DOC NYC unveiled the winners for their ninth annual festival. A Little Wisdom, Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground and Short In the Absence won gran jury prizes while Out of Omaha nabbed the Audience Award. This year’s DOC NYC kicked off November 8 and concludes on the 15. The winners were announced tonight during a ceremony at the Flatiron Room in Manhattan.
This year’s event included 137 feature-length films with a late addition of the world premiere of the Aretha Franklin concert film Amazing Grace. It also featured 93 short documentaries. Three juries selected films from each of the festival’s Viewfinders, Metropolis and Shorts sections to recognize for their outstanding achievements in form and content. The audience casted their votes for the DOC NYC Audience Award from the Viewfinders and Metropolis sections, and a panel of industry professionals voted to select the winner of this year’s DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award, given to a work-in-progress.
Read the full list of winners below.
The jury selected from among nine films in this section, chosen by the programmers for their distinct directorial visions.
Grand Jury Prize Winner: A Little Wisdom, directed by Yuqi Kang, centers on a Tibetan Buddhist monastery where young novice monks try to balance rituals and discipline with the distractions of modern life and childhood.
The jury selected from among seven films in this section, which is dedicated to stories set in New York City.
Grand Jury Prize Winner: Barbara Rubin & the Exploding NY Underground, directed by Chuck Smith, is the untold story of an influential figure who defied sexist conventions and enabled surprising connections in the 1960s New York underground film scene.
All short films featured in the festival (with the exception of the DOC NYC U student showcases) were eligible for this jury prize.
Grand Jury Prize Winner: In the Absence, directed by Seung-Jun Yi, is an unflinchingly honest look at the Sewol Ferry Disaster in South Korea.
Special Mentions: Obon, directed by Andre Hoermann and Anna Samo, and King of the Night, directed by Molly Brass and Stephen Tyler.
Determined by audience voting at the primary screening of each film in the Metropolis and Viewfinders competitions.
Winner: Out of Omaha is a coming-of-age tale of twin African-American brothers filmed over eight years by director Clay Tweel (Gleason) and executive produced by musician J. Cole.
DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award
Recognized the best pitch given during DOC NYC PRO’s Pitch Perfect Day, based on the pitch itself, as well as the viability of the project, and was determined by industry professionals taking part in the daylong pitch event.
Winner: Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are), directed by Rachel Boynton, explores how America remembers the Civil War and what the stories we tell reveal about who we are, revealing a picture of contemporary society and our persistent conflicts within.
IF/Then Shorts Northeast American Pitch Award
New this year, in partnership with Tribeca Film Institute, the IF/Then Shorts Pitch at DOC NYC invited six filmmaking teams to pitch their short documentary projects focusing on stories of the American Northeast. One project was selected by an industry jury to receive up to $20,000 in completion funding, free post production services (provided by Sim NY), and the opportunity to participate in Tribeca Film Institute’s IF/Then Shorts distribution initiative.
Winner: Mizuko (Water Child), directed by Kira Dane and Katelyn Rebelo.