DOC NYC has named Laura Poitras (pictured, left) as the inaugural recipient of the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence, while Tabitha Jackson (right), director of the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Program, will deliver the festival’s keynote speech.
As previously reported, the award honors a mid-career filmmaker specializing in observational cinema and is accompanied by a US$5,000 prize. It will be presented at the festival’s Visionaries Tribute event on November 14, which will also honor filmmakers Albert Maysles, DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus with lifetime achievement awards.
The My Country, My Country director’s latest film, Citizenfour, is among the documentary features nominated for the International Documentary Association’s IDA Awards this year, and is currently enjoying a theatrical release in the U.S.
Jill Drew, GM of Drew Associates, selected Poitras with the festival’s programming team and artistic director Thom Powers.
“Citizenfour is cinema vérité at its best,” said Drew in a statement. “Poitras’s camera is up close with a compelling character at a significant turning point of great consequence. I know Bob and Anne would applaud this powerful film.”
Commenting on her award, Poitras said, “My filmmaking is built upon the groundbreaking legacy and artistry of Robert Drew. What he pioneered in the ’60s with films like Primary and Crisis, where he documented real world events unfolding in real time in front of his camera, is the foundation of all of my work.
“Drew understood that human drama exists in everyday life – from the simplest acts of daily life, to life-threatening situations,” she added. “I am honored to receive this award and to continue the tradition of non-fiction filmmaking that he founded.”
The Visionaries Tribute event will be followed on November 17 by a keynote speech from Sundance’s Tabitha Jackson, who has completed a year in her position and will speak on the cultural value of docs, discuss the role of the Sundance Institute in the doc landscape, and – according to a release – “throw down a challenge to the non-fiction film community.”
- Check out realscreen‘s forthcoming November/December issue for a major interview with Laura Poitras detailing the making of Citizenfour.