2025 Feature and Short Film Submissions Now Open

November 7, 2019 | Los Angeles, California – Cinema Eye, which recognizes outstanding artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking, today announced its full slate of nominees for their 2020 Honors, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature and Outstanding Nonfiction Short.

American Factory, the latest verite documentary feature from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, and Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller’s recounting of the US space program through previously undiscovered archival footage, led all films with 5 nominations apiece, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature.

Those two films were joined in the Feature Film category by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watt’s Syrian drama, For Sama; Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s Honeyland, a portrait of a Macedonian beekeeper; Luke Lorentzen’s film about a private ambulance service in Mexico City, Midnight Family; and One Child Nation, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s investigation of China’s one-child policy.

American Factory, Honeyland and One Child Nation also received nominations in the Outstanding Direction Category, where they were joined by Feras Fayyad for The Cave, Mads Brügger for Cold Case Hammarskjöld and Brett Story for The Hottest August.

Three of this year’s Editing nominees are returning to Cinema Eye after having been previously nominated in the category: Lindsay Utz (American Factory), who won the award in 2018 for Quest, documentary veteran Alan Berliner (Letter to the Editor), who was previously nominated for First Cousin Once Removed, and Jennifer Tiexiera (17 Blocks), who was nominated for her work on Dragonslayer. They are joined by Billy McMillin (Mike Wallace is Here) and Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11), who leads all individuals this year with 4 nominations.

Sigrid Dyekjær’s two nominations in the Outstanding Production category, for Aquarela and The Cave, is a first in that category. She’s a previous Cinema Eye winner, having received an award at the very first edition of Cinema Eye in 2008 for her producing work on The Monastery – Mr. Vig and the Nun. Another nominee from Cinema Eye’s inaugural year returning in 2020 is Nicholas de Pencier, who is nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for Anthropocene: The Human Touch. He was nominated in 2008 as one of the producers of Manufactured Landscapes.

Theo Anthony, who was nominated in 2018 for his debut feature Rat Film, is one of six nominees up for Outstanding Nonfiction Short Film for his ESPN 30 for 30 film Subject to Review. He’s joined in the category by Isa Roa’s Crannog, Alex Lazarowich’s Fast Horse, Bassam Tariq’s Ghosts of Sugar Land, Sandra Winther’s Lowland Kids and Shuhan Fan and Luther Clement’s Stay Close.

Other returning nominees include:

  • Nanfu Wang, who won Outstanding Debut for Hooligan Sparrow, is nominated for Feature and Director for One Child Nation
  • Su Kim, who won earlier this year as producer of Outstanding Feature Hale County This Morning, This Evening is nominated for Outstanding Production for Midnight Traveler
  • Feras Fayyad, who was nominated for Last Men in Aleppo, is up for Outstanding Director for The Cave
  • Victor Kossakovsky, who was up for multiple awards in 2013 for ¡Vivan las Antipodas!, is nominated in the Cinematography category for Aquarela
  • Mads Brügger, previously nominated for The Red Chapel, is up for his Direction of Cold Case Hammarskjöld
  • Ryan White, who won Outstanding Broadcast Film for The Keepers, is nominated in the Audience Choice category this year for Ask Dr. Ruth

While this year’s list includes those veterans, the vast majority of this year’s honorees are nominated for the first time. Female filmmakers and craftspersons make up 40% of this year’s nominees, which is a new high, and comprise 5 of this year’s six nominees for Outstanding Debut.

Filmmaker Alex Gibney continues to make Cinema Eye history as his film The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley scores a nomination in the Graphic Design category. That marks the 7th time a film one of Gibney’s films has been recognized by Cinema Eye, which is a record. No other filmmaker has had more than 4 films nominated.

Winners will be announced at the 2020 Awards Ceremony, to be held on Monday, January 6, 2020 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens. This is the 10th year in a row that Cinema Eye and the Museum of the Moving Image have partnered for the awards presentation. The Museum will also be hosting screenings throughout the weekend of Cinema Eye nominated films, including a special screening of the 2020 Legacy Award Film, Koyaanisqatsi, followed by a conversation with filmmaker Godfrey Reggio, on Saturday, January 4.

Netflix led all distributors/broadcasters with a total of 17 nominations, the most in Cinema Eye history, led by the five nominations for American Factory and three for Beyonce’s Homecoming. Apollo 11, Honeyland and The Biggest Little Farm combined to give Neon 10 nominations, while HBO scored 9 nominations for 8 of its films and series – the most number of films/series for any single network/streamer – led by two nominations for its Michael Jackson investigation, Leaving Neverland.

Nominees for this year’s Broadcast Film and Series Award as well as the Heterodox Award (recognizing work that blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction) and the year’s Unforgettables (noteworthy documentary subjects) were announced two weeks ago at a lunch event in Los Angeles.

Major Sponsors for the 2020 Cinema Eye Honors are National Geographic Documentary Film and Netflix. The Museum of the Moving Image is the Venue Partner. Contributing Sponsors are 30 for 30, Hulu and Showtime Documentary Films. Industry Sponsors include American Cinema Editors, Spacestation, Vidiots and XTR.

A full list of nominees and further details about Cinema Eye and this year’s Honors Awards Ceremony and Celebratory Weekend follows.