IDA Documentary Awards: 'Honeyland,' 'American Factory,' 'Apollo 11' Lead Nominees

8:01 AM 10/23/2019

by Hilary Lewis

Other high-profile films up for best feature are 'One Child Nation,' 'Sea of Shadows,' 'The Biggest Little Farm' and 'For Sama,' while director-producer Waad Al-Kataeb is set to be honored with the Courage Under Fire Award.

'Apollo 11'
'Apollo 11'
Courtesy of NEON

Apollo 11, American Factory, The Biggest Little Farm, For Sama, Honeyland, One Child Nation and Sea of Shadows are among the high-profile films nominated for best feature by the International Documentary Association, which on Wednesday announced the nominees for its 2019 awards.

Advocate, The Edge of Democracy and Midnight Family round out the feature nominees.

The IDA also announced that it will present a best director award for the first time. All of the films up for this prize (Advocate, American Factory, Edge of Democracy, For Sama and Honeyland) have female helmers.

Additionally, For Sama director-producer Waad Al-Kataeb has been named this year's Courage Under Fire honoree.

“Back in Aleppo, I had no option but to fight the fears and horrors of this war through filming my experience both as a mother and as a female filmmaker. And now to receive the Courage Under Fire Award, I am moved and honored and even more inspired to continue to tell these important stories," Al-Kataeb said in a statement. "This award means so much, and I hope it will serve as an inspiration to women around the world who are suffering from war or prejudice, so that they may find the strength to film their lives and to tell their truth. I would like to share this award with all of the brave filmmakers and citizen journalists behind the scenes whom you may never hear about and who have experienced these horrors together with us in Aleppo, Ghouta and now in Idleb. Thank you to the IDA and to all documentary filmmakers who are changing the world with their films.”

Among feature nominees up for other awards, Apollo 11 is also nominated in the editing and music score categories; American Factory is also up for best editing; Biggest Little Farm is also up for best music score; Edge of Democracy is also up for best writing; Honeyland is also up for best cinematography and will receive the Pare Lorentz Award; Midnight Family is also up for best cinematography and editing; and Sea of Shadows is also up for best music score.

Other high-profile projects that landed IDA noms include Netflix's Selena Gomez-executive-produced Living Undocumented (up for best episodic series), HBO's Michael Jackson doc Leaving Neverland, Amazon's Lorena Bobbitt series Lorena, Lifetime's Surviving R. Kelly docuseries and Showtime's Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (all up for best multi-part documentary, with the Wu-Tang series also up for best music documentary); and Neon's Aretha Franklin doc Amazing Grace, Netflix's Beyoncé concert film Homecoming and HBO's The Apollo (all up for best music documentary).

Added IDA executive director Simon Kilmurry, “The IDA Documentary Awards recognizes excellence in nonfiction storytelling across a range of forms, and all of this year’s nominees and winners illustrate that documentary storytelling is one of the most vital art forms today. These features, shorts, series, and audio documentaries explore all parts of the human experience. They challenge us and entertain us. They speak to the need for a more compassionate world and illustrate the unlimited resilience and potential we have by sharing these stories with each other. They build bridges across continents and cultures.”

He continued: “With the addition of the best director award, the IDA is making an important statement. We felt the need to more clearly acknowledge the creativity and bold directorial vision that is behind many of the films we are privileged to consider. We hope that this award recognizes the fact that documentary directing is a vital and unique art form."

The 35th annual IDA Documentary Awards will be presented Dec. 7 at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

A complete list of this year's nominees follows.

  • Feature Documentary

    Advocate (Canada, Israel, Switzerland / Film Movement. Directors and Producers: Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche. Producers: Paul Cadieux and Joelle Bertossa)
    American Factory (USA / Netflix. Directors and Producers: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. Producers: Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello)
    Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Director and Producer: Todd Douglas Miller. Producers: Thomas Petersen and Evan Strauss)
    For Sama (Syria, UK / PBS Distribution, Channel 4, FRONTLINE. Director and Producer: Waad al-Kateab. Director: Edward Watts)
    Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Director: Tamara Kotevska. Director and Producer: Ljubomir Stefanov. Producer: Atanas Georgiev)
    Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Director and Producer: Luke Lorentzen. Producers: Kellen Quinn, Daniela Alatorre and Elena Fortes)
    One Child Nation (USA / Amazon Studios. Directors and Producers: Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang. Producers: Christoph Jörg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn)
    Sea of Shadows (Austria, USA / National Geographic. Director: Richard Ladkani. Producers: Walter Kohler and Wolfgang Knopfler)
    The Biggest Little Farm (USA / NEON, LD Entertainment. Director and Producer: John Chester. Producer: Sandra Keats)
    The Edge of Democracy (Brazil, USA / Netflix. Director and Producer: Petra Costa. Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan)

  • Director

    Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy, Brazil, USA / Netflix)
    Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche (Advocate, Canada, Israel, Switzerland / Film Movement)
    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory, USA / Netflix)
    Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov (Honeyland, Macedonia / NEON)
    Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts (For Sama, Syria, U.K. / PBS Distribution, Channel 4, FRONTLINE) 

  • Short Documentary

    A Love Song for Latasha (USA. Director and Producer: Sophia Nahli Allison. Producers: Janice Duncan and Fam Udeorji) 
    After Maria (USA / Netflix. Director: Nadia Hallgren. Producer: Lauren Cioffi) 
    America (USA / Aubin Pictures. Director: Garrett Bradley. Producers: Lauren Domino and Catherine Gund) 
    Black to Techno (USA / Frieze. Director: Jenn Nkiru. Producer: Jacqueline Edenbrow) 
    Easter Snap (USA. Director and Producer: RaMell Ross. Producers: Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim) 
    In the Absence (Korea, USA / Field of Vision. Director: Yi Seung-Jun. Producer: Gary Byung-Seok Kam)
    Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you're a girl) (Afghanistan, U.K., USA / Lifetime Films, A&E IndieFilms. Director: Carol Dysinger. Producer: Elena Andreicheva)
    Sam and the Plant Next Door (U.K. / The Guardian. Director and Producer: Omer Sami)
    The Nightcrawlers (Philippines, USA / National Geographic. Director: Alexander Mora. Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Doireann Maddock and Abigail Anketell-Jones)
    Valley of the Rulers (Israel, Serbia. Director: Efim Graboy. Producer: Dejan Petrovic)

  • Curated Series

    American Experience (USA / PBS. Executive Producer: Mark Samels)
    BBC Storyville (China, Hungary, UK / BBC. Executive Producer: Mandy Chang)
    Dokumania (Denmark / Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Executive Producer: Anders Bruus)
    POV (USA / PBS. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)
    AJE Witness (Qatar / AJE English. Executive Producer: Fiona Lawson-Baker)

  • Episodic Series

    Abstract: The Art of Design (USA / Netflix. Executive Producers: Scott Dadich, Morgan Neville, Dave O'Connor, Justin Wilkes and Jon Kamen) 
    Finding Justice (USA / BET. Executive Producers: Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, David Leepson, Brian Gewirtz, dream hampton, Jackson Nguyen, Aaron Rice, Todd Crites, Hiram Garcia, Aaron Bowden and Stephanie Lydecker) 
    Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole (USA / A&E. Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Peter LoGreco, Joshua Rofe, Devon Hammonds, Evan Lerner, Amy Savitsky and Elaine Frontain Bryant) 
    Living Undocumented (USA / Netflix. Directors and Executive Producers: Anna Chai and Aaron Saidman. Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Sean O'Grady, Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey) 
    Our Planet (U.K., USA / Netflix. Directors: Adam Chapman, Mandi Stark, Jeff Wilson, Sophie Lanfear, Hugh Pearson and Huw Cordey. Executive Producers: Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey) 

  • Multi-Part Documentary

    Chasing the Moon (USA / PBS. Director and Producer: Robert Stone. Executive Producer: Mark Samels. Producers: Susan Bellows, Daniel Aegerter, Keith Haviland and Ray Rothrock)
    Leaving Neverland (USA / HBO. Director and Producer: Dan Reed. Executive Producers: Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller)
    Lorena (USA / Amazon. Director and Executive Producer: Joshua Rofé. Executive Producers: Jordan Peele, Steven J. Berger, Win Rosenfeld, Jenna Santoianni, Tom Lesinski and Andrea Harner. Producer: M. Elizabeth Hughes)
    Surviving R. Kelly (USA / Lifetime. Executive Producers: Joel Karsberg, Dream Hampton, Tamra Simmons, Jesse Daniels and Brie Miranda Bryant)
    Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (USA / Showtime. Executive Producers: Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender, Sacha Jenkins and Vinnie Malhotra) 

  • Short Form Series

    A Cure for Fear (USA / Topic.com. Director and Producer: Lana Wilson. Producer: Shrihari Sathe. Executive Producers: Anna Holmes, Jeff Seelbach and Diane L. Max)
    A Moment in Mexico — The New York Times Op-Docs (Mexico, USA / New York Times. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo. Coordinating Producer: Lindsay Crouse)
    Guardian Documentaries (U.K. / The Guardian. Executive Producer: Charlie Phillips, Lindsay Poulton and Jacqueline Edenbrow)
    POV Shorts (USA / PBS. Producer: Chloe Gbai. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)
    The F Word (USA / Participant Media, SoulPancake. Director and Producer: Nicole Opper. Producer: Kristan Cassady)

  • Audio Documentary

    Gladiator: The Aaron Hernandez Story (USA / The Boston Globe, Wondery. Reporters: Bob Hohler, Beth Healy, Sacha Pfieffer and Andrew Ryan. Producer: Amy Pedulla. Executive Producers: Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy and George Lavender)
    Headlong: Running From COPS (USA / Stitcher Premium, Topic Studios. Host and Producer: Dan Taberski. Producers: Henry Molofsky, Courtney Harrell and Diane Hodson. Executive Producers: Max Linsky, Jenna Weiss-Berman, Lisa Leingang and Leital Molad)
    Heavyweight — Episode: "Skye" (USA / Gimlet Media. Reporter and Executive Producer: Jonathan Goldstein. Producers: Kalila Holt, Stevie Lane, Peter Bresnan and Jorge Just)
    Latino USA — Episode: "The Return" (USA / National Public Radio. Producer: Sayre Quevedo. Executive Producer: Maria Hinojosa)
    A Sense of Quietness (U.K. / BBC Radio 4. Producer: Eleanor McDowall. Executive Producers: Alan Hall and Rachel Hooper) 

  • Music Documentary

    Amazing Grace (USA / NEON. Producers: Alan Elliot, Tirrell D. Whittley, Sabrina V. Owens, Joe Boyd, Rob Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Spike Lee, Angie Seegers, Joseph Woolf)
    Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (USA / Netflix. Director and Producer: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Director: Ed Burke. Producers: Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams)
    The Apollo (USA / HBO. Director and Producer: Roger Ross Williams. Producers: Lisa Cortés, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann)
    The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash (USA / YouTube. Director: Thom Zimny. Producers: Thom Zimny, Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart and Jillian Apfelbaum)
    Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (USA / Showtime. Director: Sacha Jenkins. Executive Producers: Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender, Sacha Jenkins and Vinnie Malhotra. Producers: Cary Graber, Vanessa Maruskin, Ghostface Killah, Robert F. Diggs, GZA, Lamont "UGod" Hawkins, Darryl Hill Sr., Jason Hunter, Icelene Jones, Method Man, E. Turner and Raekwon The Chef) 

  • David L. Wolper Student Award

    All That Remains (USA / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: Eva Rendle)
    Beyond the North Winds: A Post Nuclear Reverie (U.K., Colombia / National Film & Television School (U.K.). Director and Producer: Natalie Cubides-Brady)
    Brewed in Palestine (USA, Israel, Palestine / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: Emma Schwartz)
    Follow the Sun (USA / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: JoeBill Muñoz)
    In the Wake (India, USA / Northwestern University. Director and Producer: Natasha Nair)

  • Best Cinematography

    Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Cinematographers: Ernesto Pardo and François Messier-Rheault) 
    Gods of Molenbeek (Belgium, Finland, Germany / CAT&Docs. Cinematographer: Hannu Vitikainen) 
    Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma) 
    Midnight Family (Mexico / 1091. Cinematographer: Luke Lorentzen) 
    When Lambs Become Lions (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Cinematographer: Jon Kasbe) 

  • Best Editing

    American Factory (USA / Netflix. Editor: Lindsay Utz)
    Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Editor: Todd Douglas Miller)
    Diego Maradona (U.K. / HBO. Editor: Chris King)
    Human Nature (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Editor: Regina Sobel)
    Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo)
    When Lambs Become Lions (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Editors: Jon Kasbe, Caitlyn Greene and Frederick Shanahan) 

  • Best Music Score

    Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Composer: Matt Morton)
    Human Nature (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Composer: Keegan Dewitt)
    Sea of Shadows (USA, Austria / National Geographic. Composer: H. Scott Salinas)
    The Biggest Little Farm (USA / NEON, LD Entertainment. Composer: Jeff Beal)
    The Raft (Denmark, Sweden, USA / Metrograph Pictures. Composer: Hans Appelqvist) 

  • Writing

    Always in Season (USA / ITVS. Writers: Jackie Olive and Don Bernier) 
    Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Writer: Julien Elie) 
    The Cave (Denmark, Syria, USA / National Geographic. Writer: Feras Fayyad) 
    The Edge of Democracy (Brazil, USA / Netflix. Writer: Petra Costa) 
    The Great Hack (USA / Netflix. Writers: Pedro Kos, Erin Barnett and Karim Amer) 

  • Pare Lorentz Award

    Winner: Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Director: Tamara Kotevska. Director and Producer: Ljubomir Stefanov. Producer: Atanas Georgiev)

    Honorable mention: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Canada / Kino Lorber. Director: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky. Producer: Nadia Tavazzani)

  • Honorary Awards

    Amicus Award: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press 

    Career Achievement Award: Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, Anita)

    Courage Under Fire Award: Waad Al-Kateab (For Sama

    Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Rachel Lears (Knock Down the House, The Hand That Feeds

    Pioneer Award: Cinereach 

    Due to a press release error, a previous version of this story misidentified the executive producer of American Experience. It is Mark Samels, not Michael Kantor.