Docs

“Notes on Blindness” earns BIFA Best Doc honors

Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s critically acclaimed film Notes on Blindness was named Best Documentary at the 2016 British Independent Film Awards in London Dec. 4. The short-turned-feature documentary, which bowed at the ...
December 5, 2016

Peter Middleton and James Spinney’s critically acclaimed film Notes on Blindness was named Best Documentary at the 2016 British Independent Film Awards in London Dec. 4.

The short-turned-feature documentarywhich bowed at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was a realscreen MIPTV Pick in March, details writer and theologian John Hull’s steady deterioration into total blindness through self-made audio recordings. Middleton and Spinney combine cinematic recreations and evocative sound design with traditional documentary elements to offer viewers a sense of Hull’s journey into “a world beyond sight.”

Notes on Blindness (pictured) earned six BIFA nominations this year, including Best British Independent Film and Best Director (for Middleton and Spinney). In both categories, the documentary was bested by American Honey, a feature film directed by Andrea Arnold and the top winner of the night with a total of four BIFA trophies.

Elsewhere, Raoul Peck’s documentary I Am Not Your Negro bested the Ezra Edelman-directed O.J.: Made in America to win the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Project.

Narrated by acclaimed actor Samuel L. Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro is based on James Baldwin’s unfinished book Remember This House, which chronicles the lives and successive assassinations of his friends Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.  The film also looks at how the racial and economic inequality of the 1950s and 1960s has shaped attitudes about race in present day.

O.J.: Made in America didn’t go home from the LAFCA empty handed, however. An awards-season favorite, the eight-hour retrospective look at the O.J. Simpson murder trial was awarded in the Best Editing category, thanks to the work of Bret Granato, Maya Mumma and Ben Sozanski.

About The Author
Senior staff writer Frederick Blichert comes to realscreen with a background as a journalist and freelance film critic. He has previously written for VICE, Paste Magazine, Senses of Cinema, Xtra, Canadian Cinematographer and elsewhere. He holds a Master of Arts in film studies from Carleton University and a Master of Journalism from the University of British Columbia.

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