April 1, 2010

Peabody Awards Announced; 'Order of Myths,' 'Brick City' Among Winners

The Peabody Awards, among the most distinguished honors in media, have been around since before the Web, and before television. Indeed, this year marks the 69th edition of the Peabodys, which operate out of University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Yesterday's announcement of the 2010 awards include a bevy of documentaries, including two from PBS' Independent Lens series: Vanessa Gould's Between the Folds and Margaret Brown's The Order of Myths. Other docs to snag a Peabody include Brick City, the Sundance Channel series by Mark Benjamin and Marc Levin about Newark, New
Jersey Mayor Corey Booker and the challenges running a tough city; and Thrilla in Manila, about the storied rivalry between boxers Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali. What follows is the list of documentaries, with descriptions from the Peabody Awards committee. For a complete list of all the winners, click here; for an
article about the Peabody Awards from the September-October 2006 issue of Documentary magazine, click here.



A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains (Prods.: ABCNews; ABC)

A powerful documentary shot in the hollows and house trailers of Appalachia reminds us that not all critical problems lie in "developing" nations.


Independent Lens: Between the Folds (Dir.: Vanessa Gould; Prods.: Green Fuse
Films, ITVS; PBS)
A beautiful documentary about the art of paper folding, it makes you gasp at the possibilities-- of paper and of human creativity.


Inventing LA: The Chandlers and Their Times (Dir.: Peter Jones; PBS)
Digging into the lives and machinations of the first family of Los Angeles newspapers, documentary filmmaker Peter Jones finds drama enough for several feature films.


Brick City (Dirs.: Mark Benjamin, Marc Levin; Sundance Channel)
In this five-hour documentary series, the struggles of Newark's young mayor and other citizens
trying to resurrect their blighted communities are sociologically instructive and dramatically compelling.


Thrilla in Manila (Dir./Prod.: John Dower; Exec. Prods.:
Darlow Smithson Productions, HBO Sports, HBO Documentary Films; HBO)
Taking its title from the last of three legendary heavyweight bouts between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, the documentary pulls no punches and lays bare misconceptions about their rivalry.


FRONTLINE: The Madoff Affair (Prods./Wtrs.: Marcela Gaviria, Martin
Smith; Exec. Prods.: RAINmedia, FRONTLINE;
The documentary takes viewers into the very heart of Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, explaining how and why it worked for so long.


Independent Lens: The Order of Myths (Dir.: Margaret Brown; Prods.: Folly
River, Inc., Netpoint Productions, Lucky Hat Entertainment, ITVS; PBS)
Margaret Brown's exploration of two Mardi Gras traditions in Mobile, Ala., one white, one black, is highly original, moving and insightful.


Iran & the West 
(Prod.: Norma Percy; Exec. Prods.: Brook Lapping Productions for the BBC
in association with National Geographic Channel, France 3, NHK, VPRO, SVT,
A spectacular, epic documentary that explains in fascinating, sometimes startling detail how the West and Iran arrived at the present standoff, it's imminently watchable and historically invaluable.


American Masters: Jerome Robbins--Something to
Dance About
Judy Kinberg; Exec. Prod.: Thirteen/WNET; PBS)
A retrospective of Robbins' life and work illustrated with dazzling performance clips and annotated with comments from noted ballet and Broadway colleagues, this brilliant documentary captured the legendary director/choreographer's "dark genius."