Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Blackfish and Eugene Jarecki’s The House I Live In are among five documentaries to win BRITDOC Impact Awards this year.
The awards are given to films that have made a change on society and come with a US$15,000 prize.
Blackfish, about the treatment of killer whales in captivity, sparked well-publicized petitions and protests against the theme park SeaWorld. The backlash was eventually dubbed “the Blackfish effect.”
The House I Live In, a doc about the war on drugs, was honored for re-framing the issue as one of public health rather than criminal justice.
The other winners were Michèle Stephenson and Joe Brewster’s American Promise, a documentary 13 years in the making that aimed to close the achievement gap for black students; Pamela Yates’ Granito: How To Nail A Dictator, a film that helped the Mayan people in Guatemala hold the perpetrators of genocide to account; and Callum Macrae’s No Fire Zone, a film about human rights violations committed during the Sri Lankan civil war.
The five winners were unveiled on a billboard (pictured) in the Nevada desert on the road between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
For the first time this year, the film that receives the most support tweets in the days following the announcement will receive the #NetflixHi5Award, which comes with an additional $5,000. Tweets will be considered up until midnight PST on November 24 and the winner will be named the following day.