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Icarus - 2018 CEH Hell Yeah Recipient

Cinema Eye Says Hell Yeah to Icarus

Audience Award Voting Opens | Tickets Now On Sale

December 12, 2017, New York City, NY – The Cinema Eye Honors Core Team has voted to present the organization’s Hell Yeah Prize to Bryan Fogel’s Icarus, which uncovered a massive Russian doping effort and led to last week’s IOC decision to bar the Russian team from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Hell Yeah Prize is a periodic award, given to filmmakers who have created works of incredible craft and artistry that also have significant, demonstrable real-world impact. The award has only been presented twice before in Cinema Eye history: in 2012 to Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky for their Paradise Lost trilogy, which played a crucial role in the release from prison of the wrongly prosecuted and convicted West Memphis Three; and in 2014 to Josh Fox for his Gasland films, which spurred a nationwide, grassroots effort to call attention to the environmental risks associated with hydraulic fracking.

Icarus, which premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, details how filmmaker Bryan Fogel meets Russian chemist Grigory Rodchenkov in an attempt to learn more about doping. As their relationship grows, Rodchenkov reveals key information about the history of doping in Russia’s sports programs.

In deciding to bar the Russian team, the International Olympic Committee relied on a year-long investigation headed by Samuel Schmid, the former President of Switzerland. In Schmid’s 30-page report, Icarus is cited multiple times as evidence to support the investigation’s findings.

“We created the HELL YEAH Prize to celebrate those unique moments in nonfiction where the very act of filming leads to a monumental, conclusive consequence,” said Cinema Eye Founding Director AJ Schnack. “The IOC’s decision solidifies what was already remarkable about Icarus: the audience’s ability to watch as history unfolds with the filmmaker serving as both witness and conduit. It is difficult to imagine that the Russian team would be barred from the 2018 Games if Bryan Fogel had never met Grigory Rodchenkov.”

The HELL YEAH Prize will be presented to Fogel on Wednesday, January 10 at the Cinema Eye Honors Lunch in Manhattan. Also at the Lunch, the 2018 Legacy Award will be presented to Leon Gast for When We Were Kings and this year’s notable nonfiction subjects, the Unforgettables, will be recognized.

Tickets for the 2018 Cinema Eye Awards Ceremony, which will take place Thursday night, January 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, are now on sale at the Cinema Eye website. Filmmaker Steve James, nominated for his latest film, Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, returns as host of the event. Tickets can be purchased here:

Finally, voting is now open for the Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize. The general public can vote for their favorite documentary from among ten of the year’s most popular and talked-about films:

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail |Directed by Steve James
City of Ghosts | Directed by Matthew Heineman
Chasing Coral | Directed by Jeff Orlowski
Faces Places | Directed by Agnès Varda and JR
Jane | Directed by Brett Morgen
Kedi | Directed by Ceyda Torun
Quest | Directed by Jonathan Olshefski
Step | Directed by Amanda Lipitz
Whose Streets? | Directed by Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis
The Work | Directed by Gethin Aldous and Jairus McLeary

Voting is live now on the Cinema Eye website at and will continue through Tuesday, January 9, 2018.