Extra: “Crip Camp” wins best doc at Spirit Awards; Cargo takes Tribeca docs

Crip Camp, Immigration Nation take home Indie Spirit Awards Netflix offerings were the big winner for unscripted content at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards on Thursday (April 22). Best Documentary was ...
April 23, 2021

Crip Camp, Immigration Nation take home Indie Spirit Awards

Netflix offerings were the big winner for unscripted content at the 36th Film Independent Spirit Awards on Thursday (April 22).

Best Documentary was awarded to Crip Camp (pictured), a film distributed by Netflix about Camp Jened, a New York summer camp for teens with disabilities. The film focuses on campers who became activists for disability rights and improved accessibility legislation.

The film was directed, written and produced by Nicole Newnham and James LeBrecht, and co-produced by Sara Bolder. It had previously won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, and is up for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards this weekend.

Netflix also came up big with a victory in the Best New Non-Scripted or Documentary Series category for Immigration Nation. The six-part series, released last August, covers portraits of immigrants to the United States along with footage filmed between 2017 and 2020 of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Immigration Nation was directed and produced by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz. It was also co-produced by Dan Cogan, Jenny Raskin, Brandon Hill, Christian Thompson, Andrey Alistratov, Jay Arthur Sterrenberg and Lauren Haber.

Cargo Film lands pair of Tribeca Festival selections

Two Tribeca Film Festival Selection projects, The Conductor and Father of the Cyborgs, have found a home with global documentary film sales agent Cargo Film & Releasing.

The Conductor tells the story of Marin Alsop, an internationally renowned American conductor. It depicts Alsop’s rise as she was the first woman to work as music director for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The film includes musical segments conducted by Alsop herself.

The feature is directed by Bernadette Wegenstein and produced by Annette Porter of Nylon Films. The Conductor will make its world premiere in Tribeca’s Viewpoints section this year, alongside a conversation with Wegenstein and Alsop.

Father of the Cyborgs meanwhile takes a look at the work of neurologist Phil Kennedy, who connected the brain of a paralyzed man to a computer in the late 1990s. Nearly 20 years later, he implanted his own brain in an attempt to continue his research.

The film uses Kennedy’s story to explore what drives scientists to explore new frontiers in human knowledge. Father of the Cyborgs is directed by David Burke and will make its North American Premiere in Tribeca’s Movies Plus section this year alongside a conversation with Burke and Kennedy.

New environmental storytelling initiative launches on Earth Day

8 Billion, a project from WaterBear, Off the Fence Productions and the WWF, launched on Thursday (April 22) this week.

The project is a multimedia initiative set to span the next decade. Its goal is to bring together faith, arts and science communities to show how humans around the world celebrate and protect nature.

First, filmmakers will be invited to upload their films on the subject, followed later by an invitation for contributions from groups anywhere around the world to share stories about how they interact with and protect nature.

The project was developed by WaterBear, a free and interactive streaming platform dedicated to the future of the planet. It was also developed with Off the Fence Productions and the WWF. Stories can be uploaded to, with the best films showcased on WaterBear.

About The Author
Jillian Morgan is a special reports editor at realscreen with a background in journalism and digital marketing. She joined the publication in 2019 after serving as the assistant editor to trade publications HPAC and On-Site. With a bachelor of journalism from the University of King's College in Halifax, she also works as a freelance writer and fact-checker.