2019 DOC NYC: recap and award winners

November 16, 2019

by Carla Hay

The 10th annual DOC NYC—which took place in New York City from November 6 to November 15, 2018—has continued its status as an outstanding international festival for documentary visual media, with more than 300 films at the festival. Almost all of the DOC NYC screenings and other events took place at the SVA Theatre, IFC Center and Cinépolis Chelsea. DOC NYC also has panel discussions about filmmaking, offering a wealth of opportunities to share knowledge, discover new talent and network with professionals. This year’s DOC NYC was dedicated to D.A. Pennebaker, the iconic documentarian (best known for “Don’t Look Back”), who died on August 1, 2019, at the age of 94.

AWARD WINNERS

Wang Tiancheng in "City Dream"
Wang Tiancheng in “City Dream”

DOC NYC 2019 also had competitions, with all voted for by juries, except for the Audience Award and the Kanopy DOC NYC U Award. The winners were:

Viewfinders Competition (for films with a distinct directorial vision): “City Dream,” director Weijun Chen’s look at a feisty street vendor Wang Tiancheng’s battle to not be displaced by the Urban Management Bureau in Wuhan, China.

Special mention: “Love Child,” director Eva Mulvad’s portrait of an Iranian man who flees Iran with his mistress and their son because of Iran’s death-penalty laws against adultery.

Metropolis Competition (for films with New York City stories): “Maurice Hines: Bring Them Back,” director John Carluccio’s profile of Tony-nominated entertainer Maurice Hines, the older brother of Gregory Hines.

Shorts Competition: “Bob of the Park,” director Jake Sumner’s profile of Robert “Birding Bob” DiCandido, who’s described in the DOC NYC materials as the “archvillain of New York City bird watchers.”

Special mentions: “A Childhood on Fire,” directed by Jason Hanasik; “Yves & Variation,” directed by Lydia Cornett

Audience Award: “I Am Not Alone,” director Garin Hovannisian’s profile of former Armenian political prisoner Nikol Pashinyan, who becomes a Member of Parliament and leads a peaceful protest against injustice.

DOC NYC PRO Pitch Perfect Award: “After Sherman,” directed by Jon-Sesrie Goff

Kanopy DOC NYC U Award (for student directors): “Kostya,” directed by Oxana Inipko (School of Visual Arts)

In addition, category awards were given to DOC NYC’s Short List films, which are considered frontrunners to be nominated for Oscars and other major film awards.

Short List: Features

“The Edge of Democracy” (Photo by Orlando Brito)


Directing Award: “The Edge of Democracy,” directed by Petra Costa 
 
Producing Award: “American Factory,” produced by Steven Bognar, Julie Parker Benello, Jeff Reichert and Julia Reichert 
 
Editing Award: “Apollo 11,” edited by Todd Douglas Miller 
 
Cinematography Award: “The Elephant Queen,” cinematography by Mark Deeble
 
Special Recognition for Courage in Filmmaking: “For Sama,” director Waad al-Kateab
 
Short List: Shorts
 
Directing Award: “Stay Close,” directed by Luther Clement and Shuhan Fan

The 2019 DOC NYC Visionaries Tribute (which has non-competitive categories), an invitation-only event presented on November 7, honored Martin Scorsese and Michael Apted, each with the Lifetime Achievement Award; “American Factory” directors Steven Bognar and Julia Reichart with the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence; and New York Women in Film & Television executive director Cynthia Lopez with the Leading Light Award.

Other celebrities who attended DOC NYC included Robbie Robertson, J.K, Simmons, Ron Howard, Katie Couric, Andre Leon Talley, Michael Moore, Kate Nash, Dr. Ruth Westheimer and Olivia Harrison.

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