Leon Gast’s iconic documentary When We Were Kings (pictured) is to receive the 2018 Legacy Award from non-fiction film organization Cinema Eye.
The 89-minute doc, which chronicles the famous “Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight championship match between boxers Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, was feted with Academy Award honors for Best Documentary Feature when it was released in 1996.
The Legacy Award recognizes classic nonfiction filmmaking that “continues to inspire new generations of filmmakers and remains as relevant today as it was when it was first released.”
“At a time when sports, race and political protest are swirling together in the news, it is the perfect moment to honor Leon Gast’s brilliant documentary about one of The Greatest figures in sports history, a man unafraid to speak out on race, war or politics, Muhammad Ali,” said Cinema Eye co-chair Marshall Curry in a statement.
Meanwhile, Guido Hendrikx’s Stranger in Paradise, in which immigrants learn about Europe in a classroom, and Sean Baker’s The Florida Project, a poignant look at childhood, are among five documentary films nominated for the eighth annual Cinema Eye Heterodox Award, honoring films that actively blur the line between narrative fiction and documentary.
Baker’s nomination makes him the first filmmaker in Cinema Eye history to be nominated twice for the Heterodox Award. He was previously recognized for Tangerine in 2016.
Hendrikx’ Stranger in Paradise was also named last month as a nominee for the Cinema Eye Spotlight Award. It’s the first time that a film has been recognized in both categories.
Also nominated for the Heterodox Award are Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, Joshua Z Weinstein’s Menashe and Pawel Lozinski’s You Have No Idea How Much I Love You.
Previous winners have included Matt Porterfield’s Putty Hill (2011), Mike Mills’ Beginners (2012), Jem Cohen’s MuseumHours (2013), Carlos Reygados’s Post Tenebras Lux (2014), Richard Linklater’s Boyhood (2015), Jafar Panahi’s Taxi (2016) and Michal Marczak’s All These Sleepless Nights (2017).
Finalists for the Heterodox Award were whittled down from 10 films selected by the Cinema Eye Honors Nominations Committee, made up of more than 25 international programmers who specialize in nonfiction film.
The Heterodox and the Legacy awards will be presented at the annual Honors Lunch in Manhattan on Jan. 10, 2018.