Cinema Eye Awards Tabs RaMell Ross’s ‘Hale County This Morning’ For Top Honors

Cinema Eye Honors

RaMell Ross’ debut feature, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, an intimate and cinematic portrait of black lives in Alabama, took the top award tonight at the 12th annual Cinema Eye Honors, winning Outstanding Nonfiction Feature. It was the second Cinema Eye Feature Honor in a row for producer Joslyn Barnes, who also produced last year’s award winner, Strong Island.

The 12th Annual Cinema Eye Honors were presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York and were streamed live via the Museum of the Moving Image and Cinema Eye Honors Facebook pages. Filmmaker Steve James, a winner for Outstanding Series for America to Me, was the host.

The awards capped a week of events that brought together nonfiction filmmakers from around the globe. Cinema Eye was founded in 2007 as a protest of that year’s existing awards which it claimed failed to recognize many of the year’s top artistic achievements. In the decade since, Cinema Eye has become one of the largest international gatherings of nonfiction filmmakers and craftspersons.

A trio of films that are on the Academy’s Documentary Feature Shortlist scored multiple awards. Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap, a deeply personal chronicle of a decades-long friendship set against the backdrop of Rockford, IL’s skateboarding community, received three top Honors: Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Editing and Outstanding Debut.

Free Solo, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s portrait of Alex Holland’s attempt to free climb El Capitan, also received three Honors, including Outstanding Production, Cinematography and the Audience Choice Prize, which is voted on by the general public. More than 22,000 votes were cast this year for the Audience award.

Shirkers, Sandi Tan’s exploration of a mysterious disappearance, picked up two awards: Outstanding Original Music Score for Ishai Adair, and Outstanding Graphic Design or Animation for Lucas Celler and Tan.

With Free Solo’s three wins, Jimmy Chin becomes the most awarded individual in Cinema Eye History, winning five awards all-time, coming off of two wins for Meru. Free Solo’s Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi has now received four Cinema Eye Honors all-time, tying her with filmmakers Laura Poitras and Signe Byrge Sørensen.

America to Me, the 10-part STARZ series examining race in a suburban Chicago high school, won the inaugural Outstanding Broadcast Series for director Steve James. James previously won two Cinema Eye Honors for his film The Interrupters. The award for Broadcast Film went to Sonja Sohn for her HBO Documentary Films’ feature Baltimore Rising.

The Oscar shortlisted Danish film The Distant Barking of Dogs, which tells the story of a woman caring for her grandsons near the front lines of fighting in Ukraine, received the Spotlight Award for director Simon Lereng Wilmont. The NY Times Op-Doc My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes was named Outstanding Nonfiction Short for director Charlie Tyrell. The latter film is also Oscar shortlisted in the Documentary Short category.

The full list of Cinema Eye winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
Hale County This Morning, This Evening
Directed by RaMell Ross
Produced by Joslyn Barnes, Su Kim and RaMell Ross

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Bing Liu
Minding the Gap

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Joshua Altman and Bing Liu
Minding the Gap

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill
Free Solo

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaeffer
Free Solo

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Ishai Adair

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation
Lucas Celler and Sandi Tan

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film
Minding the Gap
Directed by Bing Liu

Audience Choice Prize
Free Solo
Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Film for Broadcast
Baltimore Rising Directed by Sonja Sohn HBO

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Film for Broadcast
America to Me
Directed by Steve James STARZ

Spotlight Award
The Distant Barking of Dogs
Directed by Simon Lereng Wilmont

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes
Directed by Charlie Tyrell

Heterodox Award
American Animals
Directed by Bart Layton

Legacy Award
Eyes On the Prize
Executive Producer Henry Hampton
Series Producer/Writer/Director Judith Vecchione Series Producer Jon Else
Director/Writer/Producers Orlando Bagwell, Sheila Curran Bernard, Callie Crossley, James A. DeVinney, Madison D. Lacy, Thomas Ott, Samuel D. Pollard, Terry Kay Rockefeller, Jacqueline Shearer and Paul Stekler

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