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Host, Nominees and Creative Recognition Awards Announced for 31st IDA Awards

By KJ Relth

We are thrilled to announce that Grammy-nominated comedian Tig Notaro will host the 2015 IDA Documentary Awards ceremony. The subject of Tig, the Netflix Original documentary chronicling her life after it famously fell apart, Notaro has recently teamed up with Diablo Cody, Nicole Holofcener and Louis CK on a semi-autobiographical pilot for Amazon. The comedian and writer also stars in her first HBO stand-up special, Boyish Girl Interrupted, which is out now. 

The IDA is also excited to announce that in an unprecedented move, the 2015 edition of the Awards will highlight six films in Best Feature Documentary category. These films include AMY, Asif Kapadia’s moving film about six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse; The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Stanley Nelson’s vibrant chronicle of the birth of the Black Panther Party; Listen To Me Marlon, Stevan Riley’s fascinating self-portrait of Marlon Brando culled from his vast archive of personal audio and visual materials; The Look of Silence, Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful companion piece to the Oscar®-nominated The Act of Killing; The Russian Woodpecker, Chad Gracia’s riveting examination of eccentric Ukranian artist Fedor Alexandrovich’s obsession with a Soviet-constructed radio antenna near the Chernobyl site; and What Happened, Miss Simone?, Liz Garbus’s sensitive exploration of the legendary singer and activist Nina Simone.

"Some of the documentary industry’s brightest and best talent released films alongside notable premieres from fledgling filmmakers making it one of the most exciting and difficult years for our nominating committees. The quality of the films vying for recognition left the IDA with an unprecedented six feature nominees," said Marjan Safinia, IDA’s Board President. "The organization is also excited to announce that comedian Tig Notaro will host our awards ceremony. She continues to push the boundaries and evolve as an artist in a way that is very comparable to the filmmaking talent we are honoring that night."

Our feature nominees are just as exceptional as our honorees, which this year include Matthew Heineman, recipient of the IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award in recognition of conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth. This award is presented to documentary filmmakers by their peers for putting freedom of speech above all else, even their own personal safety. Heineman's gripping film, Cartel Land, documents two modern-day vigilante movements – Dr. José Mireles’s citizen-led uprising against a violent drug cartel wreaking havoc in Mexico and the Arizona Border Recon led by Tim “Nailer” Foley, which is working to prevent Mexico’s drug wars from crossing into the United States. Previously, Heineman directed and produced the Emmy-nominated Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare and worked for two years with a team at HBO on the groundbreaking, Emmy-nominated series The Alzheimer’s Project. Previous recipients of the award include: Laura Poitras, Christiane Amanpour, Andrew Berends, Jonathan Stack and James Brabazon and Saira Shah.

In addition to Heineman, the 2015 IDA Documentary Awards will honor Gordon Quinn with its Career Achievement Award. Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation ( will receive the IDA Amicus Award, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos will receive IDA’s Pioneer Award. (T)ERROR directors Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe will share the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award sponsored by the Archibald Family Foundation. 

"We are thrilled to be honoring Gordon Quinn, Tony Tabatznik and Ted Sarandos – each of whom have had an enormous impact on nonfiction programming around the world. Likewise, to be recognizing the brave and bold work of filmmakers like Lyric Cabral, David Felix Sutcliffe and Matthew Heineman illustrates that documentary film has an exciting and vibrant future ahead," said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of the IDA.

We are also pleased to announce the recipients of this year's IDA Creative Recognition Awards. These awards honor excellence in cinematography, composing, editing and writing in documentary feature films. The recipients of these awards represent the highest achievements in their respective crafts, and highlight the importance of their work in compelling documentary storytelling. At the IDA Documentary Awards ceremony, The Russian Woodpecker (cinematography by Artem Ryzhykov) will be recognized with the award for Best Cinematography; Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (edited by Joe Beshenkovsky and Brett Morgen) will receive the Best Editing award; Best of Enemies (original score by Jonathan Kirkscey) will be presented with the Best Music award, and Listen To Me Marlon (written by Stevan Riley, co-writer Peter Ettedgui) will receive the Best Writing award.

The 31st Annual IDA Documentary Awards will take place on Saturday, December 5th at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. View a full list of nominees in every category at