Forty feature films and six shorts will vie for this year’s Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking as nominees were announced this evening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York City at an event hosted by the Tribeca Film Institute.
Five films are in the running for Cinema Eye’s top award, Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s After Tiller, Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel’s Leviathan and Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell. Nominees for Outstanding Feature were determined by votes from both the 23-person nominations committee as well as more than 80 directors of this year’s eligible films.
Zachary Heinzerling’s Cutie and the Boxer led all films with six nominations, while The Act of Killing received five. Heinzerling and the directing duos from two films nominated for Outstanding Feature – Leviathan‘s Castaing-Taylor & Paravel and After Tiller‘s Shane and Wilson – all led individual nominees with four nominations apiece. Making Cinema Eye history with his nomination in the feature film category, Lucien Castaing-Taylor becomes the first person to be nominated for Outstanding Feature after having been previously nominated for Outstanding Debut (he was nominated in 2011 for Sweetgrass).
Nominees for Outstanding Achievement in Direction included Alan Berliner for First Cousin Once Removed, Tinatin Gurchiani for The Machine Which Makes Everything Disappear, Oppenheimer for The Act of Killing, Shane and Wilson for After Tiller, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel for Leviathan and Polley for Stories We Tell. This marks the first time in Cinema Eye history that more women were nominated for the Directing Award than their male counterparts. In addition, of the 11 individuals nominated for Cinema Eye’s top Feature Film award, 7 are women.
Cinema Eye also announced nominees for their inaugural award for Nonfiction Films Made for Television. Four of the six nominees came from HBO Documentary Films, including Lucy Walker’s The Crash Reel, Dawn Porter’s Gideon’s Army, Alex Gibney’s Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God and Sebastian Junger’s Which Way to the Front Line From Here: The Life and Times of Tim Hetherington. PBS nabbed the other two nominations, one for Susan Lacy’s Inventing David Geffen (American Masters) and Christine Turner’s Homegoings (POV). As the new television award recognizes the key producers from the network, the nominations for HBO Documentary Films’ Sheila Nevins (with four nods) and Sara Bernstein (with three) mark a first in Cinema Eye history – multiple nominations within the same category (but for different films).
The nomination for Sebastian Junger’s film about Tim Hetherington is notable. Junger and Hetherington were both nominated for two Cinema Eye awards in 2011 for their film Restrepo, and Hetherington posthumously won the Cinema Eye Honor for Nonfiction Short in 2012 for his film, Diary.
In the short film category, six films have been nominated, including the notable inclusion of Laura Poitras’ Death of a Prisoner, which first appeared as a New York Times Op-Doc. Poitras won the Cinema Eye Honor for Direction in 2011 for her film, The Oath. She’s been at the center of one of the biggest global news stories of 2013 – the revelation of Edward Snowden’s identity and the secret spying by the United States government on American citizens and international allies.
Ten contenders were named for Cinema Eye’s Audience Choice Prize, which includes many of the most talked about and beloved documentaries of the year, including Morgan Neville’s 20 Feet From Stardom, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish, Greg “Freddy” Camalier’s Muscle Shoals, Mona Eldaeif and Jehane Noujaim’s Rafea: Solar Mama, Dave Grohl’s Sound City and Jehane Noujaim’s The Square. The double nomination for Noujaim in the category was another first – a director with two films nominated in the same category in the same year.
Winners of the 7th Annual Cinema Eye Honors will be announced on January 8, 2014 as Cinema Eye returns, for the fourth straight year, to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. More details about this year’s ceremony, including additional events and key sponsors, will be announced shortly. Nominations for the Heterodox Award, for fiction films that use nonfiction elements, and the recipient of this year’s Legacy Award will be announced in the coming weeks.