Thirty-eight feature films and five shorts will vie for this year’s Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking as nominees were announced this evening at a party at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, Denmark. Winners will be announced at the 9th Annual Honors Ceremony on January 13, 2016 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City.
Cartel Land, Matthew Heineman’s gripping account of violence and vigilantes on both sides of the US-Mexico border, led all films with five nominations, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature. It is joined in the top category by Asif Kapadia’s Amy, Camilla Neilsson’s Democrats, Stevan Riley’s Listen to Me Marlon, Crystal Moselle’s The Wolfpack and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence. The latter, which received four nominations, and Cartel Land were the only films nominated for Outstanding Feature, Direction, Production and Cinematography.
Oppenheimer’s nominations for The Look of Silence match those he received for his previous film about Indonesian war crimes, The Act of Killing, which won the top award at Cinema Eye in 2014. Oppenheimer, Look of Silence producer Signe Byrge Sørenson and Amy director Asif Kapadia join a small group of filmmakers who have been nominated twice in the Outstanding Nonfiction Feature. Kapadia’s Senna was nominated for the top award in 2012.
Other films that received multiple nominations include Meru (4 nominations); Amy, Heart of a Dog, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck and The Wolfpack (3 nominations); Best of Enemies, Democrats, Listen to Me Marlon, The Nightmare, Uncertain and Western (2 nominations).
Matthew Heineman had the most individual nominations, with four for Cartel Land. Going Clears‘s Alex Gibney, Heart of a Dog‘s Laurie Anderson, Meru‘s Jimmy Chin and The Wolfpack‘s Crystal Moselle each received three.
The late Albert Maysles, who died in March, received two nominations: one for Outstanding Direction for his final film In Transit (Maysles shares the nominations with his co-directors Lynn True, Nelson Walker, David Usui and Ben Wu) and one for Audience Choice for his penultimate film, Iris.
In the Outstanding Direction category, Maysles, True, Walker, Usui and Wu are joined by Cartel Land’s Heineman, The Look of Silence’s Oppenheimer as well as Laurie Anderson (Heart of a Dog), Kim Longinotto (Dreamcatcher) and Frederick Wiseman (In Jackson Heights). The nominations for Maysles and Wiseman mark the first time in Cinema Eye history that a previous recipient of the Cinema Eye Legacy Award was nominated for a subsequent work. Maysles was recognized for Grey Gardens in 2011, Wiseman for Titicut Follies in 2012.
Receiving historic nominations this year were Bill Ross and Turner Ross, who were nominated in the Cinematography category for their film Western. With the nod, they become the first filmmakers in Cinema Eye history to be nominated for each of their first three films. They were previously nominated for 45365 (2010) and Tchoupitoulas (2013).
Chris King, who became the first person to win back-to-back awards when he was recognized for Outstanding Editing for both Exit Through the Gift Shop (2011) and Senna (2012), is nominated again in the category this year for Amy. Syd Garon, who won the Graphics award last year for Jodorowsky’s Dune, is nominated in the same category this year for The Nightmare.
There were also historic nominations for Alex Gibney, who received three nods for Directing and Producing the Scientology expose Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. As an individual, Gibney has now received six lifetime nominations, including winning for Outstanding Direction for Taxi to the Dark Side at Cinema Eye’s first ceremony in 2008. All told, five different films directed by Gibney have received Cinema Eye nominations, the most of any filmmaker in Cinema Eye history: Taxi to the Dark Side (2008), Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (2009), Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2014), We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2014) and Going Clear (2015).
Aaron Wickenden joined Albert Maysles in receiving two nominations for two different films. He was nominated for his editing (along with Eileen Meyer) on Best of Enemies and is nominated for the Spotlight Award (along with co-director Dan Rybicky) for his directorial debut, Almost There.
Ten films were nominated for the annual Audience Choice Prize, which often includes many of the year’s most popular and talked about films, including Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon’s Best of Enemies, Kirby Dick’s The Hunting Ground, Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin’s Meru, Brett Morgen’s Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Liz Garbus’ What Happened, Miss Simone? and Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next. Morgan Neville and Michael Moore were previously nominated in this category for 20 Feet From Stardom (2014) and Sicko (2008) respectively.
Winners of the 9th Annual Cinema Eye Honors will be announced Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in New York at the Museum of the Moving Image. The Awards Ceremony is the culmination of Cinema Eye Week, an international celebration of the year’s best nonfiction artistry that includes screenings, parties, seminars and the 2nd Annual Honors Lunch, where this year’s Legacy Award and Heterodox prize will be presented and this year’s Unforgettable subjects will be saluted.
HBO Documentary Films is the premiere sponsor for Cinema Eye Week 2016. Major Sponsors are A&E IndieFilms, Camden International Film Festival, Field of Vision, Ford Foundation and Netflix. The Museum of the Moving Image is the Venue Partner for the 9th Annual Honors. The Murray Center for Documentary Journalism is the Institutional Partner. CPH:DOX was the presenting sponsor of the Nominations Announcement Ceremony and is a Festival Partner, along with Hot Docs and True/False. Additional sponsors for Cinema Eye Week 2016 will be announced in the coming weeks.
More details about this year’s event, including this year’s Heterodox nominees and this year’s Legacy Award recipient, will be announced soon.
A full list of Cinema Eye’s core team will be named in the coming weeks. It was previously announced that Wendy Garrett and Nathan Truesdell will serve as Co-Chairs of Cinema Eye Week and that Will Lennon will serve as Lead Producer on behalf of Cinema Eye. AJ Schnack is Cinema Eye’s Founding Director.
Nominees for the Cinema Eye Honors nonfiction feature awards are determined in voting by the top documentary programmers from throughout the world. This year’s nominations committee included Claire Aguilar (Sheffield Doc/Fest), Nominations Committee Chair Charlotte Cook (Hot Docs), David Courier (Sundance), Cara Cusumano (Tribeca), Joanne Feinberg (Ashland Film Festival), Elena Fortes (Ambulante), Ben Fowlie (Camden International Film Festival), Tom Hall (Montclair Film Festival), Sarah Harris (Dallas Film Festival), Lane Kneedler (AFI FEST), Jim Kolmar (SXSW), Amir Labaki (It’s All True, Brazil), Artur Liebhart (Planete Doc Review), David Nugent (Hamptons Film Festival), Veton Nurkollari (DokuFest Kosovo), Andrea Passafiume (AFI DOCS), Janet Pierson (SXSW), Thom Powers (Toronto International Film Festival), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco), Charlotte Selb (RIDM Montreal), Genna Terranova (Tribeca), Sadie Tillery (Full Frame), Basil Tsiokos (DOC NYC) and David Wilson (True/False).
Nominees for the Cinema Eye Honors short film awards were selected by a nominations committee that included Claire Aguilar (Sheffield Doc/Fest), Chris Boeckman (True/False), Nominations Committee Chair Charlotte Cook (Hot Docs), Cara Cusumano (Tribeca), Ben Fowlie (Camden International Film Festival), Claudette Godfrey (SXSW), Doug Jones (Images Cinema), Ted Mott (Full Frame), Veton Nurkollari (DokuFest Kosovo), Dan Nuxoll (Rooftop Films), Andrea Passafiume (AFI DOCS), Mike Plante (Sundance), Rachel Rosen (San Francisco) and Kim Yutani (Sundance).
Nominees for the Television Award were selected in a two rounds of voting. The first round consisted of programmers that included Nominations Committee Chair Charlotte Cook (Hot Docs), Joanne Feinberg (Ashland), Tom Hall (Montclair), Sarah Harris (Dallas), Doug Jones (Images Cinema), Lane Kneedler (AFI FEST), Jim Kolmar (SXSW) and Andrew Rodgers (RiverRun). The second round included film critics and writers Steve Dollar, Bilge Ebiri, Eric Hynes, Liz Shannon Miller, Nick Pinkerton, Jeff Reichert and Farihah Zaman.