'The Look of Silence' Tops IDA Doc Awards

Participant Media
'The Look of Silence'

Netflix's Ted Sarandos received the pioneer award at the Dec. 5 ceremony.

Director Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary The Look of Silence earned best feature honors at the IDA Documentary Awards on Saturday night. Look of Silence, which is also on the shortlist of 15 feature docs that are vying for an Oscar nomination, follows Oppenheimer's Oscar-nominated 2012 documentary The Act of Killing and revisits survivors of the 1965 Indonesian genocide as well as the men who killed their relatives. The new doc marked a dangerous return for Oppenheimer to the country where he feared for his safety, but resulted in his winning the IDA's top prize.

The annual IDA event, which recognizes the best of nonfiction filmmaking and programming, was held at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles and hosted by Grammy-nominated comedian Tig Notaro.

Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman's Last Day of Freedom with named best short. Last Day has also been shortlisted for the Academy's best documentary short award.

Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk presented the IDA's Pioneer Award to Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, home to such documentary features as What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom, which are both on the Academy's shortlist this year.

Director Kathryn Bigelow awarded the Courage Under Fire honor to Matthew Heineman, helmer of the documentary Cartel Land, which looks at efforts to combat drug dealers on the U.S./Mexico border. 

Danny Glover also was on hand to honor Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation with the Amicus Award for supporting nonfiction media.

The Pare Lorentz Award, given to filmmaking that focuses on environmental and social issues, was presented to Jerry Rothwell's How to Change the World, which focuses on the founders of Greenpeace.

The IDA's Career Achievement Award was presented to Gordon Quinn, founder and artistic director of Chicago-based Kartemquin Films,

Creative recognition awards were given to: The Russian Woodpecker, for Artem Ryzhykov's cinematography ; Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, for  editing by Joe Beshenkovsky and Brett Morgen; Best of Enemies, for Jonathan Kirkscey's score; and Listen to Me Marlon, for its screenplay by Steven Riley and co-writer Peter Ettedgui.

Netflix also received kudos for Chef's Table, which took home the award for best episodic series; HBO's The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst earned the best limited series nod; and Best of Enemies nabbed the ABC News VideoSource award. 

The complete list of winners follows:

Career Achievement Award

Gordon Quinn


Pioneer Award

Ted Sarandos


Amicus Award

Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation


Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award sponsored by the Archibald Family Foundation

Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe


Courage Under Fire Award

Matthew Heineman


Best Feature Award

The Look of Silence

Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

Drafthouse Films and Participant Media


Best Short Award

Last Day of Freedom

Directors: Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman


Pare Lorentz Award

How to Change the World

Director: Jerry Rothwell


Creative Recognition Award Winners

Best Cinematography

The Russian Woodpecker

Cinematography by: Artem Ryzhykov


Best Editing

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

Edited by: Joe Beshenkovsky and Brett Morgen


Best Writing

Listen to Me Marlon

Written by: Stevan Riley
Co-writer: Peter Ettedgui


Best Music

Best of Enemies

Original score by: Jonathan Kirkscey


ABC News VideoSource Award

Best of Enemies

Directors: Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

Magnolia Pictures


Best Curated Series Award

Independent Lens

Executive producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen



Executive producers: Simon Kilmurry and Chris White


Best Limited Series Award

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst

Executive producer: Jason Blum

Co-Executive producer: Zac Stuart-Pontier

Produced by: Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling



Best Episodic Series Award

Chef’s Table

Executive producers: David Gelb and Andrew Fried



Best Short Form Series Award

Do Not Track

Executive producer: Hugues Sweeney

National Film Board of Canada, Upian, Arte, and BR


David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award

The Archipelago

Director: Benjamin Huguet

The National Film and Television School


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