Alex Gibney’s Catholic Church doc Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (pictured) has picked up the Grierson Documentary Award at the 56th BFI London Film Festival (LFF).
The film, which had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last month, delves into the controversial subject matter of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church, focusing on a case first opened by a group of men coming forward after years had passed since they’d been allegedly abused at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin.
Speaking to realscreen last month in his first interview about the film, Gibney said that a key challenge he faced “was entering into a world and a language of the deaf that I didn’t really know much about,” adding: “I wanted to render it in a way that would both honor that world for the deaf but also make that world approachable for the hearing.”
The doc is being sold by Content Media, and currently has distribution in Ireland via Element Pictures, in Australia via Madman Entertainment, and in Italy via Feltrinelli.
In the U.S., HBO Documentary Films has qualified the doc for Academy Awards consideration, and will begin a theatrical run in November, before airing on HBO in early 2013, as previously reported.
Mea Maxima Culpa beat 11 other nominees to claim the LFF’s doc prize, including Jay Bulger’s Beware of Mr. Baker; Katja Gauriloff’s Canned Dreams; Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns’s The Central Park Five; Ulises Rosell’s The Ethnographer; Charlie Paul’s For No Good Reason; Shola Lynch’s Free Angela and All Political Prisoners; Sébastien Lifshitz’s Les Invisibles; Nick Ryan’s The Summit; Greg Olliver’s Turned Towards The Sun; Sarah Gavron’s Village at the End of the World; and Amy Berg’s West of Memphis.
Documentary filmmaker Roger Graef, president of the Grierson Trust jury, lead a panel of judges that included foreign correspondent John Simpson; vice chairman of the Grierson Trust Emma Hindley; BBC head of documentary commissioning Charlotte Moore; and documentary filmmaker Morgan Matthews.
Check out a video of Graef discussing this year’s nominees, courtesy of the BFI: