Beginners, The Lips, The Mill and the Cross, My Joy and Snow on Tha Bluff are up for the Cinema Eye Heterodox Award, a prize which honors a narrative film incorporating non-fiction techniques, content or modes of production.
The second annual Heterodox Award will be given out during the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking on January 11 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Last year’s inaugural Heterodox Award went to Matt Porterfield’s Putty Hill.
The Cinema Eye Honors nominations committee recommended nominations based on a list of eligible films that met the criteria for the Cinema Eye Honors including two extra festivals that program narrative films. Finalists were then selected jointly by the committee and the writers and editors of Filmmaker Magazine.
The five nominees are Mike Mills’ Beginners, for its use of autobiographical elements and brief documentary essays that examine everything from art to the history of California gay culture; documentary and narrative feature The Lips, from Ivan Fund and Santiago Loza, which follows three women who inhabit their cinematic roles as social workers interacting with members of an impoverished rural Argentine community; and The Mill and the Cross from Lech Majewski, which is a re-staging of and journey into Pieter Bruegel’s celebrated 1564 painting “Way to Calvary.”
Also up for the award are My Joy from Ukranian documentary director Sergei Loznitsa, whose drama debut focuses on a truck driver’s journey through the countryside of contemporary Russia, drawing on Loznitsa’s own experience shooting and traveling through the Russian provinces; and Damon Russell’s Snow on Tha Bluff, which mixes footage of the real-life subject – a young, crack-dealing single parent – with dramatic scenes.
“As more and more nonfiction films integrate artistic fictional devices and narrative structures, and fiction films take on elements seen in documentary storytelling, the importance of artist-led conversation grows,” said Cinema Eye Honors co-chair Esther Robinson. “In its second year, the Heterodox Award continues to be an exciting and important home to this discussion, contributing to a rich and important cross-genre dialogue.”