Documentary awards-season favorites Flee and Ascension continue to rake in prizes, with both films honored at the 15th annual Cinema Eye Honors.
Flee (pictured), an animated documentary from Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen featuring a refugee telling the story of how he fled his country, took Cinema Eye’s top prize for outstanding achievement in non-fiction filmmaking. Also, first-time feature director Jessica Kingdon’s Ascension, which examines class structure in China, won three awards, being recognized for cinematography, original score, and outstanding achievement in a debut feature film.
The awards were held on Tuesday (March 1) at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, and marked the event’s return to an in-person format after going fully virtual last year. Both Flee and Ascension are also nominated for the Academy Award for best documentary feature.
Cinema Eye’s outstanding direction honor was awarded to Robert Greene for his collaborative documentary Procession, which shows six men participating in artistic therapy after years of abuse by Catholic priests. Meanwhile, the Oscar-nominated Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised), the debut film from Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, won outstanding achievement in editing.
The filmmaking duo of E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin took home their third Cinema Eye Audience Choice prize, this time for their doc The Rescue. The award marked Chin’s sixth Cinema Eye honor in total, the most by any filmmaker.
Matthew Heineman, Jenna Millman and Leslie Norville were also recognized with outstanding achievement in production for The First Wave.
In Cinema Eye’s broadcast honors, Nanfu Wang’s HBO doc In the Same Breath won outstanding achievement in non-fiction film for broadcast; Steve James won the non-fiction series prize for the National Geographic title City So Real; Ellen Kuras won for her cinematography on Spike Lee’s concert doc David Byrne’s American Utopia; and Adam Locke-Norton won for editing on How to with John Wilson.
Cinema Eye unveiled a new award for sound design this year, which was presented to Leslie Shatz and Jahn Sood for Todd Haynes’ Apple TV+ doc The Velvet Underground. Another first-time award, for outstanding anthology series, was presented to Pretend It’s a City, Martin Scorsese’s series of conversations with author Fran Lebowitz.
The full list of winners can be found on Cinema Eye’s website.