Cinema Eye Nominees

I just got the press release announcing the nominees for the inaugural Cinema Eye Honors for Non-Fiction Filmmaking (and now they are posted to A.J. Schnack’s blog), designed to reward documentaries in a variety of categories, including direction, editing, and graphic design. As I mentioned a few days ago, I think these awards are a pretty cool idea, in that they recognize the importance of craft and storytelling in creating good documentaries. It looks like the biggest winners are Philip Gröning’s very deserving Into Great Silence, which focuses on the daily routines of a group of monks living in a monastery in the French Alps, and Jason Cohn’s Manda Bala, which focuses on political corruption in Brazil (and which was one of the films I most regretted missing at Full Frame this year). Tony Kaye’s highly confrontational Lake of Fire, which focuses on the abortion issue, and Charles Ferguson’s No End in Sight also received a number of nominations. But I’m impressed by the breadth and variety of films that were nominated or, at least, received consideration for awards, including many that I’m hoping to see in the near future. Also glad to see among the graphic design/animation nominees: Trollbäck & Co. for Helvetica and Petra Epperlein for The Prisoner Or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair.

Instead of posting the full list of nominees, I’ll just send you over to A.J.’s blog, but I’d love to get a discussion going here. What’s your take on some of the nominated docs? Do you think Sicko (or any other doc) was snubbed? Awards will be announced March 18 at the IFC Center in New York.


  1. Chris Said,

    January 20, 2008 @ 11:04 pm

    I’ll chime in, just for the heck of it, on one of your questions. I haven’t been able to see most of these docs yet (limited availability, etc.), but I did see Sicko, and while I thought it was good, I don’t really think it was “snubbed” because I think so many of the other films are so clearly well regarded.

    OTOH, I would consider that there might be an “anti-Michael Moore” effect (even possibly an unconscious one) going on here.

    Honestly, I thought Sicko was a really solid film, but some of Moore’s grandstanding is so out there that I could see how it really might tick off some documentarians who might have a problem with a film being judged by the on-screen personality of the filmmaker.

  2. Chuck Said,

    January 21, 2008 @ 8:41 am

    I don’t think Sicko was snubbed either, but really just wanted to call attention to its absence here in order to highlight the diversity of films that were selected. I liked Sicko, and I’m glad that it has opened up a wider dialog about health care in this country, but these awards go a long way towards conveying the diversity of films in the documentary genre.

    In a previous thread on these awards, we discussed how films with sentimental subjects often attract more attention from the major awards (the Oscars, for example), and these awards certainly provide a space for evaluating how we respond to documentaries and how storytelling techniques–editing, cinematography, etc–shape those responses.

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