By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood December 8, 2012 at 1:30AM
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
JACQUELINE DONNET EMERGING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER 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
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
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
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
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
WOMEN WITH COWS
Cinematography by: Peter Gerdehag
Editing by: Rodney Ascher
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Original Songs by: Sixto Rodriguez
Additional Score by: Malik Bendjelloul
ANN RICHARDS’ TEXAS
Screenplay by: Keith Patterson