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Cinema Eye Honors 2022 Film Nominations collage for Press Announcement

Flee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary telling the story of a young refugee’s journey to asylum, took the top prize at the 15th Annual Cinema Eye Honors, winning the award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking. Jessica Kingdon’s Ascension, an observational look at the class structure in China, won three awards, the most of the evening, for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, Original Score and Debut Feature. Both films have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Filmmaker Robert Greene won the award for Outstanding Direction for his collaborative documentary, Procession, a film that tracks six men using artistic therapy to reclaim their life story after years of abuse by Catholic Priests. It’s the fourth nomination in the Directing category for Greene and his first win. Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s rousing debut Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) won the Editing Prize for Joshua Pearson. E. Chai Vasarhely and Jimmy Chin took the Audience Choice Prize for The Rescue, It’s the 3rd win in the category for the filmmaking duo, having previously won the Audience Prize for Meru and Free Solo.

Two new awards were presented this year. The Velvet Underground’s Leslie Shatz and Jahn Sood won the award for Sound Design, while Pretend It’s a City, Martin Scorsese’s series of conversations with Fran Lebowitz, was awarded Outstanding Anthology Series.

Among other Broadcast Honors, awards were given to Nanfu Wang for her HBO documentary In the Same Breath (Broadcast Film), Steve James for his National Geographic series City So Real (Nonfiction Series). Ellen Kuras for her Cinematography on Spike Lee’s filmed version of David Byrne’s American Utopia and Adam Locke-Norton for his Editing on How to with John Wilson.

A number of the winners tonight are Cinema Eye veterans, and continue to be the most awarded filmmakers in Cinema Eye History. Jimmy Chin has now won six Cinema Eye trophies, the most by any filmmaker. Producer Signe Byrge Sorensen (Flee) has won five. Steve James and E. Chai Vasarhelyi have won four, tied with filmmaker Laura Poitras, who was nominated tonight for her short documentary Terror Contagion.

Tonight saw the 2nd career wins for Nanfu Wang (a previous winner for Outstanding Debut for Hooligan Sparrow) and Matthew Heineman, who along with colleagues Jenna Millman and Leslie Norville, won the Outstanding Production Honor for The First Wave, Heineman previously won the Cinematography Honor for his film Cartel Land. David Tedeschi, a winner tonight as one of the producers of Pretend It’s a City, won the Broadcast Editing Honor last year for another collaboration with Martin Scorsese, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story. Jessica Kingdon’s two wins for Ascension tonight made her the only filmmaker to take home more than one trophy in 2022.

Three Songs for Benezir, nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, received the Short Film Honor. Amalia Ulman’s El Planeta won the Heterodox Award and Angelo Madsen Minax’ North By Current received the Spotlight Award. Cheryl Dunye’s Heterodox classic The Watermelon Woman received the Legacy Award.

This year’s Cinema Eye Honors Awards Ceremony returned to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens after being a fully virtual event last year. The ceremony had originally been planned for January but was rescheduled for tonight due to the effects of the omicron variant. In celebration of the event’s 15th anniversary, winners and honorees from all fifteen years of Cinema Eye sent videos from around the world introducing nominees in the events eighteen categories. A number of this year’s Unforgettable subjects and their filmmakers also contributed video tributes to their collaborations.

In person presenters included Jarred Alterman, Callie Crossley, Marshall Curry, Cheryl Dunye, Carol Dysinger, Liz Garbus, Steve James, Su Kim, Barbara Kopple, Penny Lane, Signe Byrge Sorensen, David Tedeschi and Nanfu Wang.

The Awards Ceremony capped a season that began with the in person Fall Lunch in Los Angeles, and included several days of virtual events for this year’s nominees. 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, Editing and Sound Design.

A full list of winners follows.

15th Annual Cinema Eye Honors Winners | March 1, 2022

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

  • Flee

    Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen Produced by Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie Announced by Joshua Oppenheimer | The Act of Killing (2014) and The Look of Silence (2016)

Outstanding Achievement
in Direction

  • Robert Greene

    For Procession
    Announced by Rachel Grady | Detropia (2013)

Outstanding Achievement
in Editing

  • Joshua Pearson

    For Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
    Announced by Janus Billeskov Jansen | Burma VJ (2010)

Outstanding Achievement
in Cinematography

  • Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell

    For Ascension Announced by Heloisa Passos | Manda Bala (Send a Bullet) (2008)

Outstanding Achievement
in Production

  • Matthew Heineman, Jenna Millman and Leslie Norville

    For The First Wave
    Announced by Ezra Edelman | OJ: Made in America (2017)

Outstanding Achievement
in Original Music Score

  • Dan Deacon

    For Ascension Announced by Laurie Anderson | Heart of the Dog (2016)

Outstanding Achievement
in Sound Design

  • Leslie Shatz and Jahn Sood

    For The Velvet Underground Announced by Ron Mael and Russell Mael | The Sparks Brothers (2022)

Outstanding Achievement
in Graphic Design or Animation

  • Kenneth Ladekjær and Jess Nicholls

    For Flee Announced by Eric Levy | Gasland (2011)

Outstanding Achievement
in a Debut Feature Film

  • Ascension

    Directed by Jessica Kingdon Announced by Yung Chang | Up the Yangtze (2009)

Audience Choice Prize

  • The Rescue

    Directed by E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin Announced by Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg | Joan Rivers A Piece of Work (2011)

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Film for Broadcast

  • In the Same Breath

    Directed by Nanfu Wang HBO Announced by Sonja Sohn | Baltimore Rising (2019)

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Series

  • City So Real

    Directed by Steve James National Geographic Announced by Jessica Hargrave and Ryan White | The Keepers (2018)

Outstanding Achievement
in Anthology Series

  • Pretend It’s a City

    Martin Scorsese, Fran Lebowitz, David Tedeschi, Ted Griffin, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Joshua Porter, and Margaret Bodde Netflix Announced by Keire Johnson | Minding the Gap (2019)

Outstanding Achievement
in Editing in a Nonfiction Film or Series for Broadcast

  • Adam Locke-Norton

    For How to with John Wilson HBO Announced by David Tedeschi | Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story (2021)

Outstanding Achievement
in Cinematography in a Nonfiction Film or Series for Broadcast

  • Ellen Kuras

    For David Byrne’s American Utopia HBO Announced by Danfung Dennis | Hell and Back Again (2012)

Spotlight Award

  • North by Current

    Directed by Angelo Minax Madsen Announced by Johanna Hamilton | 1971 (2015)

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

  • Three Songs for Benezir

    Directed by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei Announced by Sophia Nahli Allison | A Love Song for Latasha (2021)

Heterodox Award

  • El Planeta

    Directed by Amalia Ulman Announced by Michal Marczak | All These Sleepless Nights (2017)