The International Documentary Association came out with its shortlist of the year’s best documentaries today, a list as notable for what was left out as what made it in.
A total of 29 feature films earned a spot on the IDA shortlist, including some considered Oscar frontrunners: Summer of Soul, Ascension, and Flee—each of which earned nominations last week for both the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards and the Gotham Awards. But several other films making a strong bid for Oscar attention were snubbed, among them The Rescue, Becoming Cousteau, Attica, Procession, and My Name Is Pauli Murray.
The IDA gave recognition to several documentaries with an international dimension, like Faya Dayi, from Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Bashir, Chinese-born filmmaker Nanfu Wang’s Covid-19-related doc In The Same Breath, and Miguel’s War, the story of a gay Lebanese man who exiles himself to Spain. The IDA-shortlisted President focuses on Zimbabwe and an opposition political figure’s attempt to win the country’s highest office.
Both President and Faya Dayi earned Gotham Awards nominations last week. The shortlist also recognized critical favorites Not Going Quietly and Jacinta, and a pair of dance-themed films, Ailey, and Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters.
The shortlists for features and short documentaries were selected by “independent committees of 228 documentary makers, curators, critics, and industry experts from 44 countries,” according to the IDA. The L.A.-based organization noted, “51% of the committee identified as female, 59% as BIPOC, 20% as LGBTQ+ and 2% as disabled.”
The IDA’s new executive director, Rick Pérez, hailed the selections.
“These shortlists embody a range of cinematic styles, topics, themes and perspectives that reflect the best nonfiction filmmaking from throughout the world,” Pérez said. “From the urgent, to the poetic and profound, these films capture the unique way the documentary film is in dialogue with the national and global cultural landscape.”
Up to 10 nominees will be chosen from among the 29 shortlisted features. The shortlist of short documentaries recognized 17 films; from among those, up to 10 nominees will likewise be selected. Nominations in all categories for the IDA Awards will be announced on Monday, November 15. The awards will be presented on February 5, 2022, in a ceremony on the Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood (the 2021 ceremony was held virtually because of Covid).
Beginning December 13, IDA members will have the opportunity to vote for winners of Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short.
These are the shortlisted films announced by the IDA:
IDA Documentary Awards 2021 Features Shortlist:
Ailey (USA / NEON. Director: Jamila Wignot. Producer: Lauren DeFilippo.)
Apenas el sol (Nothing but the Sun) (Switzerland, Paraguay/ Film republic. Director/Producer: Arami Ullón. Producer: Pascal Trächslin.)
Ascension (USA. Director/Producer: Jessica Kingdon. Producers: Kira Simon-Kennedy, Nathan Truesdell.)
Black Power: A British Story of Resistance (United Kingdom / Amazon Studios. Director: George Amponsah. Producer: Helen Bart.)
Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters (USA / Kino Lorber. Director: Tom Hurwitz. Director/Producer: Rosalynde LeBlanc. Producer: Duana C. Butler.)
Charm Circle (USA. Director/Producer: Nira Burstein. Producer: Betsy Laikin.)
Convergence: Courage in a Crisis (USA / Netflix. Director/Producer: Orlando von Einsiedel. Producers: Dan Cogan, Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby, Laura McNaught.)
Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (USA / HBO Max. Director: Sophia Nahli Allison.)
Faya Dayi (Ethiopia, USA, Qatar / Janus Films. Director/Producer: Jessica Beshir.)
FLEE (Denmark, France, Norway / NEON. Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Producers: Monica Hellstrӧm,Signe Byrge Sørensen.)
FRUITS OF LABOR (USA / Grasshopper Films, POV. Director/Producer: Emily Cohen Ibañez.)
In the Same Breath (USA, China / HBO, HBO Max. Director/Producer: Nanfu Wang. Producers: Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn.)
Jacinta (USA / Hulu, ABC News. Director: Jessica Earnshaw. Producers: Jessica Earnshaw, Holly Meehl, Nimisha Mukerji.)
Life of Crime 1984-2020 (USA / HBO, HBO Max. Director/Producer: Jon Alpert. Producers: Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller.)
Miguel’s War (Lebanon, Germany, Spain. Director/Producer: Eliane Raheb.)
North By Current (USA / POV. Director/Producer: Angelo Madsen Minax. Producer: Felix Endara.)
Not Going Quietly (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Director: Nicholas Bruckman. Producer: Amanda Roddy.)
President (Denmark, USA, Norway. Director: Camilla Nielsson. Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Joslyn Barnes.)
Rebel Hearts (USA / discovery+. Director: Pedro Kos. Producers: Kira Carstensen, Shawnee Isaac-Smith, Judy Korin.)
So Late So Soon (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Director: Daniel Hymanson. Producers: Trace Henderson, Josh Penn, Kellen Quinn, Noah Stahl.)
Storm Lake (USA / Independent Lens. Director: Beth Levison, Jerry Risius. Producer: Beth Levison.)
Summer of Soul (USA / Hulu, Searchlight Pictures. Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Producers: Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein.)
Taming the Garden (Switzerland, Germany, Georgia. Director/Producer: Salomé Jashi. Producers: Vadim Jendreyko, Erik Winker, Martin Roelly.)
This Stained Dawn (Pakistan, Canada. Director/Producer: Anam Abbas.)
Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre (USA / History. Director/Producers: Stanley Nelson, Marco Williams. Producer: Julie Sisson.)
Who Are You, Charlie Brown? (USA / Apple TV+. Director: Michael Bonfiglio. Producers: Kimberly Small, Marcella Steingart.)
Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker (USA / Kino Lorber. Director: Chris McKim. Producers: Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey.)
Writing With Fire (India / ITVS, Music Box. Director/Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh.)
Wuhan Wuhan (USA / Starlight Media Inc., SA Inc., Kartemquin Films. Director: Yung Chang. Producers: Peter Luo, Donna Gigliotti, Diane Quon.)
IDA Documentary Awards 2021 Shorts Shortlist:
A Broken House (USA, Lebanon / Condé Nast Entertainment, The New Yorker, POV. Director/Producer: Jimmy Goldblum. Producers: Matt Weaver, Harrison Nalevansky.)
Águilas (USA / The New Yorker. Director/Producers: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan, Maite Zubiaurre.)
Ain’t No Time For Women (Canada / Travelling. Director: Sarra El Abed. Producer: Isabelle Grignon-Francke)
Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol (USA / The New York Times. Directors: Malachy Browne, David Botti. Producers: Haley Willis, Christiaan Triebert, Evan Hill, Cora Engelbrecht, Stella Cooper.)
E14 (United Kingdom / Fifth Season LTD. Director: Peiman Zekavat. Producer: Sanam Jehanfard.)
Joe Buffalo (Canada / Condé Nast Entertainment, The New Yorker. Director/Producer: Amar Chebib. Producers: Hayley Morin, Mack Stannard)
Joychild (USA / The New Yorker, Stanford University. Director/Producer: Aurora Brachman)
Kalsubai (India / Film and Television Institute of India. Director: Yudhajit Basu)
Open Shutters (USA, Republic of Korea / Field of Vision. Director/Producer: Do Youjin.)
Red Taxi (USA, Hong Kong / Field of Vision. Director/Producer: Anonymous)
same/different/both/neither (Brazil / Photogram Films Distribution. Director/Producer: Adriana Barbosa, Fernanda Pessoa.)
Senior Prom (USA / PBS, Independent Lens. Director/Producer: Luisa Conlon. Producer: Jessica Chermayeff.)
Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me (Desde que llegaste, mi corazón dejó de pertenecerme) (USA / The New Yorker. Director/Producer: Erin Semine Kökdil)
Status Pending (USA / Al Jazeera English – Witness. Director: Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz. Producer: Laura Reich.)
Takeover (USA. Director: Emma Francis-Snyder. Producer: Tony Gerber.)
The Last Cruise (USA / HBO Max. Director/Producer: Hannah Olson. Producers: Shane Boris, Joe Beshenkovsky, James A Smith.)
The Seeker (USA / Topic. Director: Lance Edmands. Producers: Kyle Martin, Sarah Tihany.)
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