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Cinema Eye, the organization that celebrates artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking, today announced their annual list of “The Unforgettables” – this year’s most notable and significant nonfiction film subjects.

Cinema Eye produces the annual Cinema Eye Honors, the centerpiece of a week-long celebration of nonfiction film that takes place in New York each year in January. Cinema Eye remains the only international nonfiction award to recognize the whole creative team, presenting annual craft awards in directing, producing, cinematography, editing, composing, graphic design/animation as well as the notable subjects behind these films. Through “The Unforgettables,” Cinema Eye recognizes the deeply collaborative nature of documentary filmmaking by celebrating the subjects at the heart of some of the year’s best films.

Running the gamut from beloved film critic Roger Ebert to controversial whistleblower Edward Snowden, from two friends in Belgium to a former goalkeeper turned resistance leader, to rock stars, pastors, bank robbers and actual actresses, these seventeen people, the focus of 15 films, were selected by votes from this year’s eligible filmmakers as well as Cinema Eye’s nominations committee, which is comprised of some of the world’s top documentary film programmers and curators.

“Filmmakers know that their relationships with their subjects are often the most important element of in the success of their films,” Cinema Eye Founding Director AJ Schnack said. “Many of the greatest documentaries ever made – from Grey Gardens to Crumb to American Movie – were built on compelling individuals who allowed a filmmaker to capture and observe their lives. With the Unforgettables we celebrate this relationship.”

As Cinema Eye Legacy Award recipient Albert Maysles has written about Big and Little Edie, the unforgettable subjects of his landmark film Grey Gardens, they “allow us the privilege of intimately sharing their very souls as they open up their home…to us as filmmakers and to generations of audiences. The Beales had the guts to expose themselves to the world. Not everyone can do that.”

The Unforgettables celebrates the fearlessness of this unique collaboration between filmmakers and subjects.

Cinema Eye’s annual list of Unforgettables is one of their Distinctive Honors, a non-competitive recognition of their importance in some of the year’s best work. Selections were made by open voting from this year’s eligible filmmakers and Cinema Eye’s nominations committee. While voters were given a list of eligible films to select from, no suggestions were made as to individuals in those films.

View this year’s list of The Unforgettables