Hale County This Morning, This Evening from director RaMell Ross took the outstanding non-fiction feature award at the 12th Annual Cinema Eye Honors, held on Thursday (Jan. 10) in New York.
The 76-minute film (pictured), which will be airing on television via PBS’ ‘Independent Lens’ strand on February 11, paints a picture of life for two young African-American men in rural Alabama. The doc is produced by Idiom Film and Louverture Films, and marks the second Cinema Eye Feature Honor in a row for producer Joslyn Barnes, who also produced last year’s award winner, Strong Island.
Meanwhile, a trio of films – all shortlisted for the 91st Academy Awards Documentary Feature category – scored multiple awards.
Bing Liu’s coming-of-age saga Minding the Gap, which documents the lives of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown hit hard by decades of recession, received three top honors including outstanding direction, outstanding editing and outstanding debut.
Liu is only the second filmmaker in Cinema Eye history to win three awards for a debut film, joining last year’s winner Yance Ford (Strong Island).
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s Free Solo, a portrait of Alex Holland’s attempt to free climb El Capitan, also took home three awards: outstanding production, cinematography and the Audience Choice prize.
With the three wins, Chin becomes the most awarded individual in Cinema Eye history, with five awards thus far, coming off of two wins for 2015′s Meru. Vasarhelyi, meanwhile, now sits alongside fellow filmmakers Laura Poitras and Signe Byrge Sørensen with four total Cinema Eye Honors.
Shirkers, Sandi Tan’s exploration of the mysterious disappearance of a film she made in her youth, was feted with two awards, including outstanding original music score, and outstanding graphic design or animation.
Elsewhere, the prize for the inaugural outstanding broadcast series award went to director Steve James for his work on America to Me, the 10-part Starz series examining race in a suburban Chicago high school.
Oscar-shortlisted The Distant Barking of Dogs from Simon Lereng Wilmont picked up the Spotlight Award. The 91-minute film follows a 10-year-old boy, Oleg, who lives in a village near the frontlines of conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
The award for broadcast film went to Sonja Sohn for her HBO Documentary Films’ feature Baltimore Rising, while the New York Times Op-Doc My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes from director Charlie Tyrell was named outstanding non-fiction short. The latter film is also Oscar-shortlisted in the documentary short category.
Bart Layton‘s crime drama American Animals, which fuses documentary with scripted storytelling to tell of four young men who attempt one of the most audacious heists in U.S. history, received this year’s Heterodox Award.
Finally, the landmark PBS docuseries Eyes on the Prize was presented with this year’s Legacy Award.
The 12th Annual Cinema Eye Honors were presented at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York and were hosted by filmmaker and award-winner Steve James.