IDA Documentary Awards: 'For Sama' Wins Best Feature

9:48 PM 12/7/2019

by Hilary Lewis

'American Factory' helmers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert nabbed best director honors, while other high-profile winners include 'Leaving Neverland' (best multi-part documentary) and Beyonce's 'Homecoming' (best music documentary).

For Sama Still - Publicity - H 2019
Waad al-Kateab

For Sama won the top prize of best feature at the International Documentary Association's 2019 awards, which took place Saturday night at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

The film's director-producer, Waad Al-Kateab, also received the Courage Under Fire Award. Meanwhile, American Factory helmers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert received the IDA's first best director award.

Other high-profile projects to take home prizes included HBO's Michael Jackson doc Leaving Neverland (best multi-part documentary) and Netflix's Beyoncé concert film Homecoming (best music documentary).

Pare Lorentz Award winner Honeyland also scored best cinematography honors.

IDA executive director Simon Kilmurry praised the all of the winners' work, saying that it “boldly engages with and responds to the tumultuous times we live in, it is a call for justice, it enlightens and entertains us, it gives us hope, and it introduces us to people, places, and ideas that will stay with us forever.”

Additional honorary awards were presented to Cinereach (Pioneer Award), Knock Down the House director Rachel Lears (Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award), Freida Lee Mock (Career Achievement Award), Leah Remini (Truth to Power Award) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (Amicus Award).

The IDA also announced a new global grant, underwritten by Netflix, which will in its first year provide a $25,000 cash award and ongoing support to an emerging filmmaker from Braxil, Mexico, South Korea or India.

"This grant allows IDA to continue to expand our support for documentary artists around the globe, and is a wonderful opportunity to connect the filmmaker with a global platform like Netflix," Kilmurry said.

A complete list of this year's winners follows.

  • Feature Documentary

    For Sama (Syria, UK / PBS Distribution, Channel 4, FRONTLINE. Director and Producer: Waad al-Kateab. Director: Edward Watts)(WINNER)
    (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) 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

    Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory, USA / Netflix) (WINNER)
    Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy, Brazil, USA / Netflix)
    Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche (Advocate, Canada, Israel, Switzerland / Film Movement)
    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

    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) (WINNER)
    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)
    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

    Dokumania (Denmark / Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Executive Producer: Anders Bruus) (WINNER)
    American Experience (USA / PBS. Executive Producer: Mark Samels)
    BBC Storyville (China, Hungary, UK / BBC. Executive Producer: Mandy Chang)
    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) (WINNER)
    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

    Leaving Neverland (USA / HBO. Director and Producer: Dan Reed. Executive Producers: Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller) (WINNER)
    Chasing the Moon (USA / PBS. Director and Producer: Robert Stone. Executive Producer: Mark Samels. Producers: Susan Bellows, Daniel Aegerter, Keith Haviland and Ray Rothrock)
    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 Moment in Mexico — The New York Times Op-Docs (Mexico, USA / New York Times. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo. Coordinating Producer: Lindsay Crouse) (WINNER)
    A Cure for Fear (USA / Director and Producer: Lana Wilson. Producer: Shrihari Sathe. Executive Producers: Anna Holmes, Jeff Seelbach and Diane L. Max)
    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

    A Sense of Quietness (U.K. / BBC Radio 4. Producer: Eleanor McDowall. Executive Producers: Alan Hall and Rachel Hooper) (WINNER)
    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)

  • Music Documentary

    Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (USA / Netflix. Director and Producer: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Director: Ed Burke. Producers: Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams) (WINNER)
    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)
    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

    Brewed in Palestine (USA, Israel, Palestine / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: Emma Schwartz) (WINNER)
    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)
    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

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

  • Best Editing

    Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo) (WINNER)
    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)
    When Lambs Become Lions (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Editors: Jon Kasbe, Caitlyn Greene and Frederick Shanahan)

  • Best Music Score

    The Raft (Denmark, Sweden, USA / Metrograph Pictures. Composer: Hans Appelqvist) (WINNER)
    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)

  • Writing

    The Cave (Denmark, Syria, USA / National Geographic. Writer: Feras Fayyad) (WINNER)
    Always in Season
    (USA / ITVS. Writers: Jackie Olive and Don Bernier) 
    Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Writer: Julien Elie)
    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)

  • ABC News VideoSource Award

    WINNER Mike Wallace is Here (USA / Magnolia Pictures. Director: Avi Belkin. Producers: Rafael Marmor, John Battsek, Peggy Drexler, Avi Belkin and Christopher Leggett)
    Halston (USA / 1091. Director: Frédéric Tcheng. Producers: Roland Ballester, Frédéric Tcheng, Stephanie Levy and Paul Dallas)
    Meeting Gorbachev (Germany, UK, USA / 1091. Directors: Werner Herzog and André Singer. Producers: Lucki Stipetic and Svetlana Palmer)
    Where's My Roy Cohn? (USA / Sony Pictures Classics. Director: Matt Tyrnauer. Producers: Matt Tyrnauer, Corey Reeser, Marie Brenner, Joyce Deep and Andrea Lewis)

  • 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)
    Truth to Power Award: Leah Remini
    Pioneer Award: Cinereach