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Best of Fest – Docs: Laura Poitras Racks Up Noms For Citizenfour, IDFA Announces Awards (November 2014)

With year end lists already flooding the interwebs a full month before the actual year’s end, its hard to ignore the fact that awards season is now in full swing. Tons of documentary awards have already been handed out, whether its for IDA (not Pawel Pawlikowski’s gorgeous new film) or for Cinema Eye Honors, there are plenty of worthy films getting their due recognition. Plus, several international festivals have handed out major awards this month, including IDFA, which hosted their awards ceremony just minutes ago. The full roundup is just below:

DOK Leipzig – Germany – October 27th – November 2nd
At the close of the 57th edition of the German documentary festival the Golden Dove Award, the festival’s highest honor, was given to Claudine Bories and Patrice Chagnard’s Rules of the Game, while the Leipziger Ring Film Prize went to Laura Poitras’s Edward Snowden doc Citizenfour, the FIPRESCI Jury Prize was awarded to Ioanis Nuguet’s Spartacus & Cassandra, and Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosołowski’s Domino Effekt received an award for Outstanding German Documentary.

Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival – Canada – April 23rd – May 3rd
Though we are still about five months out from the 2015 edition of largest North American documentary festival, it was announced that their regional spotlight program would feature India and their Focus On program would highlight the work of Canadian filmmaker Carole Laganière, who had previously won back to back Best Canadian Feature Documentary awards at Hot Docs with her films The Fiancée of Life (2002) and The Moon and the Violin (2003). It was also announced that Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán was to be presented with the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award in celebration of works like the revolutionary landmark The Battle of Chile (1975-79) and his latest masterpiece Nostalgia For The Light (2010).

International Documentary Festival Amsterdam – The Netherlands – November 19th – November 30th
The largest documentary film festival in the world hosted its awards ceremony today where the top prize, the VPRO IDFA Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary, was given to Laurent Renard for her Cannes preemed post-traumatic stress disorder doc, Of Men and War, while the jury awarded the Special Jury Award to Something Better to Come, a portrait of a teen living in Europe’s largest landfill by Hanna Polak. Director Gülsah Dogan won the Lottery BankGiro IDFA Audience Award for Naziha’s Spring, which tells the story of its titular empowered protagonist, and Alan Hicks received the IDFA Galaxy Music Documentary Audience Award for Keep On Keepin’ On, which looks at the jazz legend Clark Terry and his young protégé Justin Kauflin, a blind jazz pianist.

AFI Fest – United States – November 6th – November 13th
Among the many Audience and Jury awards handed out in Los Angeles on November 13th were the World Cinema Audience Award, which went to Gabe Polsky for his Russian Hockey doc Red Army, the Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Direction was awarded to Morgan Knibbe for the short Shipwreck, the Special Jury Prize for Breakthrough Filmmaker went to Joe Callander for Gary Has An AIDS Scare, and the Grand Jury Prize for Live Action Short went to Scott Cummings’ Buffalo Juggalos.

BRITDOC Impact Awards
In an eccentric turn, the BRITDOC Foundation announced its 2014 Impact Award winners by placing them on a massive billboard in the Nevada desert. All five award winners, including Michèle Stephenson & Joe Brewster for American Promise, Gabriela Cowperthwaite for Blackfish, Pamela Yates for Granito: How To Nail A Dictator, Eugene Jarecki for The House I Live In and Callum Macrae for No Fire Zone, will receive $15,000 in reward for their extraordinary social achievements with these films.

British Independent Film Awards
On November 3rd, the five documentary nominations for the 17th edition of the British Independent Film Awards were announced. Mike Brett and Steve Jamison’s soccer doc Next Goal Wins, Andre Singer’s Night Will Fall, which investigates an unfinished Holocaust film edited by Alfred Hitchcock, Orlando von Einsiedel’s Congolese oil and gorilla doc, Virunga, James Hall and Edward Lovelace’s film on Edwyn Collins and memory, The Possibilities are Endless, while Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard’s Nick Cave centered docu-hybrid, 20,000 Days on Earth, garnered a nomination not only for best documentary feature, but also best achievement in production.

Cinema Eye Honors
In a pair of press releases, AJ Schnack and his team of nominating committee behind the Cinema Eye Honors announced The Influentials, which are set of 25 films that most inspired this year’s class of filmmakers eligible for the 2015 awards and include such titles as Ross McElwee’s 1985 masterwork Sherman’s March, Frederick Wiseman’s legendary 1967 film, Titicut Follies, and Hubert Sauper’s haunting 2004 doc, Darwin’s Nightmare. They also announced The Unforgettables, which is a list of projects they’ve deemed to possess this year’s most notable and significant nonfiction film subjects. Films and their subjects recognized include Edward Snowden in Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour, Brandy Burre in Robert Greene’s Actress, and Bob and Marcel in Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden’s Ne Me Quitte Pas. Included in this celebratory statement was news that Albert Maysles (Salesman, Grey Gardens) would be this year’s Cinema Eye Legacy Award recipient.

International Documentary Association
The 30th Annual IDA Documentary Awards announced their film nominations on October 29th. Films up for Best Feature include Laura Poitras’ Citizenfour, John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s Finding Vivian Maier, Marshall Curry’s Point and Shoot, The Salt of the Earth by Wim Wenders and Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, and Nick Broomfield’s Tales of the Grim Sleeper. The award recipients are to be announced December 5th at The Paramount Theater in Los Angeles.

Grierson British Documentary Awards
Thirteen Grierson British Documentary Awards were handed out in London on November 3rd. Among the winners were Zachary Heinzerling, who was awarded the Bertha DocHouse Prize for Best Cinema Documentary for Cutie and the Boxer, Mark Levinson, who won the Satusfaction Prize for Best Science or Natural History Documentary for Particle Fever, and Alex Graham, who given the Grierson Trustees’ Award for his continued support of documentaries with his production company, Wall to Wall.

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