Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

It may be a simple thing to turn on a camera, but a rare few can capture the poetry and chaos of everyday life as it happens. Vertov said that the camera, the cinema eye (or kino-eye), was more powerful than the human eye. The camera is also the extension of the documentarian’s heart, in the moment, as they capture life unfolding. This award captures the great visual artists of our form. Previous winners in this category include Heloisa Passos for Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) (2008), Peter Zeitlinger for Encounters at the End of the World (2009), Brook Aitken for The Cove (2010), Lixin Fan for Last Train Home (2011), Danfung Dennis for Hell and Back Again (2012), Jeff Orlowski for Chasing Ice (2013), Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel for Leviathan (2014), Erik Wilson for 20,000 Days on Earth and Franklin Dow/Orlando von Einsiedel for Virguna (2015, tie) and Matthew Heineman/Matt Porwoll for Cartel Land and Jimmy Chin/Renan Ozturk for Meru (2016, tie).

All These Sleepless Nights

Nominated for
After a breakup with his girlfriend, Kris sets off with his friend Michal in search of new experiences. Stylishly capturing the romantic yearning, drunken debating, aimless wandering and self-indulgent philosophizing of youth, Michal Marczak’s highly constructed documentary/fiction hybrid is a...


Nominated for
Drawing on footage she’s shot over the course of 25 years, documentary cinematographer Kirsten Johnson searches to reconcile her part in the thorny questions of permission, power, creative ambition and human obligation that come with filming the lives of others....

Contemporary Color

Nominated for
The choreographed and vibrant art form known as colour guard gained an enraptured fan in music icon David Byrne. The former Talking Heads frontman found the world of high school students synchronizing complex dance sequences with flag spins and rifle...

The Eagle Huntress

Nominated for
The Kazakh tradition of eagle hunting has been passed down from father to son for over 2,000 years in Western Mongolia. Aisholpan, a determined and spellbinding 13-year-old, dreams of becoming the first female huntress. With the support of her family,...

Fire at Sea

Nominated for
Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary observes Europe’s migrant crisis from the vantage point of a Mediterranean island where hundreds of thousands of refugees, fleeing war and poverty, have landed in recent...

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