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Cinema Eye Unveils First Awards Announcements for 2019

Audience Choice, Heterodox, Broadcast, Unforgettables & Nonfiction “Shorts List”


October 25, 2018, Los Angeles, California – The Cinema Eye Honors today unveiled the first awards announcements for their 12th Annual awards, including The Unforgettables, their annual list of notable and significant nonfiction film subjects; The Shorts List, an annual list of the year’s ten top Nonfiction Short Films; and nominees in four categories: Broadcast Film; Broadcast Series; the Heterodox Award, which recognizes fiction films that actively blur the line between fiction and documentary; and the annual Audience Choice Prize, where audiences around the world have the opportunity to vote for many of the year’s most popular and talked about films.

The announcements were made at the inaugural Cinema Eye Fall Lunch, held today in Los Angeles, with many of the year’s top filmmakers in attendance. Netflix, Focus Features and Hulu hosted the event at Casita Hollywood. The full list of nonfiction film and craft nominees, including the five nominees for Outstanding Nonfiction Short Film, will be revealed on Thursday, November 8.

Eight films – Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo, Stephen Loveridge’s Mantangi/Maya/M.I.A., Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, Alexandria Bombach’s On Her Shoulders, Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s RGB, Sandi Tan’s Shirkers, Tim Wardle’s Three Identical Strangers and Morgan Neville’s Won’t You Be My Neighbor? – were nominated for the Audience Choice Prize and also saw their subjects recognized amongst this year’s Unforgettables. Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks’ Quincy and Dava Whisenant’s Bathtubs Over Broadway round out this year’s Audience Choice nominees.

Alan Hicks is a previous winner of the Audience Choice Prize for his film Keep On Keepin’ On (CEH15), as are Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin for their film, Meru (CEH16). Morgan Neville has been nominated twice in the category, for Twenty Feet From Stardom (CEH14) and The Best of Enemies (CEH16). Alexandria Bombach was previously nominated for Cinema Eye’s Spotlight Award for her film Frame by Frame (CEH16).

This is the first year that Cinema Eye will have an award to recognize Outstanding Nonfiction Series for Broadcast. In previous years, films and series competed in the same category, with Netflix’ The Keepers (CEH18) and Making a Murderer (CEH17) winning the past two years. Inaugural nominees in the Series category are Steve James’ America to Me (STARZ), Trey Borzilleri & Barbara Schroeder’s Evil Genius (Netflix), Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper & Jessica Dimmock’s Flint Town (Netflix) Liz Garbus’ The Fourth Estate (Showtime) Matthew Heineman’s The Trade (Showtime) and Chapman Way & Maclain Way’s Wild Wild Country (Netflix).

HBO had four films nominated for this year’s Outstanding Nonfiction Film for Broadcast: Sonja Sohn’s Baltimore Rising, Don Argott’s Believer, Greg Barker’s The Final Year and Trish Adlesic & Geeta Gandbhir’s I Am Evidence. Those films are joined in the category by Brian Knappenberger’s Nobody Speak: Trials of a Free Press (Netflix) and Alexandra Shiva’s This is Home: A Refugee Story (Epix).

Four of this year’s Heterodox nominees are previous Cinema Eye nominees for their nonfiction work: American Animals’ Bart Layton (nominated previously for The Imposter, CEH13), Skate Kitchen’s Crystal Moselle (a CEH winner for The Wolfpack, CEH16), The Tale’s Jennifer Fox (nominated for Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, CEH08) and We the Animals’ Jeremiah Zagar (a nominee for In a Dream, CEH09). They are joined by Evangelia Kranioti for her film, Obscuro Barroco.

Steve James’ nomination is his 10th in Cinema Eye history (he won Outstanding Feature and Direction at CEH12 for The Interrupters), tying him with Laura Poitras for the most nominations for any director. Matthew Heineman’s nod for The Trade is his 9th nomination, having previously been nominated for both Cartel Land (CEH16), where he received the Cinematography prize, and City of Ghosts (CEH18). Four other nominees in the Broadcast categories are receiving their 2nd Cinema Eye nod: Don Argott, Jessica Dimmock, Liz Garbus and Alexandra Shiva.

The 12th Annual Cinema Eye Honors will be presented on Thursday, January 10, 2019 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.

A full list of awards announcements and nominees follows:

Audience Choice Prize Nominees

  • Bathtubs Over Broadway

    Directed by Dava Whisenant

  • Free Solo

    Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

  • Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

    Directed by Stephen Loveridge

  • Minding the Gap

    Directed by Bing Liu

  • On Her Shoulders

    Directed by Alexandria Bombach

  • Quincy

    Directed by Rashida Jones and Al Hicks

  • RBG

    Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West

  • Shirkers

    Directed by Sandi Tan

  • Three Identical Strangers

    Directed by Tim Wardle

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

    Directed by Morgan Neville

Nonfiction Shorts List

(Five nominees in this category will be announced on Thursday, November 8)

  • Baby Brother

    Directed by Kamau Bilal

  • Concussion Protocol

    Directed by Josh Begley

  • The Earth is Humming

    Directed by Garrett Bradley

  • My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes

    Directed by Charlie Tyrell

  • A Night at the Garden

    Directed by Marshall Curry

  • Las Nubes

    Directed by Juan Pablo González

  • Sister Hearts

    Directed by Mohammad Gorjestani

  • Skip Day

    Directed by Patrick Bresnan and Ivete Lucas

  • Volte

    Directed by Monika Kotecka and Karolina Poryzala

  • Zhalanash – Empty Shore

    Directed by Marcin Sauter

Heterodox Award Nominees

  • American Animals

    Directed by Bart Layton

  • Obscuro Barocco

    Directed by Evangelia Kranioti

  • Skate Kitchen

    Directed by Crystal Moselle

  • The Tale

    Directed by Jennifer Fox

  • We the Animals

    Directed by Jeremiah Zagar

Broadcast Film Nominees

  • Baltimore Rising

    Directed by Sonja Sohn

  • HBO
  • Believer

    Directed by Don Argott

  • HBO
  • The Final Year

    Directed by Greg Barker

  • HBO
  • I Am Evidence

    Directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir

  • HBO
  • Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press

    Directed by Brian Knappenberger

  • Netflix
  • This is Home: A Refugee Story

    Directed by Alexandra Shiva

  • Epix

Broadcast Series Nominees

  • America to Me

    Directed by Steve James

  • Starz
  • Evil Genius

    Directed by Trey Borzilleri and Barbara Schroeder

  • Netflix
  • Flint Town

    Directed by Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper and Jessica Dimmock

  • Netflix
  • The Fourth Estate

    Directed by Liz Garbus

  • Showtime
  • The Trade

    Directed by Matthew Heineman

  • Showtime
  • Wild Wild Country

    Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way

  • Netflix

Unforgettables Nonfiction Subjects of 2018

  • Annette Ontell

    306 Hollywood

  • América


  • Issei Sagawa


  • Alex Honnold

    Free Solo

  • Julita Salmerón

    Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle

  • Nick Bollettieri

    Love Means Zero

  • M.I.A.


  • Kiere Johnson, Bing Liu and Zack Mulligan

    Minding the Gap

  • Abu Osama

    Of Fathers and Sons

  • Nadia Murad

    On Her Shoulders

  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg


  • Scotty Bowers

    Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood

  • Georges Cardona, Jasmine Ng, Sophie Siddique and Sandi Tan


  • Edward Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran

    Three Identical Strangers

  • Fred Rogers

    Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


About Cinema Eye, Cinema Eye Week and the 2019 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 Awards Ceremony.

The Awards 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 bring together many of the year’s most accomplished filmmakers. This year’s dates are January 7-10, with awards presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens on Thursday, January 10th, 2019.

Nominees for the Audience Choice Prize and Unforgettables were selected by the Cinema Eye Feature Film Nomination Committee, which this year included programmers Amir Labaki (It’s All True, Brazil), Artur Liebhart (Docs Against Gravity, Poland), Basil Tsiokos (DOC NYC, United States), Ben Fowlie (Camden, United States), Bruno Dequen (RIDM, Canada), Cara Cusumano (Tribeca, United States), Chris Boeckman (True/False, United States), David Courier (Sundance, United States), David Nugent (Hamptons, United States), Janet Pierson (SXSW, United States), Jenn Wilson (Los Angeles, United States), Jim Kolmar (SXSW, United States), Luke Moody (Sheffield Doc/Fest, United Kingdom), Mads Mikkelsen (CPH:DOX, Denmark), Meghan Monsour (Ambulante, Mexico), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco, United States), Sadie Tillery (Full Frame, United States), Shane Smith (Hot Docs, Canada), Sudeep Sharma (Sundance, United States), Thom Powers (Toronto, Canada), Tom Hall (Montclair, United States) and Veton Nurkollari (Dokufest, Kosovo).

This year’s eligible filmmakers were also invited to cast ballots for the Unforgettables.

The Nonfiction Shorts List was determined by votes from our Short Film Nomination Committee, which included programmers Abby Sun (True/False, United States), Bruno Dequen (RIDM, Canada), Cara Cusumano (Tribeca, United States), Claudette Godfrey (SXSW, United States), Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop, United States), Doug Jones (Images Cinema, United States), Jasper Hokken (IDFA, The Netherlands), Jenn Murphy (formerly AFI, United States), Luke Moody (Sheffield Doc/Fest, United Kingdom), Mike Plante (Sundance, United States), Opal Bennett (DOC NYC, United States), Pamela Kohn (Dokufest, Kosovo), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco, United States), Shane Smith (Hot Docs, Canada), Sudeep Sharma (Sundance, United States), Ted Mott (Full Frame, United States), Maggie Mackay (Vidiots, United States) and Dilcia Barrera (Sundance, United States).

Nominees for the Broadcast Award were selected in two rounds of voting. The first round consisted of programmers that included Christine Davilla (Director, Ambulante Documentary Film Festival), Joanne Feinberg (former Director of Programming, Ashland Film Festival), Tom Hall (Executive Director, Montclair Film Festival), Doug Jones (Executive Director, Images Cinema), Andrea Passafiume (Director of Programming, Docs In Progress), and Andrew Rodgers (Executive Director, Denver Film Society). The second round included film critics and writers Steve Dollar, Bilge Ebiri, Kate Erbland, Eric Hynes, Sheri Linden, Liz Shannon Miller and Mark Olsen.

Marshall Curry and Dawn Porter serve as Cinema Eye’s Board Chairs. Wendy Garrett and Nathan Truesdell are Co-Chairs of Cinema Eye Week. Sarah Harris is Cinema Eye’s Coordinating Producer. AJ Schnack is the Founding Director of Cinema Eye. They are joined on the Cinema Eye Honors Core Team by programmers Ben Fowlie and Rachel Rosen.

Note: Films directed by a member of the Cinema Eye Production Team (Week Co-Chairs, Coordinating Producer, Founding Director) are not eligible for Cinema Eye Honors. Films directed by Board Chairs, Advisory Board/Kitchen Cabinet members and/or Nominating Committee members are eligible in all categories, provided individuals recuse themselves in years when their films are eligible.