2021 DOC NYC jury winners announced

November 17, 2021

The following is a press release from DOC NYC:

 

DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary festival, revealed the 2021 award winners for its juried U.S. Competition, International Competition, Metropolis, Kaleidoscope, Shorts, Short List: Features, and Short List: Shorts sections. Winners of the inaugural IF/Then Shorts x Redford Center Nature Access Pitch competition were also announced. A complete list below.

The in-person portion of the festival’s hybrid 12th edition continues through November 18 with screenings and panels at New York’s IFC Center and Cinépolis Chelsea, along with a special closing night presentation of The First Wave at The Beacon Theatre. DOC NYC’s online screenings run through November 28, with some 100 features available to stream across the United States, including almost all the award winners. Select winners also have in-theater screenings during the festival’s final two days in person in New York.

Online DOC NYC Live conversations, presented on Facebook Live, will take place on November 22 with the filmmakers from the Short List: Shorts section, and on November 23 with talent behind the films in the festival’s Short List: Features section. For a full schedule of films and events, see www.docnyc.net. Ticket and pass information is below.

For DOC NYC’s competitive sections, five juries selected films from the festival’s new U.S. Competition, International Competition, and Kaleidoscope sections, as well as its long-running Metropolis and Shorts lineups, to recognize for their outstanding achievements in form and content. The Short List: Features program—a selection of nonfiction films that the festival’s programming team considers to be among the year’s strongest contenders for Oscars and other awards—vied for awards in four categories: Directing, Producing, Cinematography, and Editing, with a Directing prize also awarded in the Short List: Shorts section. The Short List awards were voted on by two juries of filmmaker peers.

Winners of the 2021 Grand Jury Prize in the U.S., International, Kaleidoscope, Metropolis, and Shorts competitions will each receive a deliverables package provided by PostWorks New York.

Voting for the festival’s Audience Award continues through November 18; the winner of the award will be announced on November 19.

U.S. Competition: The jury selected from among twelve new American nonfiction films in this section.
Remaining screening: Wednesday, November 17 at 9:40pm at Cinépolis Chelsea.

Grand Jury Prize: Once Upon a Time in Uganda, directed by Cathryne Czubek, co-directed by Hugo Perez, and produced by Gigi Dement, Cathryne Czubek, Matt Porwoll, Hugo Perez, and Kyaligamba Ark Martin.

Alan Hofmanis and Isaac Nabwana in “Once Upon a Time in Uganda” (Photo courtesy of Blue Finch Films)

Juror’s statement: “We choose Once Upon a Time in Uganda for illustrating the transformative capacity of film to bridge cultures and change lives. We are inspired by the charming, original method the filmmakers took in documenting the creative joy of Wakaliwood, a community that relies on ingenuity and imagination to overcome the economic obstacles of global audiovisual production; and we appreciate how Once Upon a Time in Uganda demonstrates the connective power of international film festivals in asserting that ‘the audience is our family.'”

Special Mention: Refuge, directed/produced by Erin Berhardt and Din Blankenship.

Jurors’ statement: “We give an honorable mention to Refuge for addressing one of the U.S.’s most urgent problems — the lack of civil dialogue, or any dialogue, between our warring cultural factions.”

Jurors: Jaie Laplante (Executive Director, Miami Film Festival); Amy Nicholson, filmmaker; Valerie Torres (Director of Theatrical Sales and Exhibitor Relations, Shout! Factory)

Films featured in the U.S. Competition section: Anonymous Sister, Be Our Guest, Boycott, Exposure, Grandpa Was an Emperor, Newtok, Objects, Once Upon a Time in Uganda, Refuge, The Slow Hustle, A Tree of Life, United States vs. Reality Winner.

International Competition: The jury selected from among twelve new international productions in this section.

Grand Jury Prize: On the Other Side, directed by Iván Guarnizo, produced by Jorge Caballero.

Beatriz Echeverry in “On the Other Side”

Jurors’ statement: “With its exquisite directorial vision and restraint, On the Other Side deeply affected us, the jury. The film is testament to a courageous, emotional, and deeply personal endeavor by filmmaker Iván Guarnizo, elegantly bypassing the heavy handed tropes of trauma and violence to instead craft a work of art that is poetic and profound. In a world increasingly polarized, where constant battlelines are being drawn, the nuances of this film’s journey and care towards its participants show us the power and hope of redemption, forgiveness, and humanity.”

Special Mention: After the Rain, directed by Jian Fan, produced by Richard Liang, S. Leo Chiang.

Jurors’ statement: “We would also like to recognize After the Rain by Jian Fan, a standout among a strong group of international contenders. The jury appreciated the dedication to the story over a decade and the steady, observational lens of the filmmaking team to craft a deeply intimate and haunting film.”

Jurors: Samara Chadwick (Executive Director, The Flaherty); Aseem Chhabra (Festival Director, New York Indian Film Festival); Bao Nguyen, filmmaker.

Films featured in the International Competition section: After the Rain, Be My Voice, Comala, The Bubble, Come Back Anytime, The Devil’s Drivers, F@ck This Job, The Forgotten Ones, Go Through the Dark, The Mole, On The Other Side, Young Plato.

Kaleidoscope: The jury selected from among seven films in this section, which showcases essayistic and formally adventurous documentaries.

Grand Jury Prize: Nude at Heart, directed by Yoichiro Okutani, produced by Asako Fujioka, Eric Nyari

“Nude at Heart”

Juror’s statement: “The jury awards its top prize to a film of risky and decisive filmmaking, a film that documents with confidence an insular world, and builds an intelligent, purposeful distance between the filmmaker and the characters. This is a film that trusts its own images to lead us into a complex world and community of work and collective support—a film that doesn’t moralize, sexualize, or objectify its subjects, but instead models a careful gaze, offers a subtle entry into a fascinating universe, and gives space and presence to its inhabitants.”

Special Mention: Nothing But the Sun, directed by Arami Ullón, produced by Pascal Trächslin

Juror’s statement: “The jury would also like to award a Special Mention to a film that provides a gateway to a diverse and complex history, and helps to salvage and give a form to a common memory. This is a choral film, one full of speaking that prioritizes the collective, rather than an individual voice, and explores the fragility of media in preserving oral histories, encounters, emotions, and the residue of trauma.”

Jurors: Daniela Alatorre, producer; Cíntia Gill (Festival Director, formerly of Sheffield DocFest, Doc Lisboa), Leo Goldsmith (The New School)

Films featured in the Kaleidoscope section: Cow, Edna, Invisible Demons, Nothing But the Sun, Nude at Heart, The Man Who Paints Water Drops, Three Minutes: A Lengthening.

Metropolis: The jury selected from among seven films in this section, which is dedicated to stories about New Yorkers and New York City.

Grand Jury Prize: Hold Your Fire, directed by Stefan Forbes and produced by Tia Wou, Fab Five Freddy, and Amir Soltani.

“Hold Your Fire”

Jurors’ statement: “The filmmaker elegantly and impactfully uses the past to illuminate the social and political issues that are still critical to consider today. The black and white archival footage comes colorfully to life with masterfully edited sequences and music that pull you into the moment. The interviews highlight their emotionally conflicted responses and challenge us to consider the differing points of view. In this contemporary contemplation of violence and race relations in our culture, we are left to consider the possibility of redemption and hope.”

Special Mention: Charm Circle, directed and produced by Nira Burstein and produced by Betsy Laikin.

Available online through Sunday, November 28.

Jurors’ statement: “The honesty and bravery of the filmmaker are powerfully felt in approaching the subject of family dysfunction in a candid and uncensored way. With strong character development, the narrative patiently/lovingly unfolds with moments of humor and creativity to build compassion for a family’s hopes and dreams as well as a profound sense of loss.”

Jurors: Beth B, filmmaker; Denise Greene (Director of Programs, Black Public Media); Lucila Moctezuma (Program Director, Chicken & Egg Pictures).

Films featured in the Metropolis section: Charm Circle, End of the Line, Hold Your Fire, Mimaroğlu: The Robinson of Manhattan Island, Mr. Saturday Night, The Photograph, The Reverend.

Shorts Competition: All new short films playing at the festival were eligible for the Shorts Grand Jury Prize, with the exception of DOC NYC U showcases and Short List: Shorts selections.

Shorts Grand Jury Prize: NASIR, directed by Nasir Bailey and Jackson Kroopf and produced by Jackson Kroopf.

“NASIR”

Jurors’ statement: “For its lucid and lyrical portrait of an artist as a young man, the 2021 DOC NYC Shorts Grand Jury Prize is presented to Nasir Bailey and Jackson Kroopf’s exquisitely crafted NASIR. The film finds its soulful subject in a state of transition, proudly granting the audience permission to witness his slow, steady, hard-won glow up. Energized by the subject’s effortless charisma and potent musical gifts, the film emerges as a deeply human study of self-actualization and personal evolution. Intimately assembled with an eye for luminous, delicate imagery and direction, the film unfurls with a quiet confidence, flowing elegantly between moments of pathos and poetry—ultimately standing tall as a beacon of transmasculine resilience and joy.”

Special Mention: American Scar, directed and produced by Daniel Lombroso, and produced by Yara Bishara, Melissa Fajardo, Stephania Taladrid.

Jurors’ statement: “American Scar turns a well-mined, seemingly completed Trump-era story into a compelling call-to-action by creatively cataloging the environmental impact of the abandoned US-Mexico border wall. Startling images capture the destruction caused by humanity’s hubris and serve as a harbinger of things to come. The film presents a stark reminder of the devastating impact of human action on the natural world and offers a rousing and immediate call for change.”

The 2021 winning Short film qualifies for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the Annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run (provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules).

Jurors: Faridah Gbadamosi (Artistic Director, Outfest); Robin Robinson (festival programmer, True/False); Robert John Torres (festival programmer, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival).

Short List: Features: DOC NYC’s Short List for Features puts the spotlight on 15 documentaries representing the best of the year.

Directing Award: In the Same Breath, directed by Nanfu Wang

“In The Same Breath” (Photo courtesy of HBO)

Jurors’ statement: “Nanfu Wang cracks open the story of the global COVID-19 pandemic using an incredibly personal and political lens to reveal China’s propaganda machine — and America’s. The jury celebrates Wang’s unwavering, skillful and persistent command of the documentary craft that it takes to make such a complex and emotional film.”

Producing Award: Flee, produced by Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Charlotte De La Gournerie. 

“Flee” (Image courtesy of Neon)

Jurors’ statement: “Among the many strengths of Flee, the jury recognizes the enormous task of producing the film. Whether securing funding for expensive animation, fostering groundbreaking creativity, or managing an intricate post-production phase, the producing team’s critical role made Flee the vital, touching, artistic achievement it is.”

Editing Award: Ascension, edited by Jessica Kingdon

A livestreamer for Yiwu Siwen Shoe Company in “Ascension” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

Jurors’ statement: “Ascension never stops surprising, despite its leisurely pacing and seemingly straightforward construction. The jury applauds Jessica Kingdon’s patient and astute editing that weaves striking imagery of China’s gaping social divides into a poetic reflection on — and quiet critique of — consumption and capitalism.”

Cinematography Award: Faya Dayi, cinematography by Jessica Beshir

“Faya Dayi” (Photo courtesy of Janus Films)

Jurors’ statement: “Jessica Bashir’s cinematography in Faya Dayi is both an aesthetic and spiritual achievement. Bashir has a bare awareness that holds wisdom, her visual translation so elevated it feels as if operating from the subconscious. The cinematography in Faya Dayi reminded the jury how much we can learn from simply watching.”

Special Jury Prize for Cultural Treasures: Summer of Soul (… Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, produced by Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein

Sly Stone in “Summer of Soul (…Or, The Revolution Could Not Be Televised”) (Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

Jurors’ statement: “For its directorial vision, fantastic editing, and overall funky beats that weave history and culture into the colorful fabric of one summer festival in Harlem, the jury awards a Special Jury Prize for Cultural Treasures to Summer of Soul. If we could, the jury would travel back in time to release this film 50 years ago so it would have informed our collective memory. Instead, we hope this award will encourage audiences to imagine the collective history we should have had.”

Jurors: Nadia Hallgren, filmmaker; Kimberly Reed, filmmaker; Hao Wu, filmmaker.

Short List: Shorts: DOC NYC’s Short List for Shorts highlights 12 documentary shorts that the festival’s programming team considers the year’s leading awards contenders.

Directing Award: Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma, directed by rubberband, Topaz Jones, produced by Luigi Rossi

“Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma”

Jurors’ statement: “For its innovative structure and immediacy, we selected Don’t Go Tellin’ Your Momma as our winner. The playful editing combined rich visuals, moving personal archival material, and thought-provoking interviews to give audiences a full sense of the filmmaker and his community. The storytelling successfully nails both personal experience and political history.”

Special Jury Mention: The Queen of Basketball, directed by Ben Proudfoot, produced by Elizabeth Brooke, Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi, Brandon Somerhalder, Sarah Stewart

Jurors’ statement: “We also chose to recognize The Queen of Basketball with a Special Mention. Viewers fall in love with Lusia because the filmmakers deftly convey her deep strength and fragility at the outset. We are immersed in the experience of a pathfinding woman athlete whose remarkable career was cut short by the racial and gender barriers of her time. Bringing the film full circle to the next generation – a little girl shooting hoops in Lusia’s driveway – opens this storytelling to the future.”
Jurors: Mirra Bank, filmmaker; Kirstine Barfod, producer; Alison Klayman, filmmaker.

IF/Then Shorts x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch: The Redford Center and IF/Then Shorts announced Between Earth and Sky as the winner of the inaugural IF/Then Shorts x The Redford Center Nature Access Pitch event at DOC NYC, celebrating stories that spotlight the benefits of time spent outdoors.

Between Earth and Sky, directed by Andrew Nadkarni and pitched by Nadkarni and producer Swetha Regunathan, will receive a $25,000 production grant and a year of wraparound mentorship from IF/Then Shorts. Also selected as honorable mentions by the jury of the Nature Access Pitch were Fruit of Soil and Makana o ke Mele (Gift of Song), each of which will receive a $5,000 grant and distribution consultation from IF/Then Shorts. Upon their completion, all three films will be featured as part of The Redford Center’s Nature Films Program.

After announcing the winning films live at DOC NYC Festival, Jill Tidman, Executive Director of The Redford Center shared, “This day reminded me that there’s so much vital work taking place that most people don’t know about. Amazing individuals and communities are working to solve the problems of nature access, and their stories are just incredible. I am so inspired and honored to have these new documentaries as part of The Redford Center family of films. We are going to support them, in many ways, to make sure their work is shared with the world. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this inaugural Nature Access Pitch, our partnership with IF/Then Shorts, and the platform of DOC NYC.”

TICKETS AND PASSES:

Festival tickets and passes may be purchased at docnyc.net/tickets-and-passes or at venue box offices. Online tickets and passes are available for purchase online only.

In-person Screenings: $19 General Admission/$17 Seniors & Children/$16 IFC Center Members, unless otherwise noted.

All screenings in the Short List: Features, Short List: Shorts, Winner’s Circle and DOC NYC U sections, as well as all Monday-Friday screenings starting before 5:00pm: $12 General Admission/$10 IFC Center members

Online screenings:

$12 General Public/$9 IFC Center Members

Passes and Ticket Packs:

Online Film Pass $250

Grants access to all the films screening on the festival’s virtual platform, November 10-28.

Five-Ticket Package for Online Screenings $45

Ten-Ticket Package for Online Screenings $80

A package of 5 or 10 online tickets at a special discount price.

Sponsors

The festival is made possible by:

Leading Media Partners: New York Magazine; The WNET Group

Major Sponsors: A&E; Apple Original Films; Netflix; WarnerMedia

Supporting Sponsors: discovery+, National Geographic Documentary Films; SHOWTIME® Documentary Films

Signature Sponsors: Amazon Studios; Bloomberg Philanthropies; Cquence; Hulu; National Geographic; NBC News Studios; NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment; Participant; PostWorks; Sony; XTR

Signature Media Partners: IndieWire; The New Republic; WNYC

Event Sponsors: 30 for 30 / ESPN Films; Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas; Consulate General of Canada in New York; Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP; Fox Rothschild LLP; Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz PC; IF/Then Shorts; Impact Partners; JustFilms | Ford Foundation; MTV Documentary Films; Reavis Page Jump LLP; SVA’s MFA Social Documentary Film; The Redford Center; TIME Studios; Wheelhouse Creative

Friends of the Festival: Agile Ticketing; Cinesend; Essentia, Ptex; Shiftboard; Telefilm Canada

DOC NYC is produced and presented by IFC Center, a division of AMC Networks.

Complete DOC NYC program information can be found at: www.docnyc.net

To inquire about sponsor or partnership opportunities for DOC NYC, please contact Raphaela Neihausen, Executive Director, at raphaela@docnyc.net.

2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards: ‘Ascension,’ ‘Summer of Soul’ are the top nominees

October 18, 2021

The following is a press release from the Critics Choice Association:

The Critics Choice Association(CCA) has announced the nominees for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards (CCDA). The winners will be revealed at a Gala Event on Sunday, November 14, 2021, at BRIC in Brooklyn, NY.

The Critics Choice Associationwill once again be honoring the year’s finest achievements in documentaries released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members. 

This year, the Critics Choice Documentary Awards proudly has its first Presenting Sponsor, National Geographic Documentary Films. 

Features by two first-time documentarians, Ascension and Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) lead this year’s nominations with six each. 

Ascension is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Jessica Kingdon for Best Director, Best First Documentary Feature, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Score.

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson for Best Director, Best First Documentary Feature, Best Editing, Best Archival Documentary and Best Music Documentary.

Recognized with five nominations each are Becoming Cousteau and The Rescue. 

The nominations for Becoming Cousteau are Best Documentary Feature, Liz Garbus for Best Director, Best Narration, Best Archival Documentary and Best Science/Nature Documentary. 

The Rescue is nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin for Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Score.

“This has been and continues to be a fantastic year for documentary storytelling. And the number of first-time feature documentarians in the mix of nominees, alongside proven veterans, shows that nonfiction cinema continues to have a very bright future,” said Christopher Campbell, President of the Critics Choice Association Documentary Branch. “Our world, from its most amazing wonders to its greatest challenges, is being reflected back on the screen so immediately and creatively by today’s filmmakers, and it’s a tremendous honor for us to recognize all of their achievements.” 

Last year at the Fifth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Dick Johnson is Dead took home the CCA’s top award for Best Documentary as well as the Best Director award for Kirsten Johnson.

My Octopus Teacher took home the awards for Best Science and Nature Documentary and Best Cinematography. The film later received many more accolades and awards, including an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

In addition to the 14 award categories and one honor listed below, a most prestigious honor – The Pennebaker Award (formerly known as the Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award) – will be presented to esteemed documentarian R.J. Cutler. This award is named for Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award winner D.A. Pennebaker, who passed away in 2019. The award will be presented to Cutler by Pennebaker’s producing partner and wife, Chris Hegedus.

R.J. Cutler is the award-winning producer/director whose work includes some of the most acclaimed documentaries of the last thirty years. His most recent film, the Apple Original Film cinema verité documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, is nominated for Best Music Documentary.

The nominees for the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards Presented by National Geographic Documentary Films are:

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Attica (Showtime)
  • Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
  • A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)
  • Flee (Neon)
  • Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
  • The Lost Leonardo (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
  • Procession (Netflix)
  • The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)

BEST DIRECTOR 

  • Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Liz Garbus – Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry – Attica (Showtime)
  • Jonas Poher Rasmussen – Flee (Neon)
  • Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
  • Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST FIRST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)
  • Rachel Fleit – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
  • Todd Haynes – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)
  • Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Kristine Stolakis – Pray Away (Netflix)
  • Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
  • Edgar Wright – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 

  • Jessica Beshir – Faya Dayi (Janus Films)
  • Jonathan Griffith, Brett Lowell and Austin Siadak – The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)
  • David Katznelson, Ian Seabrook and Picha Srisansanee – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Nelson Hume and Alan Jacobsen – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
  • Emiliano Villanueva – A Cop Movie (Netflix)
  • Pete West – Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)

BEST EDITING 

  • Francisco Bello, Matthew Heineman, Gabriel Rhodes and David Zieff – The First Wave  (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Jeff Consiglio – LFG (HBO Max and CNN Films)
  • Bob Eisenhardt – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Affonso Gonçalves and Adam Kurnitz – The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)
  • Jessica Kingdon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Joshua L. Pearson – Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
  • Julian Quantrill – The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)

BEST NARRATION

  • 9/11: Inside the President’s War Room (Apple TV+)/Jeff Daniels, Narrator
  • Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)/Vincent Cassel, Narrator; Mark Monroe and Pax Wassermann, Writers
  • The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)/ Alex Gibney, Narrator; Alex Gibney, Writer
  • The Neutral Ground (PBS)/CJ Hunt, Narrator; CJ Hunt, Writer
  • The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime); Pearl Mackie, Narrator; Oliver Kindeberg, Peter Middleton and James Spinney, Writers
  • Val (Amazon Studios); Jack Kilmer, Narrator; Val Kilmer, Writer
  • The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)/David Attenborough, Narrator

BEST SCORE

  • Jongnic Bontemps – My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
  • Dan Deacon – Ascension (MTV Documentary Films)
  • Alex Lasarenko and David Little – The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
  • Cyrus Melchor – LFG (HBO/CNN)
  • Daniel Pemberton – The Rescue (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Rachel Portman – Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Dirac Sea – Final Account (Focus Features)

BEST ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTARY 

  • Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • The Real Charlie Chaplin (Showtime)
    The Real Right Stuff (Disney+)
  • Street Gang: How We Got to Sesame Street (HBO Documentary Films)
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
  • Val (Amazon Studios)
  • The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST HISTORICAL OR BIOGRAPHICAL DOCUMENTARY

  • Attica (Showtime)
  • A Crime on the Bayou (Augusta Films/Shout! Studios)
  • Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Final Account (Focus Features)
  • Julia (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • My Name is Pauli Murray (Amazon Studios)
  • No Ordinary Man (Oscilloscope)
  • Val (Amazon Studios)

BEST MUSIC DOCUMENTARY 

  • Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry (Apple TV+)
  • Bitchin’: The Sound and Fury of Rick James (Showtime)
  • Listening to Kenny G (HBO Documentary Films)
  • The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) (Searchlight Pictures/Hulu)
  • Tina (HBO Documentary Films)
  • The Velvet Underground (Apple TV+)

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY

  • The Crime of the Century (HBO Documentary Films)
  • Enemies of the State (IFC Films)
  • Four Hours at the Capitol (HBO Documentary Films)
  • Influence (StoryScope, EyeSteelFilm)
  • Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)
  • Missing in Brooks County (Giant Pictures)
  • Nasrin (Hulu)
  • Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)

BEST SCIENCE/NATURE DOCUMENTARY

  • Becoming Cousteau (Picturehouse/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Fauci (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • The First Wave (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 (Bleecker Street Media)
  • Playing with Sharks (National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Puff: Wonders of the Reef (Netflix)
  • The Year Earth Changed (Apple TV+)

BEST SPORTS DOCUMENTARY 

  • The Alpinist (Roadside Attractions)
  • Changing the Game (Hulu)
  • The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO)
  • Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possible (Showtime)
  • LFG (HBO Max/CNN Films)
  • Tiger (HBO)

BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY 

  • Audible (Netflix)
  • Borat’s American Lockdown (Amazon Studios)
  • Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis (Netflix)
  • Day of Rage: How Trump Supporters Took the U.S. Capitol (The New York Times)
  • The Doll (Jumping Ibex)
  • The Last Cruise (HBO Documentary Films)
  • The Queen of Basketball (The New York Times)
  • Snowy (TIME Studios)

MOST COMPELLING LIVING SUBJECTS OF A DOCUMENTARY (HONOR)

  • Ady Barkan – Not Going Quietly (Greenwich Entertainment)
  • Selma Blair – Introducing, Selma Blair (Discovery+)
  • Pete Buttigieg – Mayor Pete (Amazon Studios)
  • Anthony Fauci – Fauci (Magnolia Pictures/National Geographic Documentary Films)
  • Ben Fong-Torres – Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres (StudioLA.TV)
  • Val Kilmer – Val (Amazon Studios)
  • Ron and Russell Mael – The Sparks Brothers (Focus Features)
  • Rita Moreno – Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It (Roadside Attractions)
  • Valerie Taylor – Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story (Disney+)

About the Critics Choice Awards

The Critics Choice Documentary Awards are an off-shoot of The Critics Choice Awards, which are bestowed annually by CCA to honor the finest in cinematic and television achievement. Historically, the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations.

The Critics Choice Awards ceremony will be held on January 9, 2022 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Century City, CA and will be broadcast live on The CW.

About the Critics Choice Association (CCA) 

The Critics Choice Association is the largest critics organization in the United States and Canada, representing almost 500 media critics and entertainment journalists. It was established in 2019 with the formal merger of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, recognizing the intersection between film, television, and streaming content. For more information, visit: www.CriticsChoice.com.

Review: ‘Ascension’ (2021), a cinéma vérité documentary of the different layers of consumerism in China

June 24, 2021

by Carla Hay

A livestreamer for Yiwu Siwen Shoe Company in “Ascension” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

“Ascension” (2021)

Directed by Jessica Kingdon

Mandarin with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in various parts of China, the cinéma vérité-styled documentary film “Ascension” features an all-Asian group of people at work and at leisure in this examination of how capitalistic consumerism works in Communist China.

Culture Clash: In a culture where the government enforces Communism/socialism and consumers embrace capitalism, the Chinese Dream is presented as an aspirational lifestyle of attaining wealth through hard work, but the dream remains out of reach for most people and is accessible to a small, elite percentage of the population.

Culture Audience: “Ascension” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in minimalist, “slice of life” documentaries about contemporary China, with no interviews, narration and analysis.

A worker at a WM Doll factory in Zhongshan, China, in “Ascension” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

How does a system of capitalistic consumerism work in China, a country controlled by a Communist government? The cinéma vérité-styled “Ascension” shows different layers of this system and lets viewers make up their own minds about it. It’s a documentary that’s more than just a compilation of “slice of life” footage, because the movie is presented as a mosaic of a culture.

People in the movie are rarely identified by name and absolutely no one is interviewed for the film. Therefore, don’t expect any deep analysis or commentary about what’s in the movie. However, just like a mosaic, it’s up to viewers to look at all the different segments that are presented and see what the big picture is.

“Ascension” had its world premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. It won the Tribeca Film Festival jury prizes for Best Documentary Feature, while “Ascension” director Jessica Kingdon received the festival’s 2021 Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director. It’s a documentary whose storytelling style is not going to be everyone’s liking, especially for people who prefer documentaries to tell as much as show. “Ascension” take a more subtle “show” approach and doesn’t try to make anyone a star of the movie with manipulative editing.

In order to fully appreciate “Ascension” (directed by Jessica Kingdon), it helps to have this synopsis from the movie’s production notes: “‘Ascension’ is an impressionistic portrait of China’s industrial supply chain that reveals the country’s growing class divide through staggering observations of labor, consumerism and wealth. The documentary portrays capitalism in China across the levels of its operation, from the crudest mine to the most rarefied forms of leisure.

“Accordingly, the film is structured in three parts, ascending through the levels of the capitalist structure: workers running factory production, the middle class training for and selling to aspirational consumers, and the elites reveling in a new level of hedonistic enjoyment. In traveling up the rungs of China’s social ladder, we see how each level supports and makes possible the next while recognizing the contemporary Chinese Dream remains an elusive fantasy for most.”

Once viewers know that “Ascension” has a specific structure, it gives a better context to watching the documentary. Otherwise, for people not really paying attention, the movie might just come across as a bunch of random footage of contemporary life in China. The movie filmed in 51 locations across China, according to the “Ascension” production notes.

Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell provided the movie’s often-stunning cinematography. (The visually majestic outdoor scenes are the documentary’s cinematography highlights.) And the music by Dan Deacon is very atmospheric—sometimes dreamlike, sometimes jarring, sometimes haunting.

“Ascension” begins with a prologue quote from a poem titled “Ascension,” written in 1912 by Kingdon’s great-grandfather Zheng Ze: “I ascend and look far into my heart, only to find everywhere already razed.” It’s perhaps the only clue in the movie about what Kingdon feels is being presented in this documentary’s view of contemporary China: The constant hope of the Chinese Dream (the aspiration to reach the heights of luxury through hard work) is often crushed under the weight of dead-end jobs.

The “factory worker” level of “Ascension” begins with a montage of company recruiters trying to entice people on commercial streets to work at low-paying factory jobs. They use microphones so that their voices can be heard above the noises of the crowds. The places looking for employees can be anything from well-known corporate companies to small businesses.

In this documentary, a phone manufacturing company and a pen factory were among those with recruiters on the streets. A big selling point used by many recruiters is telling potential employees that people can sit while doing the job, since many other blue-collar jobs involve standing for long hours. The salaries mentioned are, on average, 16 yuan (or about $2) per hour.

Also on these streets are large electronic signs with a variety of slogans that read, “Sense of Worth,” “Chinese Dream” and Work Hard. And All Wishes Come True.” But do these wishes really come true? It depends on what those wishes are and who has those wishes.

“Ascension” then gives viewers glimpse in to the types of factory jobs that are the backbone of China’s economy. It’s why so many people around the world have at least one item with the label “Made in China.” The factory locations filmed in this segment of the documentary include a garment factory in Shenzhen; WM Doll (a sex doll company) in Zhongshan; a factory that processes cooked chicken; and a factory that makes pill bottles.

At the WM Doll factory, two female workers focus on how to repair the shoulder of a mannequin. At the garment factory, workers make pants and go through a quality assessment process. Workers at another factory are seen having a cafeteria-styled lunch.

The “middle-class” level of the documentary is the one where people have the liveliest personalities. Rather than having jobs where they’re expected to be “worker bees” and “drones,” there’s a lot more emphasis on being successful entrepreneurs. It’s at this level that the Chinese Dream seems more attainable, and that optimistic hope is more evident in the workforce.

One of the more memorable highlights of this middle-class segment is footage from Star Boss Entrepreneurial Camp, a two-day workshop where the motto is “Monetize Your Personal Brand.” The female leader of the workshop is energetic and enthusiastic in her pep talks and advice on personal sales: “Buying is a choice, one we don’t have to make,” she says. “Why should people buy from you? Because you’re a brand.”

She further notes that people will buy from those whom they like and trust. “We’re in a fan economy era. If you have a large fan base, you have everything.” At the conclusion of Star Boss Entrepreneurial Camp, participants have a “graduation” ceremony, where they get framed completion certificates, go in front of the room, and say their company name and profit goals. The goals are predictably high, with people saying that they want to make millions within the next five years.

“Ascension” also shows how China is part of the boom of entrepreneurs who want to get rich through social media. Just as it is in Western countries, “influencer culture” is huge in China. A woman is shown livestreaming a product demonstration for Yiwu Siwen Shoe Company, so that she can sell athletic shoes. Another woman, who’s a beauty influencer, takes selfies and does a makeup tutorial.

At a flight attendant training program (where all of the participants are women, except for one man), the emphasis is on etiquette and physical attractiveness. Someone who’s not shown on camera says in a micophone to the class: “There’s a saying that every Chinese woman is a pretty Chinese business card. So every Chinese woman, let’s present the prettiest image of China!” When the class completes the training, the graduates pose for a group photo.

The documentary also shows training sessions for jobs that usually attract men. There’s footage of International Butler Academy in Chengdu, where potential butlers are shown how to do proper housekeeping duties, such as bedsheet preparation. Waiters are also shown training at Windows of the World, an upscale restaruant in Shenzhen.

At Genghis Security Academy in Bejing, training looks very similar to a police academy, since the trainees are armed with guns. In a military-styled line of standing trainees, one man makes a mistake, and the instructor shouts at him and kicks him. As further punishment, this trainee is ordered to do push-ups in front of the other trainees.

A documentary about consumerism wouldn’t be complete without footage of people spending money. “Ascension” includes scenes from New South China Mall in Dongguan and New Century Global Center in Chengdu. People are shown gathered at a water park in New Century Global Center. There’s also footage of a computer video game arcade, populated almost entirely by males in their teens and 20s.

The “elite” segment toward the end of the documentary is also the shortest segment. There’s footage of a dinner at Windows of the World, with three men and two women, who are in the late 20s or early 30s. They are all presumably wealthy. One of the women says, “I like the U.S. … because of the freedom.” One of the men says in response, “Personally speaking, I’m a patriot [of China] … China is a global player now.”

This confidence in China’s economy is also expressed at JALA’s annual conference in 2020. (JALA Group is a leading cosmetics enterprise in China.) “Ascension’s” footage of this conference includes a speaker who tells the large audience of hundreds who are gathered for the speech: “Chinese brands must win!”

As much as “Ascension” shows about the Chinese economy and workforce, the documentary can get viewers to think about what’s missing from the movie that would be in a documentary about the American economy and work force. An American documentary would have complaints of employee burnout or exploitation; the minimum wage as it relates to being a “living wage”; employee contracts; taxes and tarriffs; labor laws, etc. The point is that the American Dream and the Chinese Dream might have many things in common, but the freedom to speak out against flaws in the system is another story.

UPDATE: MTV Documentary Films will release “Ascension” in select U.S. cinemas on October 8, 2021. Paramount+ begins streaming the movie on November 15, 2021.

2021 Tribeca Film Festival: complete list of winners

June 17, 2021

Tribeca Film Festival - white logo

The following is a press release from the Tribeca Film Festival:

 The 20th annual Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winning storytellers in its competition categories at this year’s awards ceremony today at Spring Studios. Awards were given in the following competition categories: U.S. Narrative, International Narrative, Documentary; Short Films, Immersive, the Nora Ephron Award, and the first-ever Podcast and Games categories. For the first time ever, Italian eyewear brand, Persol, presented the award to the 2021 Best Actor, U.S. Narrative recipient.

The awards ceremony honored the most diverse line-up of creators in Tribeca’s 20 year history and awarded $165,000 in cash prizes. The Festival, which had the honor of welcoming back in-person audiences, concludes on June 20th.

The top honors for feature films went to The Novice, Brighton 4th, and Ascension.

Chanel James and Taylor Garron won the Nora Ephron Award and a $25,000 prize for As of Yet. The award, created nine years ago, honors excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director embodying the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker.

Tribeca honored innovation in storytelling with its Storyscapes Award, which went to Felix Gaedtke and Gayatri Parameswaran for Kusunda.

The inaugural Tribeca Podcast honors for the Non-Fiction Narrative Award went to Guardians of the River, and the Fiction Narrative Award went to Vermont Ave.

In the Games category, the first-ever Tribeca Games Award was given to Norco, created by Geography of Robots and published by Raw Fury.

“It’s been a challenging time for filmmakers, storytellers, and actors, and we’re so proud to honor the perseverance and dedication many of them displayed while working through the many obstacles that arose as a result of COVID-19,” said Cara Cusumano, Festival Director and Vice President of Programming. “Each of these recipients truly embody the spirit of our creative community.”

A special Virtual Award Winner Screenings series will be available for U.S. audiences via Tribeca at Home on Saturday, June 19 and Sunday, June 20. Tickets can be purchased at tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

In addition to cash awards and in-kind services provided by sponsors, some award winners received the unique Tribeca Festival Art Award. Supported by CHANEL, the world-class artists donated work to honored filmmakers.

The winners of the Audience Awards, powered by AT&T, which are determined by audience votes throughout the Festival, will be announced next week.

The winners, awards, and comments from the jury who selected the recipients are as follows:

U.S. NARRATIVE COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 U.S. Narrative Competition were Ana Lily Amirpour, Derek Cianfrance, Bryan Cranston, Andre Holland, and Erica Huggins.

Dilone and Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

The Founders Award for Best U.S. Narrative Feature Film: The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.

Art Award: Meghan Boody’s Opening Night, 2019 C Print Face Mounted to Mat Plexiglass and Back Mounted to White Plexiglass ⅖

Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

Best Actress in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Isabelle Furman, The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.
Special Jury Mention: Kali Reis, for her magnetic performance in Catch The Fair One. She kept audiences on the edge of their seats with her strength and vulnerability in a performance that always felt deeply honest.

Matthew Leone and Nisalda Gonzalez in “God’s Waiting Room” (Photo by Mack Fisher)

Best Actor in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Matthew Leone, God’s Waiting Room, directed and written by Tyler Riggs. Produced by Tyler Riggs, Suvi Riggs.

Isabelle Fuhrman in “The Novice” (Photo by Todd Martin)

Best Cinematography in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Todd Martin, The Novice, directed and written by Lauren Hadaway. Produced by Ryan Hawkins, Kari Hollend, Steven Sims, Zack Zucker.

Hayley Law and Ben Rosenfield in “Mark, Mary + Some Other People” (Photo by Casey Stolberg)

Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature Film: Hannah Marks, Mark, Mary, and Some Other People, directed and written by Hannah Marks. Produced by Hannah Marks, Pete Williams, Jon Lullo, Brendan Walter, Jonathan Duffy, Kelly Williams, Stephen Braun.

Nana Mensah in “Queen of Glory” (Photo by Anthony Thompson)

Special Jury Prize for Artistic Expression: Director Nana Mensah, Queen of Glory, for opening audiences up to an intimate and personal story, exploring cultural identity and family, with delicate nuance and humor and heart.

INTERNATIONAL NARRATIVE COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 International Narrative Competition were Lesli Klainberg, Melissa Leo, Delroy Lindo, Alexander Payne, and Peter Scarlet.

Levan Tediashvili and Giorgi Tabidze in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best International Narrative Feature Film: Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.
Art Award: Gus Van Sant’s Devil in Hell, 2021 Encaustic on Paper

Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature Film: Bassant Ahmed & Basmala Elghaiesh, Souad, directed by Ayten Amin, written by Mahmoud Ezzat, Ayten Amin. Produced by Sameh Awad.

Levan Tediashvili in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best Actor in an International Narrative Feature Film: Levan Tediashvili, Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.

“Roaring 20s”

Best Cinematography in an International Narrative Feature Film: Elisabeth Vogler, Roaring 20s, directed by Elisabeth Vogler, written by François Mark, Elisabeth Vogler, Noémie Schmidt, Joris Avodo. Produced by Laurent Rochette.

Nadezhda Mikhalkova and Giorgi Tabidze in “Brighton 4th” (Photo courtesy of Kino Iberica)

Best Screenplay in an International Narrative Feature Film: Boris Frumin, Brighton 4th, directed by Levan Koguashvili, written by Boris Frumin, Levan Koguashvili. Produced by Irakli Rodonaya, Olena Yershova, Michel Merkt, Kateryna Merkt.

Special Jury Mention: Cast ensemble of Roaring 20s, for their characters and dialogue both written and improvised seamlessly that provide a portrait timeless and true.

The Jurors for the Best New Narrative Director Competition were Aya Cash, Sanaa Lathan, and Chris Weitz.

Nana Mensah in “Queen of Glory” (Photo by Anthony Thompson)

Best New Narrative Director: Nana Mensah, Queen of Glory, directed and written by Nana Mensah. Produced by Jamund Washington, Kelley Robins Hicks, Baff Akoto, Nana Mensah, Anya Migdal.
Art Award: Will Ryman’s Flag, 2021 Wood, Foam, Paint

Special Jury Mention: Mack Fisher, Cinematographer of God’s Waiting Room, for his beautiful cinematography that captures the heaven/hellscape of central Florida.

DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION

The Jurors for the 2021 Best New Documentary Feature Competition were Kirby Dick, Matt Tyrnauer, and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.

A livestreamer at shoe factory in Yiwu, China, in “Ascenscion” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

Best Documentary Feature: Ascension, directed by Jessica Kingdon. Produced by Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell.
Art Award: Clifford Ross’s Waterline VI, 2020 Pigment Ink on Rag Paper

“The Kids”

Best Editing, Documentary Feature: Shannon Swan, The Kids, directed by Eddie Martin. Produced by Shannon Swan.

“All These Sons” (Photo by Bing Liu and Joshua Altman)

Best Cinematography, Documentary Feature: Bing Liu & Joshua Altman, All These Sons, directed by Bing Liu, Joshua Altman. Produced by Zak Piper, Kelsey Carr, Bing Liu, Joshua Altman.

The Jurors for the Documentary Director Competition were Iyabo Boyd, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, and Omar Metwally.

Chimelong Waterpark in Guangzhou, China in “Ascension” (Photo by Jessica Kingdon)

The 2021 Albert Maysles Award for Best New Documentary Director: Jessica Kingdon, Ascension, directed by Jessica Kingdon. Produced by Kira Simon-Kennedy, Jessica Kingdon, Nathan Truesdell.

Art Award: Jeff Chie-Hsing Liao’s View from Tribeca, 2018 Archival Ink Print

Special Jury MentionThe Neutral Ground directed by CJ Hunt, for the way their use of humor brought audiences into a difficult subject, with vulnerability, authenticity, and at great personal risk.

THE NORA EPHRON AWARD

Taylor Garron in “As of Yet” (Photo by Jamal Solomon)

The Jurors for the Nora Ephron award were Patricia Arquette, Mollye Asher, Leslie Dixon, Judith Godreche, and Sharon Stone. The 2021 Nora Ephron Award: Chanel James & Taylor Garron, As of Yet, directed by Chanel James, Taylor Garron. Produced by Ashley Edouard, Taylor Garron.

Art Award: Sheila Berger’s In Between, 2014 Pencil on Paper

Special Jury Mention: cast of The Justice of Bunny King: Thomasin Mckenzie and Essie Davis, for their outstanding achievement in acting.

SHORT CATEGORIES

The Jurors for the 2021 Narrative Short Competition were Justin Bartha, Elegance Bratton, Margaret Cho, Hari Nef, and Sheila Nevins.

“Girl With a Thermal Gun” (Photo by Cecile Zhang)

Best Narrative Short Award: Rongfei Guo, Girl With a Thermal Gun, directed and written by Rongfei Guo. Produced by Du Yating.
Art Award: Stephen Hannock’s Art Museums Take a Breath, 2021 Charcoal and Chalk on pape

Special Jury Mention: Leylak

“Navozande, the Musician”

Best Animated Short Award: Reza Riahi, Navozande, The Musician, directed and written by Reza Riahi. Produced by Eleanor Coleman, Stéphanie Carreras, Philippe Pujo.
Art Award: Curtis Kulig’s A Stern Foe of Snobbishness, 2020 Oil on Canvas

Special Jury Mention: Whoopi Goldberg was deeply impacted by the films Dirty Little Secret, directed by Jeff Scher, and Try To Fly, directed by The Affolter Brothers.

The Jurors for the 2021 Short Documentary and Student Visionary Competition section were Rashid Johnson, Tig Notaro, and Adria Petty.

J.C. Leyendecker in “Coded” (Photo courtesy of The Haggin Museum)

Short Documentary Award: Ryan White, Coded, directed by Ryan White. Produced by Christopher Leggett, Jessica Hargrave, Conor Fetting-Smith, Rafael Marmor, Marc Gilbar.
Art Award: Laurie Simmons’ How We See/Ajak (Violet), 2015

Daniel Ruiz in “Six Nights” (Photo by Dylan Krause)

The 2021 Student Visionary Award: Robert Brogden, Six Nights, directed and written by Robert Brogden. Produced by Robert Brogden, Kelley Zincone, Izrael Lopez.
Art Award: Deborah Kass’s Being Alive, 2021 Medium: 9-color Silkscreen and Color Blend on 2-ply Museum Board

PODCAST AWARD 

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Podcast Non-Fiction Award were N’Jeri Eaton, Rachel Ghiazza, and Latif Nasser. Podcast Non-Fiction Award: House of Pod and Wild Bird Trust, Guardians of the River

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Podcast Fiction Award were Neil Drumming, Lauren Shippen, and Mimi O’Donnell.

Podcast Fiction Award: James Kim and Brooke Iskra, Vermont Ave.

Special Jury Mention: Brooklyn Santa

TRIBECA X AWARD

The Jurors for the Tribeca X Award were Justine Armour, David Bornoff, Morgan Cooper, Senain Kheshgi, and Emily Oberman.

Tribeca X Award: Best Feature: Dear Santa, Director: Dana Nachman; Brand: The United States Postal Service

Tribeca X Award: Best Episodic: Black Owned, Director: Rodney Lucas; Brand: Square

Tribeca X Award: Best Short: Chinese New Year-Nian, Director: Lulu Wang; Brand: Apple

Tribeca X Immersive Award: Current, Creator: Annie Saunders; Brand: Brookfield Properties

GAMES

The Jurors for Games were Elijah Wood, Neill Blomkamp, Tanya DePass, Jen Zee, and Reggie Fils-Aimé.

The 2021 Games Award: Norco, from Geography of Robots, published by Raw Fury

IMMERSIVE COMPETITION CATEGORIES

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Immersive Narrative Competition were Warrington Hudlin, Laura Mingail, and Jake Sally.

Best Immersive Narrative Competition Award: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Yasmin Elayat, The Changing Same: Episode 1

The Jurors for the 2021 Best Creative Nonfiction Competition section were Diliana Alexander, Jimmy Chang, and Gabo Arora.

Best Creative Nonfiction Competition: Annie Saunders, Current

Storyscapes Award: Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran, Kusunda

About the Tribeca Festival:
The Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, brings artists and diverse audiences together to celebrate storytelling in all its forms, including film, TV, VR, gaming, music, and online work. With strong roots in independent film, Tribeca is a platform for creative expression and immersive entertainment. Tribeca champions emerging and established voices; discovers award-winning filmmakers and creators; curates innovative experiences; and introduces new technology and ideas through premieres, exhibitions, talks, and live performances.

The Festival was founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff in 2001 to spur the economic and cultural revitalization of lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. Tribeca will celebrate its 20th year June 9 – 20, 2021.  www.tribecafilm.com/festival

In 2019, James Murdoch’s Lupa Systems, a private investment company with locations in New York and Mumbai, bought a majority stake in Tribeca Enterprises, bringing together Rosenthal, De Niro, and Murdoch to grow the enterprise.

About the 2021 Tribeca Festival Partners
The 2021 Tribeca Festival is presented by AT&T and with the support of our corporate partners: A&E, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Audible, Bloomberg Philanthropies, CHANEL, City National Bank, CNN Films, Diageo, DoorDash, Fresh Direct, Hudson Yards, Indeed, Montefiore-Einstein, Neutrogena, NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, Persol, P&G, PwC, Roku, Spring Studios New York, United Airlines, and Unreal Engine.

June 24, 2021 UPDATE: The 20th annual Tribeca Festival, presented by AT&T, announced the winners of its 2021 Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Documentary Feature and the first-ever Best Online Premiere. The first place winners of Best Narrative Feature and Best Documentary Feature each received a cash prize of $10,000, sponsored by AT&T. 

Audiences were able to vote in person and online for their favorite films from the Festival, which just wrapped its 20th edition featuring 250 in-person events inside and out, and close to 100,000 attendees in all five New York City boroughs and via the Tribeca at Home online viewing portal. 

Kali Reis in “Catch the Fair One”

The Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature went to Catch the Fair One, directed and written by Josef Kubota Wladyka and produced by Mollye Asher, Kimberly Parker, Josef Kubota Wladyka (United States). In this absorbing revenge thriller executive produced by Darren Aronofsky, a Native American boxer embarks on the fight of her life when she goes in search of her missing sister. 

“Blind Amibition” (Photo by Warwick Ross)

The Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature went to Blind Ambition, directed by Robert Coe and Warwick Ross, written by Warwick Ross, Robert Coe, Paul Murphy, Madeleine Ross and produced by Warwick Ross and Robert Coe (Australia). The inspiring story of four Zimbabwean men who form their country’s first Wine Tasting Olympics team and the mission that drives them to compete.

The Audience Award for Best Online Premiere went to Ferguson Rises, directed by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, written by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Bradinn French, Jeff Strik-er, Kai Bowe, Daisy Moand produced by Mobolaji Olambiwonnu, Daisy Mo, Tanayi Seabrook, TJ Ode-bunmi, Lisa Smithline, David Oyelowo, Jessica Oyelowo, Nick Moon and Tamika Lamison (United States). Before George Floyd, before Breonna Taylor, before America knew about Black Lives Matter, there was Michael Brown, Jr. Six years after the fatal shooting of an unarmed Brown by a white police officer, and the subsequent days of protest, filmmaker Mobolaji Olamb-iwonnu brings a new portrait of the community of Ferguson, including Dorian Johnson, and a narrative from within the city of hope, love and renewal. 

Second Place for Best Narrative Feature went to Last Film Show,  written and directed by Pan Nalin. Second Place for Best Documentary Feature went to A-ha the Movie, directed and written by Thomas Robsahm. Second Place for Best Online Premieres went to Venus as a Boy, directed and written by Ty Hodges. 

The Tribeca Festival is curated by Festival Director and VP of Programming Cara Cusumano; Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer; VP of Filmmaker Relations & Shorts Programming Sharon Badal; Senior Programmer and VP of Immersive Loren Hammonds; VP of Games Casey Baltes; Senior Programmers Liza Domnitz (features, TV, and NOW), and Lucy Mukerjee (features); Programmers Ben Thompson (shorts), José F. Rodriguez (features); Karen McMullen (features), Leah Sarbib (podcasts); and program advisor Paula Weinstein, along with a team of associate programmers.

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