Cinema Eye lists year’s most memorable doc characters

The non-fiction film organization's inaugural list of memorable documentary characters includes self-professed killer Anwar Congo, from The Act of Killing; and Tilikum the killer whale, from Blackfish (pictured).
October 24, 2013

Non-fiction film organization Cinema Eye has unveiled its inaugural list of memorable characters from this year’s documentary films.

Seventeen names comprise “The Unforgettables,” a list selected through open voting by filmmakers and the members of the nominations committee for the Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking.

The list includes Stories We Tell director Sarah Polley’s father Michael Polley; The Act of Killing‘s central character Anwar Congo; jailed Pussy Riot member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova; and Tilikum, the orca from Blackfish (pictured).

The list was inspired by doc-maker and critic Rober Greene, who wrote an article in Hammer to Nail calling on Cinema Eye to create an award for “The Best Performances in Non-Fiction Film.”

The article followed discussion at last year’s ceremony that Ameena Matthew, who appeared in Steve James’ documentary The Interrupters, was on Time magazine’s 2012 list of the top 10 “performances” in a motion picture.

“Documentaries often live and die by the degree to which a subject will allow a filmmaker to come into their lives and record often private events for very public viewing,” said Cinema Eye founding director AJ Schnack in a statement. “With this list, we hope to encourage the discussion of the subject’s role in the filmmaking process and to publicly acknowledge the rich collaborations that often take place between subjects and filmmakers.”

Cinema Eye Honors chair Esther Robinson added: “It is provocative to call all subjects performers – it is not always an accurate description – but the conversation about their contribution to a film is well worth having.”

The nominees for this year’s Cinema Eye Honors will be announced on November 6. The full list of this year’s “Unforgettables” is below:

Anwar Congo, The Act of Killing
Lisa Fischer, 20 Feet From Stardom
Edwin Honig, First Cousin Once Removed
William Kamkwamba , William and the Windmill
Freda Kelly, Good Ol’ Freda
Kevin Pearce and David Pearce, The Crash Reel
Neil Platt, I Am Breathing
Michael Polley, Stories We Tell
Pug, 12 O’Clock Boys
Rafea,  Rafea: Solar Mama
Susan Robinson and Shelley Sella, After Tiller
Chris “Wonder” Schoeck, Bending Steel
Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, Cutie and the Boxer
Tilikum, Blackfish
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer


About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.