IDA Awards: Netflix's Ted Sarandos to Receive Special Honor (Exclusive)

Ted Sarandos - H 2014
Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, will be honored by the International Documentary Association at the 31st IDA Documentary Awards at Paramount Pictures' Paramount Theatre on Dec. 5.

The organization will also honor Kartemquin Films founder/artistic director Gordon Quinn, the Bertha Foundation and its founder Tony Tabatznik, plus (T)ERROR directors Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe.

Sarandos, who since 2000 has led content acquisition for the video streaming service, which now offers a massive array of docs — and this year produced two of its own, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire — will receive the Pioneer Award "in recognition of the company’s game-changing and unwavering support of creating and showcasing nonfiction programming." Past recipients of the honor include the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond, Rob Epstein, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, Mel Stuart and Paula Apsell.

Quinn, who has been associated with Kartemquin ever since its founding a half-century ago, has been tapped for the career achievement award. The best-known of the roughly 55 films with which he and Kartemquin have been associated over the years is probably Steve James' Hoop Dreams (1994), which the late Roger Ebert described as "the great American documentary." (This year he's an EP on the doc short On Beauty.) Previous recipients of the award include Robert Redford, Alex Gibney, Barbara Kopple, Errol Morris, Sheila Nevins, Michael Moore and Werner Herzog.

The Amicus Award, which has been handed out only four other times in the IDA's 31-year history — to Geralyn Dreyfous, Michael Donaldson, John Hendricks and Steven Spielberg — will be given to Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation "in recognition of their work supporting the essential needs of the non-fiction media landscape." The Bertha Foundation’s Media Program specifically aims to nurture global talent, expose relevant stories and connect them to audiences for powerful, positive social impact.

And Cabral and Sutcliffe will share the emerging documentary filmmaker award, which "recognizes the achievements of a filmmaker who has made a significant impact at the beginning of his or her career in documentary film."

A full list of nominees for the IDA Documentary Awards will be announced in early November.