Strong Island, director Yance Ford’s decade-long examination into the murder of his brother and the impact of the crime on his family, won three major awards tonight at the 11th Annual Cinema Eye Honors.
Overall, Netflix received more awards than any other distributor, winning a total of six 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 Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking were founded in late 2007 to recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film. Cinema Eye’s mission is to advocate for, recognize, and promote the highest commitment to rigor and artistry in the nonfiction field. The Honors ceremony is the culmination of Cinema Eye Week, a multi-day celebration that acknowledges the best work in nonfiction film through screenings and events.
The final four days of Cinema Eye Week culminated in New York City, where a series of celebratory events brought together many of the year’s most accomplished filmmakers.
Strong Island won Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Debut, and Outstanding Nonfiction Feature Film. The wins marked the first time in Cinema Eye history that a debut film won the award for Outstanding Direction.
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 Adelman 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.
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.
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 full list of Cinema Eye winners:
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
Strong IslandDirected by Yance FordProduced by Joslyn Barnes and Yance Ford
Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Yance FordStrong Island
Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Outstanding Achievement in Production
Kareem Abeed, Stefan Kloos and Søren Steen JespersenLast Men in Aleppo
Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Andrew Ackerman and Jeff OrlowskiChasing Coral
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation
Stefan NadelmanLong Strange Trip
Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Strong IslandDirected by Yance Ford
Audience Choice Prize
Directed by Brett Morgen
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television
The KeepersDirected by Ryan White
For Netflix: Ben Cotner, Jason Spingarn-Koff and Lisa NishimuraLots of Kids, A Monkey and a CastleDirected by Gustavo Salmerón
Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
The Rabbit HuntDirected by Patrick Bresnan
The Florida ProjectDirected by Sean Baker
When We Were KingsDirected by Leon Gast
Hell Yeah Prize
Directed by Bryan Fogel