January 6, 2020, Astoria, New York – American Factory, the verite portrait of a once-closed Ohio factory that is bought by a Chinese compayn, took top honors at tonight’s Cinema Eye Honors, winning the awards for Outstanding Nonfiction Feature and Outstanding Direction for veteran filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. Bognar and Reichert are the first directing team to win either award in Cinema Eye history.
Apollo 11, an epic retelling of the first humans to land on the moon and return to Earth, also won two awards, Outstanding Editing for director/editor Todd Douglas Miller and Original Score for composer Matt Morton.
In addition to American Factory and Apollo 11, a number of other films on the Academy Awards Documentary Feature Shortlist received awards. Two of the year’s most acclaimed films documenting the Syrian War, The Cave and For Sama, tied for the Honor for Outstanding Achievement in Production. Honeyland won the award for Outstanding Cinematography. The Great Hack was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and The Biggest Little Farm won the Audience Choice Prize, with more than 12,000 votes cast by documentary film fans around the world.
Outstanding Nonfiction Short Film went to Bassam Tariq’s The Ghosts of Sugar Land, which is on the Oscar Shortlist for Documentary Short.
Beniamino Barrese won the Outstanding Debut Feature award for his film, The Disappearance of My Mother. Shengze Zhu received the Spotlight Award for her film, Present.Perfect. and this year’s Heterodox Award (for fiction films that embrace documentary techniques) went to Joanna Hogg for The Souvenir.
In the Broadcast Honors, Netflix’s Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé and National Geographic’s Apollo: Missions to the Moon took home the trophies in the new categories of Outstanding Broadcast Cinematography and Outstanding Broadcast Editing, respectively. CNN’s Tricky Dick was named Outstanding Broadcast Series and HBO’s Leaving Neverland won Outstanding Broadcast Film.
This year’s Legacy Award was presented to the groundbreaking and influential Koyaanisqatsi, with filmmaker Godfrey Reggio in attendance to accept the award from Oscar and Cinema Eye winning filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi (Free Solo). The Museum of the Moving Image also hosted a screening of the film on Saturday, January 4, which was followed by a conversation between Reggio and last year’s Cinema Eye winner for Outstanding Feature, RaMell Ross (Hale County This Morning, This Evening).
The 2020 Cinema Eye Honors were presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York and were streamed live via the Museum of the Moving Image and Cinema Eye Honors Facebook pages. Filmmaker Yance Ford, a previous Cinema Eye winner for Outstanding Feature for Strong Island, was the host. Additional Presenters included Karim Amer, Alan Berliner, Julie Cohen, Alex Gibney, Alan Jacobsen, Ellen Kuras, Shevaun Mizrahi, Sheila Nevins, Jehane Noujaim, Jeff Orlowski, Ondi Timoner, Lindsay Utz and Betsy West
The Awards Ceremony capped a weekend of events that brought together nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Cinema Eye was founded in 2007 with a three-fold mission: to build community, recognize the entire creative team and celebrate artistic excellence and boldness in nonfiction filmmaking. In the decade since it began, Cinema Eye has become one of the largest international gatherings of nonfiction filmmakers and craftspersons. Cinema Eye was the first organization to present an award for Production, Cinematography, Original Score and Graphic Design in Nonfiction Film, and the first, aside from the guilds, to recognize Direction and Editing.
A full list of Cinema Eye winners follows.
in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
Directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert Produced by Steve Bognar, Julia Reichert, Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
For American Factory
Todd Douglas Miller
For Apollo 11
in Production (Tie)
For For Sama
Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær
For The Cave
Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma
in Original Music Score
For Apollo 11
in Graphic Design or Animation
Patrick Cederberg, Matthew Hornick and Ash Thorp
For The Great Hack
in a Debut Feature Film
The Disappearance of My Mother
Directed by Beniamino Barrese
Audience Choice Prize
The Biggest Little Farm
Directed by John Chester
in Nonfiction Film for Broadcast
Directed by Dan Reed HBO
in Nonfiction Film for Broadcast
Directed by Mary Robertson CNN
Outstanding Achievement in Editing in a Nonfiction Film or Series for Broadcast
Directed by Apollo: Missions to the Moon National Geographic
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in a Nonfiction Film or Series for Broadcast
Mark Ritchie, Julian Klincewicz, Dikayl Rimmasch and Irie Calkins
Directed by Homecoming Netflix
Directed by Shengze Zhu
in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
Ghosts of Sugar Land
Directed by Bassam Tariq
Directed by Joanna Hogg
Directed and Produced by
Cinematography: Ron Fricke
Editing: Ron Fricke and Alton Walpole
Original Score: Philip Glass