2025 Broadcast Honors Submissions Now Open

Cinema Eye, the organization that recognizes outstanding craft and artistry in nonfiction film, kicked off celebrations today for its tenth year with the first awards announcement of the season: the ten films that have been named as semifinalists for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking for Television.

Among the documentaries recognized this year are HBO Documentary Films’ Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures by doc veterans Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, A&E’s Happy Valley, directed by previous Cinema Eye nominee Amir Bar-Lev (The Tillman Story) and Discovery Channel’s Racing Extinction, from filmmaker Louie Psihoyos, who took top honors at Cinema Eye in 2010 for The Cove.  

Making a Murderer, Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’ acclaimed doc series for Netflix, also makes the 2017 shortlist, the first series to do so in this award’s four-year history.  

HBO Documentaries films is responsible for five of the ten films on the shortlist.  Netflix and Discovery Channel are each represented by two films, while A&E rounds out the shortlist with the aforementioned Happy Valley.

This is the fourth year for Cinema Eye’s award for Outstanding Nonfiction Filmmaking for Television.  Previous winners were Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel (HBO), Nanette Burstein’s The Price of Gold (ESPN) and Cynthia Hill’s Private Violence (HBO).

Nominees for the 2017 Honor for Television Nonfiction will be announced this fall along with Cinema Eye nominees in eleven other film and craft categories.  Winners will be awarded at the 10th Annual Cinema Eye Honors in January 2017.

A full list of shortlist semifinalists is below:

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets (HBO)

Directed by Marc Silver

Happy Valley (A&E)

Directed by Amir Bar-Lev

Heroin, Cape Cod, USA (HBO)

Directed by Steven Okazaki

How to Dance in Ohio (HBO)

Directed by Alexandra Shiva

Making a Murderer (Netflix)

Directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos

Mavis! (HBO)

Directed by Jessica Edwards

Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures (HBO)

Directed by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

My Beautiful Broken Brain (Netflix)

Directed by Lotje Sodderland and Sophie Robinson

Racing Extinction (Discovery)

Directed by Louie Psihoyos

Sherpa (Discovery)

Directed by Jennifer Peedom


Films eligible for this award must have aired or broadcast between June 1, 2015 and May 31, 2016 and must have received financial support during production and/or post-production.  Productions for television, streaming or web are all eligible provided they have a total running time longer than 30 minutes.  Entries may be stand-alone films or mini-series, provided the mini-series has a single, contained narrative over multiple episodes and one director credited for each part or episode.  Films nominated for Cinema Eye in previous years are not eligible.

Named nominees in this category will be the Directors, Producers and Key Network Personnel who worked on the film.

On Monday, June 14, Cinema Eye opened submissions for feature and short film categories for their 10th Annual Honors.  Submissions for short films will close on July 29 and submissions for features will close on August 31.  For more information about those films, go to

Films were selected for this year’s Television Shortlist by a nominating committee comprised of nonfiction curators and programmers.  Committee members included Joanne Feinberg (former Director of Programming Ashland Film Festival), Tom Hall (Executive Director, Montclair Film Festival), Sarah Harris (Senior Programmer, Dallas Film Festival), Doug Jones (Executive Director, Images Cinema), Lane Kneedler (Associate Director of Programming, AFI FEST), Jim Kolmar (Film Programmer, SXSW), Andrea Passafiume (former Director of Programming, AFI DOCS), Andrew Rodgers (Executive Director, Denver Film Society) and Sadie Tillery (Director of Programming, Full Frame Film Festival).

About the 10th Annual Cinema Eye Honors and Cinema Eye Week 2017

The Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film.  Cinema Eye’s mission is and has been to advocate for, recognize and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field.  At its inception, Cinema Eye was the first US or international organization to present annual awards for documentary in the fields of production, cinematography, original score and graphic design and the only organization, aside from the guilds, to recognize outstanding direction and editing.

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 three days of Cinema Eye Week culminate yearly  in New York City, where a series of celebratory events bring together many of the field’s most accomplished filmmakers.

For more information about Cinema Eye, visit the website at