Sam Pollard to be honored at 2020 IDA Documentary Awards

The International Documentary Association (IDA) will present Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI, Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts) with its Career ...
November 10, 2020

The International Documentary Association (IDA) will present Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI, Four Little Girls, When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts) with its Career Achievement Award at the 36th annual Documentary Awards.

The honor is presented to an individual film or filmmaker who, through a body of work, has made a major and lasting contribution to the documentary form.

Pollard (pictured), whose lengthy career spans feature film and television video editing and documentary producing and directing, most recently premiered MLK/FBI at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival.

Between 1990 and 2010, Pollard edited a number of Spike Lee’s films including Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever and Bamboozled. Pollard and Lee coproduced documentary productions for the small and big screen including Four Little Girls, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and When The Levees Broke, a four-part documentary that won a Peabody and three Emmy Awards.

Since 2012, his credits as a producer/director include Slavery By Another Name, August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand and Two Trains Runnin’.

In 2019, Pollard co-directed the six-part series Why We Hate, which premiered on Discovery Channel, and the 2020 HBO series Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children.

Among the honorees announced today (Nov. 10), Garrett Bradley, whose recent film Time has won numerous prizes including the Sundance 2020 Best Director Award in the U.S. Documentary Feature Competition, receives the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.

Stanley Nelson and Marcia Smith’s Firelight Media, meanwhile, is being presented the Pioneer Award for its work in supporting emerging non-fiction filmmakers of color; while Regina Scully (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?), founder and CEO of Artemis Rising, earns the Amicus Award, which honors individuals or organizations for their work in supporting the essential needs of the non-fiction landscape.

IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award is going to David France and the film team behind Welcome to Chechnya, as well as activists David Isteev (The Russian LGBT Network) and Olga Baranova (Moscow Community Center for LGBT+ Initiatives) for telling the story of LGBT+ activists.

The Truth to Power Award, launched last year, recognizes an individual or institution that has shown “conspicuous fortitude, tenacity and resoluteness” in holding those in power to account. The honor is being presented this year to journalist Maria Ressa and the Filipino news network Rappler, featured in Ramona S. Diaz’s A Thousand Cuts.

IDA’s executive director, Simon Kilmurry, said in a statement: “If we have learned anything from this tumultuous year it is the fundamental and critical importance of speaking the truth. Without that, democracies are undermined, the corrupt thrive and the marginalized are crushed. All of this year’s honorees are dedicated to speaking the truth and nurturing and supporting the brave filmmakers and activists who continue to shine a light into the darkest corners. We thank them for their work.”

The association recently revealed its shortlists for Best Feature and Best Short categories. The nominees for all categories will be announced Nov. 24.

The 2020 awards will be presented in a digital ceremony, held in January.

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.