'The Look of Silence' Tops Cinema Eye Honors

12:52 PM 2/12/2016

by Hilary Lewis

Joshua Oppenheimer's follow-up to 'The Act of Killing' received three nods at the ninth annual documentary awards ceremony.

The Look of Silence Still - H 2015
Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media

The Look of Silence Still - H 2015

Joshua Oppenheimer's The Look of Silence won three awards Wednesday night at the ninth annual Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking. The filmmaker's follow-up to The Act of Killing was named outstanding nonfiction feature, with Oppenheimer winning the best direction award and producer Signe Byrge Sorenson taking home the prize for outstanding production.

Oppenheimer and Sorenson's nods mark the first time that filmmakers have earned Cinema Eye awards for outstanding feature or outstanding production twice, winning in both categories for Act of Killing as well. In addition, Sorenson's two wins put her total number of Cinema Eye trophies at four, tying Citizenfour filmmaker Laura Poitras for the most awards in Cinema Eye history. Look of Silence follows a family that survives genocide in Indonesia as they confront the men who killed one of their brothers.

Editor Chris King also made Cinema Eye history, becoming the first person to win three awards in the same category — all outstanding achievement in editing honors. He won this year for the Amy Winehouse doc Amy, after previously winning for Exit Through the Gift Shop and Senna.

Mountain-climbing documentary Meru, directed by Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, nabbed two awards, the audience choice prize and outstanding achievement in cinematography. The latter was one of two ties this year, with Cartel Land's Matthew Heineman and Matt Porwoll also winning best cinematography. The other tie occurred with the award for best nonfiction short film.

Other noteworthy winners include Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (outstanding achievement in graphic design or animation for Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing), The Wolfpack (outstanding achievement in a debut feature film for director Crystal Moselle) and Heart of a Dog (outstanding achievement in original music score for Laurie Anderson).

The ceremony at New York's Museum of the Moving Image was hosted by Hoop Dreams and Life Itself director Steve James. Presenters included Poitras, whose Citizenfour was last year's big winner; Alex Gibney; Liz Garbus; and Making a Murderer filmmakers Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi.

The Cinema Eye awards were handed out just hours before the Oscar nominations were announced, with Look of Silence, Amy, Cartel Land, Meru and The Hunting Ground all considered likely to land best documentary feature nominations. Heart of a Dog could be a possible surprise nominee. Last year, Citizenfour won four Cinema Eye awards ahead of being named best documentary feature at the Oscars.

Look of Silence has received numerous film festival and critics group honors. The pic also won the Gotham Award for best documentary and the International Documentary Association award for best feature, and it has been nominated for Critics Choice, Independent Spirit, PGA and London Critics Circle awards.

A full list of this year's Cinema Eye winners follows:

  • Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

    The Look of Silence
    Directed by Joshua Oppenheimer
    Produced by Signe Byrge Sorensen

  • Outstanding Achievement in Direction

    Joshua Oppenheimer
    The Look of Silence

  • Outstanding Achievement in Editing

    Chris King

  • Outstanding Achievement in Production

    Signe Byrge Sorensen
    The Look of Silence

  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography (tie)

    Matthew Heineman and Matt Porwoll
    Cartel Land

    Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk

  • Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score

    Laurie Anderson
    Heart of a Dog

  • Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation

    Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsing
    Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

  • Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film

    The Wolfpack
    Directed by Crystal Moselle

  • Audience Choice Prize

    Directed by Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

  • Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television

    Private Violence
    Directed and produced by Cynthia Hill
    For HBO Documentary Films: Senior producer Nancy Abraham, executive producer Sheila Nevins

  • Spotlight Award

    Toto and His Sisters
    Directed by Alexandre Nanau

  • Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking (tie)

    Buffalo Juggalos
    Directed by Scott Cummings

    Hotel 22
    Directed by Elizabeth Lo

  • Heterodox Award

    Directed by Jafar Panahi

  • Legacy Award

    American Movie
    Directed by Chris Smith