The Emmy Award-winning documentarian, MacArthur “genius” Fellow and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences member has directed a number of acclaimed films, including Freedom Riders, Jonestown: The Life and Death of People’s Temple, The Murder of Emmett Till and The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, his eighth to premiere at Sundance.
Nelson (pictured) is also the founder of Firelight Media, which provides technical support, mentorship and funding to emerging documentary filmmakers of color.
Elsewhere, Norman and Lyn Lear will be recognized with the Amicus Award for their work across the social, political and philanthropic spaces. Lyn Lear serves as president of Lyn Lear Productions, which aims to inspire, educate and activate people on global environmental issues through all forms of media. Norman Lear, meanwhile, continues to merge his work as a social activist and in television with America Divided, which most recently premiered on Epix.
They are also founders of the Lear Family Foundation, which supports a wide variety of projects that address issues such as civil liberties, the environment, health, youth and civic activism.
“Lyn and I are proud to accept IDA’s Amicus Award because we believe that documentary film can, and has, made so much change, especially in the areas of climate change, civil liberties and civil rights,” said Norman Lear in a statement.
The Pioneer Award will be presented to outgoing International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) founder and festival director Ally Derks. Founded in 1988, the event serves as a major destination for producers seeking co-financing and co-production through: the IDFA Forum; the Docs For Sale marketplace; the IDFA Bertha Fund, which supports docmakers from non-Western countries; new media program DocLab; and development institute IDFA Academy.
Finally, Nanfu Wang will receive the Emerging Documentary Award, which acknowledges the achievements of a filmmaker who’s made a significant impact at the beginning of their documentary career. Her feature debut Hooligan Sparrow has acquired support from Sundance Institute, IFP, IDA, and BRITDOC, while taking home awards at Sheffield Doc/Fest and the Jerusalem Film Festival. The film will make its television premiere across PBS doc strand ‘POV’ on Oct. 17.
Awards will also be handed out across a range of categories, including Best Feature Documentary, Best Short Documentary, David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award and Best Limited Series.
Nominees for the 32nd Annual Documentary Awards, which will be held Dec. 9 at the Paramount Studios Backlot in Los Angeles, will be announced in early November.
For more information about the 32nd Annual Documentary Awards, click here.