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IDA Award Nominations

IDA Documentary Awards Reveals Nominations for It's First Virtual Ceremony; Four Pics Vie For Both Best Feature & Director


By Erik Pederson

November 24, 2020 8:00 AM



The International Documentary Association has announced the nominees for its 36th Annual IDA Documentary Awards, and a certain streaming service dominates. Netflix scored a leading 18 noms for the 2020 IDAs, more than three times its nearest rival.


The New York Times garnened seven noms, including four for its Op-Docs, to run second. PBS is third with five, followed by HBO’s four.


The IDA also said today that its 2020 ceremony is going virtual on January 21.


“The nominees present an inspiring and urgent range of stories from around the globe,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the IDA. “The broad range of subjects and approaches to storytelling underscores that documentary is our most exciting form of cultural expression, a vital art form and a crucial element of democratic dialogue.”


Ten films are up for the marquee Best Feature award: Collective (Magnolia Pictures, Participant), Crip Camp (Netflix), Gunda (Neon), MLK/FBI (IFC Films), The Reason I Jump (Kino Lorber), Reunited, Softie, Time (Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times), The Truffle Hunters (Sony Pictures Classics) and Welcome to Chechnya (HBO).


The helmers of five of those films also are up for Best Director: Garrett Bradley (Time), Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw (The Truffle Hunters), Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht (Crip Camp), Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI) and Jerry Rothwell (The Reason I Jump).


On the TV side, five programs will vie for Best Curated Series): ESPN’s 30 for 30, PBS’ American Experience, Thirteen Productions’ American Masters, Illinois Public Media’s Reel Midwest and PBS/World Channel’s Reel South.

The nominees for Best Episodic Series are Cheer (Netflix), Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (AMC), Last Chance U (Netflix), Seven Worlds, One Planet (BBC America) and We’re Here (HBO).

Up for Best Multi-Part Documentary are Asian Americans (PBS), Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered (HBO), City So Real (National Geographic), Hillary (Hulu) and Lenox Hill (Netflix).


“This is a year that has been one of reflection, looking inwards, and living life differently than we have always known it to be,” said James Costa, co-chair of the Feature Documentary Nominating Committee and IDA Board of Directors’ co-vice president. “Through the art of filmmaking these films gave us an opportunity to truly look and learn through the lenses of others.”


Here is the full list of nominees for the 2020 IDA Documentary Awards:


Best Feature

Collective (Romania / Magnolia Pictures, Participant) Director/Producer: Alexander Nanau Producer: Bianca Oana


Crip Camp (USA / Netflix) Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht Producer: Sara Bolder


Gunda (Norway, USA / Neon) Director: Victor Kossakovsky Producer: Anita Rehoff Larsen


MLK/FBI (USA / IFC Films) Director: Sam Pollard Producer: Benjamin Hedin


The Reason I Jump (USA, UK / Kino Lorber) Director: Jerry Rothwell Producers: Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow


Reunited (Denmark) Director: Mira Jargil Producer: Kirstine Barfod


Softie (Kenya / POV) Director/Producer: Sam Soko Producer: Toni Kamau


Time (USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times) Director/Producer: Garrett Bradley Producers: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn


The Truffle Hunters (USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics) Directors/Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw


Welcome to Chechnya (USA / HBO) Director/Producer: David France Producers: Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin and Askold Kurov


Best Director

Garrett Bradley Time USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times


Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw The Truffle Hunters USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics


Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht Crip Camp USA / Netflix


Sam Pollard MLK/FBI USA / IFC Films


Jerry Rothwell The Reason I Jump USA, UK / Kino Lorber


Best Short

Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa (USA / Topic, Woman Make Movies) Directors/Producers: Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater


All That Perishes at the Edge of Land (Pakistan) Director/Producer: Hira Nabi Producer: Till Passow


Huntsville Station (USA / New York Times Op-Docs) Directors/Producers: Jamie Meltzer, Chris Filippone


Hysterical Girl (USA / New York Times Op-Docs) Director: Kate Novack Producer: Andrew Rossi


John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (USA / Netflix) Director/Producer: Matthew Killip


The Lost Astronaut (USA / New York Times Op-Docs) Director: Ben Proudfoot Producers: Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi


Mizuko (USA, Japan / Topic) Directors/Producers: Kira Dane, Katelyn Rebelo


sống ở đây (USA / University of California, Santa Cruz) Director/Producer: Melanie Ho


To Calm the Pig Inside (Ang Pagpakalma sa Unos) (Philippines) Director/Producer: Joanna Vasquez Arong


Unforgivable (El Salvador) Director/Producer: Marlén Viñayo Producer: Carlos Martínez


Best Curated Series

30 for 30 (USA / ESPN) Executive Producers: John Dahl, Libby Geist, Rob King, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell


American Experience (USA / PBS) Executive Producers: Susan Bellows and Mark Samels


American Masters (USA / THIRTEEN Productions, LLC) Executive Producer: Michael Kantor


Reel Midwest (USA / Illinois Public Media) Executive Producer: Moss Bresnahan


Reel South (USA / PBS, World Channel) Executive Producers: Don Godish and Rachel Raney


Best Episodic Series

Cheer (USA / Netflix) Director/Executive Producer: Greg Whiteley Producers: Adam Leibowitz, Arielle Kilker, Chelsea Yarnell Executive Producers: Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Jasper Thomlinson, Bert Hamelinck


Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (USA / AMC) Executive Producers: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, Alex Gibney, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Shea Serrano, Angie Day, One9, Erik Parker, Isaac Bolden


Last Chance U (USA / Netflix) Director/Executive Producer: Greg Whiteley Executive Producers: Joe LaBracio, James D. Stern, Lucas Smith, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard


Seven Worlds, One Planet (UK / BBC America) Directors: Fredi Devas, Emma Napper, Giles Badger, Chadden Hunter Executive Producer: Jonny Keeling


We’re Here (USA / HBO) Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Stephen Warren, Johnnie Ingram, Peter LoGreco, Erin Gamble


Best Multi-Part Documentary

Asian Americans (USA / PBS) Directors: Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir, Grace Lee Producers: Renee Tajima-Peña, Mark Jonathan Harris Executive Producers: Jeff Bieber, Sally Jo Fifer, Stephen Gong, Jean Tsien, Donald Young


Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered (USA / HBO) Directors/Executive Producers: Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, Joshua Bennett, Jeff Dupre Executive Producers: John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorious, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller


City So Real (USA / National Geographic) Director/ Producer: Steve James. Producer: Zak Piper. Executive Producers: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Jolene Pinder


Hillary (USA / Hulu) Director: Nanette Burstein Producers: Isabel San Vargas, Timothy Moran, Chi-Young Park, Tal Ben-David Executive Producers: Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Nanette Burstein, Sierra Kos, Laurie Girion


Lenox Hill (USA / Netflix) Directors/Executive Producers: Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz. Executive Producer: Josh Braun


Best Short Form Series

Almost Famous (USA / New York Times Op-Docs) Producers: Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi and Jeremy Lambert Executive Producer: Adam Ellick Director: Ben Proudfoot


Guardian Documentaries (UK, Iran / The Guardian) Producers: Shanida Scotland, Natasha Dack Ojumu and Nikki Parrott Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips. Lindsay Poulton, Jess Gormley Directors: Irene Baque, Laurence Topham, Sara Khaki, Mohammad Reza Eyni, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Laura Dodsworth,

Dan McDougall


Last Call For The Bayou: 5 Stories from Louisiana’s Disappearing Delta (USA / Smithsonian Channel Plus) Producer: Nadia Gill Executive Producer: Gina Hutchinson Director: Dominic Gill


POV Shorts (USA / PBS) Producer: Opal H. Bennett Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White


Run This City (USA / Quibi) Director: Brent Hodge Producer: Prince Vaughn Executive Producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Archie Gips, Brent Hodge


Best Audio Documentary

Crosses in the Desert / Cruces en el desierto (Chile, USA / Las Raras Podcast) Reporter: Dennis Maxwell Producers: Catalina May, Martín Cruz Executive Producer: Martina Castro


Fiasco: Bush v. Gore (USA / Luminary) Producers: Leon Neyfakh, Andrew Parsons


Girl Taken (UK / British Broadcasting Corporation) Reporter: Sue Mitchell Producer: Richard Hannaford Executive Producer: Philip Sellars


Heavyweight – The Marshes (USA / Gimlet Media) Reporter, Producer and Executive Producer: Jonathan Goldstein Reporter and Producer: Kalila Holt. Producers: Stevie Lane, Jorge Just, BA Parker, Bobby Lord


Somebody (USA / iHeartRadio) Reporters and Producers: Alison Flowers, Bill Healy Reporters: Sam Stecklow, Ellen Glover, Annie Nguyen, Kahari Blackburn, Rajiv Sinclair, Henri Adams, Matilda Vojak, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Frances McDonald, Diana Akmajian, Andrew Fan and Maddie Anderson Producers: Shapearl Wells, Sarah Geis Executive Producers: Jamie Kalven, Maria Zuckerman, Christy Gressman, Leital Molad


Best Music Documentary

Beastie Boys Story (USA / Apple TV+) Director/Producer: Spike Jonze Producers: Jason Baum and Amanda Adelson


Billie (UK / Greenwich Entertainment) Director: James Erskine


Crock of Gold (USA / Magnolia Pictures) Director/Producer: Julien Temple Producers: Johnny Depp, Stephen Deuters, Stephen Malit


Los Hermanos / The Brothers (USA / PatchWorks Films, PBS) Directors/Producers: Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider


Universe (USA) Directors: Sam Osborn and Nicholas Capezzera Producers: Esther Dere and Leah Natasha Thomas


David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award

Bananas (UK / National Film and Television School) Director/Producer: Sara Montoya Sepúlveda


Isle of Us (UK / National Film and Television School) Director: Laura Wadha


Na Luta Delas (Brazil / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism) Directors/Producers: Orion Rose Kelly and Pedro Cota


People Like Me (USA / University of California Santa Cruz) Director/Producer: Marrok Sedgwick


Susana (USA / Stanford University) Director: Laura Gamse Producer: James Davis


Trees (UK / National Film and Television School) Director: Rosie Morris Producer: Jesse Romain


Best Cinematography

Acasă, My Home (Romania, Germany, Finland / Zeitgeist Films and Kino Lorber, Manifest Film, HBO Europe) Cinematographers: Radu Ciorniciuc and Mircea Topoleanu


Boys State (USA / Apple, A24) Director of Photography: Thorsten Thielow


The Earth is Blue as an Orange (Ukraine, Lithuania) Cinematographer: Viacheslav Tsvietkov


The Truffle Hunters (USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics) Cinematographers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw


Time (USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times) Cinematographers: Zac Manuel, Justin Zweifach, Nisa East


Best Editing

Boys State (USA / Apple, A24) Editor: Jeff Gilbert


Crip Camp (USA / Netflix) Editors: Eileen Meyer and Andrew Gersh


Disclosure (USA / Netflix) Editor: Stacy Goldate


Dick Johnson is Dead (USA / Netflix) Editor: Nels Bangerter


Through the Night (USA / ITVS, POV) Editor: Malika Zouhali-Worrall


Best Writing

Crip Camp (USA / Netflix) Writers: Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht


Dick Johnson is Dead (USA / Netflix) Writers: Nels Bangerter and Kirsten Johnson


I Am Not Alone (USA / Netflix) Writer: Garin Hovannisian


My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix) Writers: Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed


Socks on Fire (USA) Writers: Max Allman, Bo McGuire


Best Music Score

Dancing with the Birds (USA / Netflix) Composer: David Mitcham


David Attenborough: Life On Our Planet (USA, UK / Netflix) Composer: Steven Price


Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice (USA / Netflix) Composer: Chapavich Temnitikul)


My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix) Composer: Kevin Smuts


Rising Phoenix (USA / Netflix) Composer: Daniel Pemberton


ABC News VideoSource Award

#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (USA / Dark Star) Director/Producer: Dan Partland Producer: Art Horan


Bully. Coward. Victim.: The Story of Roy Cohn (USA / HBO) Director: Ivy Meeropol Producers: Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn


Crip Camp (USA / Netflix) Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht Producer: Sara Bolder


Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections (USA / HBO) Director: Sarah Teale Directors/Producers: Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels Producers: Michael Hirschorn and Jessica Antonini


MLK/FBI (USA / IFC Films) Director: Sam Pollard Producer: Benjamin Hedin

The First Rainbow Coalition (USA / Independent Lens, PBS, Latino Public Broadcasting, ITVS) Director/Producer: Ray Santisteban


Pare Lorentz Award

WINNER My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix) Director: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed Producer: Craig Foster


HONORABLE MENTION Crip Camp (USA / Netflix) Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht Producer: Sara Bolder


Honorary Awards

Amicus Award Regina K. Scully


Career Achievement Award Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI)


Courage Under Fire Award David France, David Isteev and Olga Baranova (Welcome to Chechnya)


Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award Garrett Bradley (Time)


Pioneer Award Firelight Media


Truth to Power Award Maria Ressa and Rappler (A Thousand Cuts)