IDA Documentary Awards Top Honors to 'Searching for Sugar Man'; 'On Death Row,' 'Saving Face' Also Win

Awards
by Beth Hanna
December 8, 2012 1:30 AM
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'Searching for Sugar Man'
The International Documentary Association announced its 2012 IDA Documentary Awards Friday evening at a ceremony at the Director's Guild. Swedish music documentarian Malik Bendjelloul's five-year labor of love "Searching for Sugar Man" took home the Best Feature prize, as well as Best Music. Werner Herzog's brilliant "On Death Row," a multi-episode extension of last year's "Into the Abyss," took home the Best Limited Series award.

Full list below.

Host Penn Jillette, who introduced himself as "carny trash" and an aetheist, described documentary films as "his church." He laid out his original plan to juggle three flaming torches for the audience, but settled on an even dicier goal: Juggling an IDA award (which is pointy and made of glass) and two apples.

Upon receiving the award for Best Limited Series for "On Death Row," legendary German director Herzog noted that, despite having quit smoking ten years ago, he took it up again during the editing of the film -- that's how intense the inmates' interviews were. He pointed out that "being a German, I'm a visitor here... I'd be the last person to tell Americans how to run their criminal punishment system." But: he disagrees with capital punishment.

Mark Kendall, who won the Student Documentary Award for bus violence doc "La Camioneta," thanked his early champion the Sundance Institute. He stated that it was a privilege to have their support as a first-time filmmaker, and also a "a privilege to be a student."

Ken Burns took the stage for a moment to mention the support the IDA offered him during the making of his and daughter Sarah Burns' "The Central Park Five." The city of New York tried to subpoena the film's outtakes and notes, which the doc association battled. The case is still pending, but Burns eloquently said that documentary filmmaking requires "an exquisite and necessary solitude... Still, we are a community. This is where IDA comes in."

The Sundance Institute for Documentary Film Program and Fund was honored with the Pioneer Award. Executive director Cara Mertes accepted the award from groundbreaking documentarian Rob Epstein, and mentioned that her two most formative moviegoing experiences were seeing Terrence Malick's "Days of Heaven" and Epstein's "The Times of Harvey Milk."

Arnold Shapiro, longtime producer and Oscar-winner for his 1979 documentary "Scared Straight," accepted the Career Achievement Award. He divulged the "strangest career advice you've ever heard... The key to my success is fear." He humorously pointed out that this might have something to do with two of his documentaries having the word "Scared" in the titles. "I literally have made myself 'Scared Successful.'"

"Searching for Sugar Man" took home the top honor of Best Feature, and Malik Bendjelloul thanked the IDA, mentioning that subject Sixto Rodriguez was finishing touring, hence his absence from the award ceremony. Check out our TOH! feature on Bendjelloul's documentary, which was recently named one of 15 on the Oscar Best Documentary shortlist, and our Oscar Talk podcast on the doc race.

Our TOH! interview with ex-"Island President" Mohammad "Anni" Nasheed, who discusses his fight against climate change and Jon Shenk's documentary, is here. The film was honored with the IDA Pare Lorentz Award.

2012 IDA Documentary Awards:

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

ARNOLD SHAPIRO

JACQUELINE DONNET EMERGING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER AWARD

DAVID FRANCE

PIONEER AWARD

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE DOCUMENTARY FILM PROGRAM AND FUND

BEST FEATURE AWARD

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

Director/Producer/Writer: Malik Bendjelloul

Producer: Simon Chinn

Executive Producer: John Battsek

Red Box Films, Sony Pictures Classics

BEST SHORT AWARD

SAVING FACE

Director: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Producers: David Coombe, Daniel Junge, Alison Greenberg, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Sabiha Sumar

Co-Producers: Aaron Kopp, Fazeelat Aslam

Senior Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)

Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)

HBO Documentary Films, Milkhaus, LLC, and JungeFilm, LLC

BEST LIMITED SERIES AWARD

ON DEATH ROW

Director/Writer: Werner Herzog

Producer: Erik Nelson

Coordinating Producer: Robert Erickson

Executive Producers: Dave Harding, Amy Briamonte; Andre Singer and Lucki Stipetic (Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film); Nick Raslan (Skellig Rock); Henry Schleiff and Sara Kozak (Investigation Discovery)

Creative Differences, Investigation Discovery

BEST CONTINUING SERIES AWARD

AMERICAN MASTERS

Executive Producer: Susan Lacy

Series Producer: Prudence Glass

Supervising Producer: Julie Sacks

Coordinating Producer: Junko Tsunashima

THIRTEEN in association with PBS

DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD

LA CAMIONETA

Director/Producer/Writer: Mark Kendall

Producer: Rafael González

Writer: Shannon Kennedy

Executive Producer: Esther Robinson

School of Visual Arts

ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD

HARVEST OF EMPIRE

Directors: Peter Getzels, Eduardo López

Producers: Wendy Thompson-Marquez, Eduardo López

Onyx Films, EVS Communications, Loquito Productions

HUMANITAS DOCUMENTARY AWARD

BITTER SEEDS

Director/Producer: Micha X. Peled

Teddy Bear Films

PARE LORENTZ AWARD

THE ISLAND PRESIDENT

Director: Jon Shenk

Producers: Bonni Cohen, Richard Berge

Executive Producers: Jon Else, Sally Jo Fifer, Dan Cogan

Actual Films, Inc., Samuel Goldwyn/Independent Lens

CREATIVE RECOGNITION AWARDS

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

WOMEN WITH COWS

Cinematography by: Peter Gerdehag

BEST EDITING

ROOM 237

Editing by: Rodney Ascher

BEST MUSIC

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

Original Songs by: Sixto Rodriguez

Additional Score by: Malik Bendjelloul

BEST WRITING

ANN RICHARDS’ TEXAS

Screenplay by: Keith Patterson

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