters, Life Itself, Hoop Dreams).
I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck’s portrait of writer & civil rights leader James Baldwin, and OJ: Made in America, Ezra Edelman’s epic telling of race and the judicial system in Los Angeles, led all films with five nominations each, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, Direction and Editing.
Kirsten Johnson’s Cameraperson and Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea each received four nominations, including Feature, Direction and Cinematography.  Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg’s Weiner rounded out the films nominated this year for Outstanding Nonfiction Feature.
Gianfranco Rosi led all individuals with 4 nominations for his work as Director, Producer and Cinematographer on Fire at Sea. Ezra Edelman, Kirsten Johnson, Raoul Peck and HBO’s Sheila Nevins each received 3 nominations this year.
Ten films were nominated for the annual Audience Choice Prize, which often includes many of the year’s most popular and talked about films, including Roger Ross WIlliams’ Life, Animated, Clay Tweel’s Gleason, Barbara Kopple’s Miss Sharon Jones!, Tomer Heymann’s Mr. Gaga, Ido Haar’s Presenting Princess Shaw, David Farrier and Dylan Reeve’s Tickled and Keith Maitland’s Tower.  Kopple’s nomination is noteworthy as she becomes the second filmmaker to be nominated for a Cinema Eye Honor after receiving the organization’s Legacy Award for a previous film. Kopple was honored for Harlan County, U.S.A. in 2014; the late Albert Maysles was nominated earlier this year for Iris and In Transit after having been given the Legacy Award for Grey Gardens in 2011.
Elsewhere, Alex Gibney continued to make Cinema Eye history, receiving his 7th nomination, this year for his work as a Producer on Zero Days.  It’s the 6th Gibney-directed film to receive a nomination from Cinema Eye, the most for any filmmaker.
Filmmaker Michal Marczak received his third lifetime nomination for his latest, All These Sleepless Nights, where he is up for Outstanding Cinematography. He was nominated for both of his previous films: At the Edge of Russia (Debut, 2012) and Fuck for Forest (Spotlight, 2014). With the nod, he joins Bill Ross and Turner Ross as filmmakers nominated for each of their first three features.  The Ross Brothers’ latest film, Contemporary Color, also became their fourth film to be nominated. It is up this year for Cinematography and Original Score. They are the first filmmakers in Cinema Eye’s ten-year history to have each of their first 4 films recognized with nominations.
HBO’s Sheila Nevins became the most nominated individual in Cinema Eye history, scoring her 9th, 10th and 11th nominations for HBO Documentary Films’ Heroin: Cape Cod, USA, How to Dance in Ohio and Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures. Joining those films in the Outstanding Nonfiction for Television category are A&E’s Happy Valley and Netflix’ Making a Murderer and My Beautiful Broken Brain.
Other returning filmmakers include:
  • Robert Greene, whose nomination for Outstanding Direction for Kate Plays Christine is his second in the category (he was nominated for Actress in 2015).
  • Syd Garon’s nomination for Outstanding Graphic Design and Animation for Author: The JT Leroy Story is his fourth nomination in the category in the past three years. He took home the trophy in 2015 for Jodorowsky’s Dune.
  • Nels Bangerter, nominated for Outstanding Editing for Cameraperson, won the editing award in 2014 for Let the Fire Burn.
  •  Serge Lalou, who is nominated twice this year for Fire at Sea, won back in 2009 for producing Waltz With Bashir.
  • Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher, who are nominated for Outstanding Short for Peace in the Valley, each won two Cinema Eye Honors in 2010 for October Country: Outstanding Debut and Outstanding Original Score.
  • Kirsten Johnson, who is up for three Honors this year for Cameraperson, was nominated in 2015 for the Cinematography award for Citizenfour.
  • Adam Del Deo is nominated in the Nonfiction for Television category for two Netflix films: Making a Murderer and My Beautiful Broken Brain. Del Deo was previously nominated in 2010 as one of the directors of Every Little Step.
  • Happy Valley director Amir Bar-Lev was previously nominated in 2011 for The Tillman Story.
  • Cameraperson producer Marilyn Ness was nominated in 2015 for Outstanding Production for The E-Team.
  • Happy Valley producer John Battsek was nominated earlier this year for Outstanding Feature for his work on Listen to Me Marlon.
  • HBO’s Sara Bernstein scores her 6th and 7th nominations this year for Heroin: Cape Cod, USA and Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures. Nancy Abraham receives her 4th for How to Dance in Ohio.
Winners of the 10th Annual Cinema Eye Honors will be announced Wednesday, January 11, 2017 in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image.  The Honors Ceremony is the culmination of Cinema Eye Week, an international celebration of the year’s best nonfiction artistry that includes screenings, parties and seminars.
The Museum of the Moving Image launches their 10-week screening series “Pushing the Envelope: A Decade of Documentary at the Cinema Eye Honors” this weekend.  The series will continue through the kickoff of Cinema Eye week in January. Full program included HERE .
HBO Documentary Films is the premier sponsor for Cinema Eye Week 2017. Major Sponsors are Netflix, A&E IndieFilms, Camden International Film Festival and Field of Vision. The Museum of the Moving Image is the Venue Partner for the 10th Annual Honors. The Murray Center for Documentary Journalism is the Institutional Partner.  Industry Sponsors include ESPN Films, Alamo Drafthouse, American Cinema Editors, CPH:DOX, LEF Foundation and Spacestation.
More details about this year’s event, including additional sponsors, this year’s Heterodox nominees and this year’s Legacy Award recipient, will be announced in the coming weeks.
A full list of nominees follows.


About Cinema Eye, Cinema Eye Week and the 2017 Cinema Eye Honors
Cinema Eye was founded in 2007 to recognize excellence in artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking.  It was the first and remains the only international nonfiction award to recognize the whole creative team, presenting annual craft awards in directing, producing, cinematography, editing, composing and graphic design/animation.  Cinema Eye presents and produces the annual Cinema Eye Week and Honors Ceremony.
The Honors Ceremony is the centerpiece of Cinema Eye Week, a multi-day, multi-city celebration that acknowledges the best work in nonfiction film through screenings and events.  The final four days of Cinema Eye Week take place in New York City, where a series of celebratory events brought together many of the year’s most accomplished filmmakers.  This year’s dates are January 10-13, with awards presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on the 13th.
Nominees for the Cinema Eye Honors nonfiction feature awards are determined in voting by the top documentary programmers from throughout the world.  This year’s nominations committee included Claire Aguilar (Sheffield), Pamela Cohn (Dokufest Kosovo), David Courier (Sundance), Cara Cusumano (Tribeca), Bruno Dequen (RIDM), Sarafina DiFelice (Hot Docs), Joanne Feinberg (formerly Programmer, Ashland), Elena Fortes (Morelia/Ambulante), Nominations Committee Chair Ben Fowlie (Camden), Tom Hall (Montclair), Sarah Harris (Dallas), Lane Kneedler (AFI Fest), Jim Kolmar (SXSW), Amir Labaki (It’s All True), Artur Liebhart (Planete Doc Review), Mads Mikkelsen (CPH:DOX), David Nugent (Hamptons), Veton Nurkollari (Dokufest Kosovo), Janet Pierson (SXSW), Thom Powers (Toronto), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco), Shane Smith (Hot Docs), Martijn te Pas (IDFA), Sadie Tillery (Full Frame), Basil Tsiokos (DOC NYC) and David Wilson (True/False).
Nominees for the Cinema Eye Honors short film awards were selected by a nominations committee that included Claire Aguilar (Sheffield Doc/Fest), Chris Boeckman (True/False), Cara Cusumano(Tribeca), Ben Fowlie (Camden International Film Festival), Claudette Godfrey (SXSW), Jasper Hokken (IDFA), Doug Jones (Images Cinema), Maggie Mackay (Aspen Shorts) Ted Mott (Full Frame), Veton Nurkollari (DokuFest Kosovo), Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop Films), Mike Plante (Sundance), Shorts Chair Rachel Rosen (San Francisco), Shane Smith (Hot Docs) and Kim Yutani (Sundance).
Nominees for the Television Award were selected in a two rounds of voting.  The first round consisted of programmers that included Joanne Feinberg (formerly of Ashland), Tom Hall (Montclair), Sarah Harris (Dallas), Doug Jones (Images Cinema), Lane Kneedler (AFI FEST), Jim Kolmar (SXSW), Andrea Passafiume (formerly of AFI Docs), Andrew Rodgers (Denver( Sadie Tillery (Full Frame)..  The second round included film critics and writers Paula Bernstein, Steve Dollar, Bilge Ebiri, Eric Hynes, Liz Shannon Miller, Mark Olsen, Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman.
Charlotte Cook and Marshall Curry serve as Cinema Eye’s Board Chairs. Wendy Garrett and Nathan Truesdell will serve as Co-Chairs of Cinema Eye Week. Will Lennon is Cinema Eye’s Managing Director.  AJ Schnack is the Founding Director of Cinema Eye.
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
Directed by Kirsten Johnson | Produced by Kirsten Johnson and Marilyn Ness
Fire at Sea
Directed by Gianfranco Rosi | Produced by Donatello Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi, Serge Lalou and Camille Laemlé
I Am Not Your Negro
Directed by Raoul Peck| Produced by Rémi Grellety, Raoul Peck and Hébert Peck
OJ: Made in America
Directed by Ezra Edelman | Produced by Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow
Directed and Produced by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg
Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Kirsten Johnson | Cameraperson
Gianfranco Rosi | Fire at Sea
Raoul Peck | I Am Not Your Negro
Robert Greene | Kate Plays Christine
Ezra Edelman | OJ: Made in America
Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Nels Bangerter | Cameraperson
Clay Tweel | Gleason
Alexandra Strauss | I Am Not Your Negro
Bret Granato, Maya Mumma and Ben Sozanski | OJ: Made in America
Eli Despres | Weiner
Outstanding Achievement in Production
Stacey Reiss, Sharon Chang and Otto Bell | The Eagle Huntress
Donatello Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi, Serge Lalou and Camille Laemmlé | Fire at Sea
Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow | OJ: Made in America
Carthew Neal | Tickled
Marc Shmuger and Alex Gibney | Zero Days
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Michal Marczak and Maciej Twardowski | All These Sleepless Nights
Kirsten Johnson | Cameraperson
Jarred Alterman | Contemporary Color
Simon Niblett | The Eagle Huntress
Gianfranco Rosi | Fire at Sea
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television
Happy Valley
Directed by Amir Bar-Lev | Produced by Jonathan Koch, Steve Michaels, John Battsek and Ken Dornstein
For A&E IndieFilms: Molly Thompson, Robert DeBitetto and David McKillop
Heroin: Cape Cod, USA
Directed and Produced by Steven Okazaki
For HBO Documentary Films: Sara Bernstein and Sheila Nevins
How to Dance in Ohio
Directed by Alexandra Shiva | Produced by Alexandra Shiva and Bari Pulman
For HBO Documentary Films: Nancy Abraham and Sheila Nevins
Making a Murderer
Directed and Produced by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos
For Netflix: Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato | Produced by Katharina Otto-Bernstein and Mona Card
For HBO Documentary Films: Sara Bernstein and Sheila Nevins
My Beautiful Broken Brain
Directed by Sophie Robinson and Lotje Sodderlan | Produced by Sophie Robinson
For Netflix: Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo
Audience Choice Prize
Gleason | Directed by Clay Tweel
I Am Not Your Negro | Directed by Raoul Peck
Life, Animated | Directed by Roger Ross Williams
Miss Sharon Jones! | Directed by Barbara Kopple
Mr. Gaga | Directed by Tomer Heymann
Presenting Princess Shaw | Directed by Ido Haar
Sonita | Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Tickled | Directed by David Farrier and Dylan Reeve
Tower | Directed by Keith Maitland
Weiner | Directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg
Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Craig Atkinson | Do Not Resist
Otto Bell | The Eagle Huntress
Jessica Edwards | Mavis!
Nanfu Wang | Hooligan Sparrow
David Farrier and Dylan Reeve | Tickled
Heidi Brandenburg and Mathew Orzel | When Two Worlds Collide
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Lubomir Grzelak | All These Sleepless Nights
Nominees to be Determined | Contemporary Color
Alexei Aigui | I Am Not Your Negro
Alex Lu | In the Pursuit of Silence
Gary Lionelli | OJ: Made in America
Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation
Chris Kirk and Syd Garon | Author: The JT Leroy Story
Philippe Sonrier and Suzie Cimato | Life, Animated
Nominees to be Determined | Nuts!
Craig Staggs and Keith Maitland | Tower
Nominees to be Determined | Zero Days
Spotlight Award
All this Panic | Directed by Jenny Gage
Among the Believers | Directed by Hemal Trivedi and Mohammed Ali Naqvi
Dead Slow Ahead | Directed by Mauro Herce
The Land of the Enlightened | Directed by Pieter-Jan De Pue
The Pearl | Directed by Jessica Dimmock and Christopher LaMarca
Les Sauteurs (Those Who Jump) | Directed by Estephan Wagner and Moritz Siebert
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
Bacon and God’s Wrath | Directed by Sol Friedman
Extremis | Directed by Dan Krauss
La Laguna | Directed by Aaron Schock
My Aleppo | Directed by Melissa Langer
Peace in the Valley | Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
The Unforgettables
The year’s most notable and significant nonfiction film subjects (previously announced)
Michal Huszcza | All These Sleepless Nights
Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman | Audrie and Daisy
Laura Albert | Author: The JT Leroy Story
Kirsten Johnson | Cameraperson
Aisholpan Nurgaiv | The Eagle Huntress
Samuela Pucillo | Fire at Sea
Steve Gleason and Michel Varisco | Gleason
Ye Haiyan | Hooligan Sparrow
Kate Shiel | Kate Plays Christine
Owen Suskind | Life, Animated
Sharon Jones | Miss Sharon Jones!
Peter Dunning | Peter and the Farm
Princess Shaw | Presenting Princess Shaw
Sonita Alidazeh | Sonita
Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner | Weiner
Nominations By Film Totals
I Am Not Your Negro
OJ: Made in America
Fire at Sea
The Eagle Huntress
All These Sleepless Nights
Contemporary Color
Life, Animated
Zero Days
All This Panic
Among the Believers
Author: The JT Leroy Story
Dead Slow Ahead
Do Not Resist
Kate Plays Christine
The Land of the Enlightened
Happy Valley
Heroin: Cape Cod, USA
Hooligan Sparrow
How to Dance in Ohio
In Pursuit of Silence
Making a Murderer
Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures
Miss Sharon Jones!
Mr. Gaga
My Beautiful Broken Brain
The Pearl
Presenting Princess Shaw
Les Sauteurs (Those Who Jump)
When Two Worlds Collide
Short Film
Bacon and God’s Wrath
La Laguna
My Aleppo
Peace in the Valley
Most Individual Nominations This Year (for one film or *multiple films)
Gianfranco Rosi – 4
Ezra Edelman – 3
Kirsten Johnson – 3
Sheila Nevins – 3*
Raoul Peck – 3
Otto Bell – 2
Sara Bernstein – 2*
Adam Del Deo – 2*
David Farrier – 2
Josh Kriegman – 2
Camille Laemmle – 2
Serge Lalou – 2
Lisa Nishimura – 2*
Donatello Palermo – 2
Dylan Reeve – 2
Elyse Steinberg – 2
Clay Tweel – 2
Caroline Waterlow – 2

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“The important thing is: what makes the audience interested in it? Of course, I don’t take on any roles that don’t interest me, or where I can’t find anything for myself in it. But I don’t like talking about that. If you go into a restaurant and you have been served an exquisite meal, you don’t need to know how the chef felt, or when he chose the vegetables on the market. I always feel a little like I would pull the rug out from under myself if I were to I speak about the background of my work. My explanations would come into conflict with the reason a movie is made in the first place — for the experience of the audience — and that, I would not want.
~  Christoph Waltz

This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.