2025 Feature and Short Film Submissions Now Open
Strong Island

Strong Island and Jane Top 11th Annual Cinema Eye Honors

Yance Ford’s Exploration into the Death of His Brother Wins Feature, Direction & Debut
Brett Morgen’s Portrait of Jane Goodall Receives Audience and Score Prizes
Quest, Last Men in Aleppo, Chasing Coral, Long Strange Trip,
Icarus, The Keepers & Rabbit Hunt Among Award Winners

January 11, 2018, Astoria, Queens, New YorkStrong Island, filmmaker Yance Ford’s decade-long examination into the murder of his brother William Ford and the effect of the crime on his family, won three major awards at the 11th Annual Cinema Eye Honors tonight, including Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Debut and Outstanding Nonfiction Feature Film. It’s the first time in Cinema Eye history that a debut film won the award for Outstanding Direction and Ford joins a select group of filmmakers to win three Honors in a single year.

Brett Morgen’s Jane, a portrait of primatologist, activist and scientist Dr. Jane Goodall, won two awards: the Audience Choice Prize, taking top position in the votes of more than 15,000 members of the public, as well as Outstanding Score for composer Philip Glass.

The prize for Outstanding Editing went to Lindsay Utz, for her work on Jonathan Olshefski’s Quest, a multi-year portrait of a North Philadelphia family.

In addition to Strong Island and Jane, four other films on the Motion Picture Academy’s Shortlist for Feature Documentary received awards:

Kareem Abeed, Stefan Kloos and Soren Steen Jespersen won Outstanding Production for Last Men in Aleppo; Andrew Ackerman and Jeff Orlowski won Outstanding Cinematography for Chasing Coral; and Stefan Nadelman won Outstanding Graphic Design for Long Strange Trip.

At a ceremony in Manhattan on Wednesday, director Bryan Fogel and producer Dan Cogan were presented with the Hell Yeah Prize for Icarus.

This is the second Cinema Eye Honor for Jeff Orlowski, who won previously for Cinematography for Chasing Ice, and for Stefan Nadelman, who won for Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck’s Graphic Design.

Patrick Bresnan’s The Rabbit Hunt won the award for Outstanding Nonfiction Short, while Ryan White’s The Keepers (Netflix) took the prize for Outstanding Nonfiction Filmmaking for Broadcast or Streaming. The winner of the Spotlight Award was Gustavo Salmerón for Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle.

Netflix received more awards than any other distributor, winning a total of 6 awards.

At a lunch Wednesday in Manhattan, this year’s Heterodox Award, given to films that provocatively expand the blurry line between fiction and nonfiction, was presented to Sean Baker’s The Florida Project and the Legacy Award was given to Leon Gast for his classic film, When We Were Kings.

The 11th Annual Cinema Eye Honors were presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens and were streamed live via the Museum of the Moving Image and Cinema Eye Facebook pages. Filmmaker Steve James, recently named a DGA nominee for his latest film Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, was the host. Presenters included Sheila Nevins, Roger Ross Williams, Julie Goldman, Josh and Benny Safdie, Marilyn Ness, Nanette Burstein, Kirsten Johnson, Nathan Truesdell, Amir Bar-Lev, Kelli Scarr, Brett Morgen and Nanfu Wang.

The Awards Ceremony capped a week of events that brought together nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Cinema Eye was founded in 2007 as a protest of that year’s existing awards which had failed to recognize many of the year’s top artistic achievements. In the decade since, 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.

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

  • Strong Island

    Directed by Yance Ford Produced by Joslyn Barnes and Yance Ford

Outstanding Achievement
in Direction

  • Yance Ford

    For Strong Island

Outstanding Achievement
in Editing

  • Lindsay Utz

    For Quest

Outstanding Achievement
in Production

  • Kareem Abeed, Stefan Kloos and Søren Steen Jespersen

    For Last Men in Aleppo

Outstanding Achievement
in Cinematography

  • Andrew Ackerman and Jeff Orlowski

    For Chasing Coral

Outstanding Achievement
in Original Music Score

  • Philip Glass

    For Jane

Outstanding Achievement
in Graphic Design or Animation

  • Stefan Nadelman

    For Long Strange Trip

Outstanding Achievement
in a Debut Feature Film

  • Strong Island

    Directed by Yance Ford

Audience Choice Prize

  • Jane

    Directed by Brett Morgen

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Films Made for Television

  • The Keepers

    Directed by Ryan White For Netflix: Ben Cotner, Jason Spingarn-Koff and Lisa Nishimura

Spotlight Award

  • Lots of Kids, A Monkey and a Castle

    Directed by Gustavo Salmerón

Outstanding Achievement
in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

  • The Rabbit Hunt

    Directed by Patrick Bresnan

Heterodox Award

  • The Florida Project

    Directed by Sean Baker

Legacy Award

  • When We Were Kings

    Directed by Leon Gast

Hell Yeah Prize

  • Icarus

    Directed by Bryan Fogel