March 16, 2011

2010 IDA Documentary Award: Feature Documentary Nominees

From Lucy Walker's <em>Waste Land</em>

Waste Land (*Winner)
Director/Writer: Lucy Walker
Co-Directors: João Jardim, Karen Harley
Producers: Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
Executive Producer/Co-Producer: Fernando Meirelles
Almega Projects, O2 Filmes, E1 Films, Arthouse Films

Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home in Brooklyn to his native Brazil and the world's largest garbage dump, Jardim Gramacho, located on the outskirts of Rio. There, he photographs an eclectic band of catadores-self-designated pickers of recyclable materials. Muniz's initial objective was to "paint" the catadores with garbage. However, his collaboration with them, as they recreate photographic images of themselves out of garbage, reveals both the dignity and despair of the catadores as they begin to re-imagine their lives. Waste Land offers stirring evidence of the transformative power of art and the alchemy of the human spirit.

 

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Director: Banksy
Producer: Jamie D'Cruz
Executive Producers: Holly Cushing, James Gay-Rees
A Paranoid Pictures Production of a Banksy Film, Cinetic Media, A-Film Distribution, Alamode Film, Avalon Distribution, Audiovisual, Mongrel Media, Producers Distribution Agency, Revolver Entertainment, Madman Entertainment

When Thierry Guetta, a Los Angeles-based shopkeeper, discovered in 1999 that his cousin was the celebrated street artist Space Invader, Guetta decided to film him and his contemporaries at work. Five years into what promised to be the ultimate street art documentary, Guetta had yet to film the most dynamic--and most elusive--of them: Banksy. The two finally met in 2006 and six months later, Guetta showed Banksy the end result of seven years of toil. The film was not quite what Banksy had expected. So, he decided to finish it himself, encouraging Guetta to pursue a new career as a street artist. Exit Through the Gift Shop charts this unlikely tale of novice filmmaker Guetta's transformation into street art sensation Mr. Brainwash.

 

The Oath
Director: Laura Poitras
Co-Producers: Jonathan Oppenheim, Aliza Kaplan, Nasser Arrabyee
Executive Producers:  David Menschel, Sally Jo Pfeiffer
Praxis Films, Zeitgeist Films, ITVS, POV/American Documentary, PBS

The Oath tells the story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden's former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Filmed in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Oath is a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay Prison and the US Supreme Court. The film begins as Hamdan is set to face war crime charges at Guantanamo, and Jandal is a free man who drives a taxi in Yemen.

 

Steam of Life (Miesten vuoro)
Directors/Writers: Joonas Berghäll, Mika Hotakainen
Producer: Joonas Berghäll
Oktober/Röde Orm Filmproduktion AB, Norsisk Film Theatrical Distribution

Naked Finnish men in saunas speak straight from the heart and in the warmth of rusty stoves, cleansing themselves both physically and mentally towards the film's deeply emotional and unforgettable finale. The film travels through Finland, inviting men of all walks of life in many different saunas to share their touching stories about love, death, birth and friendship--about life. Steam of Life reveals the men's naked souls in an exceptionally intimate and poetic way.

 

Sweetgrass
Recordists: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Ilisa Barbash
Producer: Ilisa Barbash
Harvard Sensory Ethnographic Lab, The Cinema Guild

An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana's breathtaking and often dangerous Absaroka-Beartooth Mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.

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