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2010 IDA Documentary Awards: Winners

By IDA Editorial Staff

From Duane Baughman's <em>Bhutto</em>

IDA/ABCNews Videosource Award

Director/Producer: Duane Baughman
Director/Writer: Johnny O'Hara
Producers: Mark Siegel, Arleen Sorkin
Executive Producer: Glenn Aveni
Co-Producers: Pamela Green, Jarik Van Sluijs, Darius Fisher
Cinematographers: Noel Donnellan, James Mulryan, David Ethan Sanders, Jens Schlosser
Editor: Jessica Hernández
Composers: Mader, Herb Graham Jr.
Yellow Pad Productions in association with Icon TMI, First Run Features, ITVS

Bhutto chronicles the life of one of the most complex and fascinating characters of our time: Benazir Bhutto. Hers is an epic tale of Shakespearean dimension. It's the story of the first woman in history to lead a Muslim nation: Pakistan, which Newsweek called the most dangerous place in the world, and the home of nuclear warheads and the Taliban. In 2007, with the South Asian country roiling in turmoil and under the thumb of yet another military dictator, Bhutto was called back onto the world stage as Pakistan's best hope for democracy. With her assassination, she transcended politics, but left a legacy of simmering controversy and undeniable courage that will be debated for years.

DUANE BAUGHMAN is the owner and founder of the San Francisco-based Yellow Pad Productions, through which he produced and funded the 2010 Sundance Film Festival feature-length documentary selection Bhutto. He is the owner of the nationally regarded political direct mail firm, The Baughman Company, which has been responsible for helping elect Michael R. Bloomberg mayor of New York City, and the historic presidential campaign of another barrier-breaking woman, Hillary Clinton.


IDA Music Documentary Award

For Once in My Life
Director/Producer: Jim Bigham
Director/Cinematographer: Mark Moormann
Executive Producer: Lourdes Little
Editor: Amy Foote
Big Blue Box Productions, Inc.

For Once in My Life is a documentary about a unique band of singers and musicians, and their journey to show the world the greatness-and killer soundtrack-within each of them. The band members have a wide range of mental and physical disabilities, as well as musical abilities that extend into ranges of pure genius. In cinema vérité style, the film explores the struggles and triumphs and the healing power of music, as the band members' unique talents are nurtured to challenge the world's perceptions.

JIM BIGHAM's feature film credits as producer include SweetLand, for which he received the 2007 Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature. Some of his nonfiction credits include Grammynominated; Chasing the Dream, produced for Turner Network Television; several documentaries produced for the Hallmark Channel; and three documentaries running permanently in the New World of Coca-Cola Museum. Bigham's television work includes several music videos, a broadcast of the first live rock concert behind the Iron Curtain in the late 1980s and hundreds of TV commercials in the US and worldwide. He is a graduate of the London Film School and is currently based in South Florida.

MARK MOORMANN is a South Florida-based filmmaker with extensive directing and director of photography credits on documentaries, commercials, music videos and branded content. His documentary work includes the Grammy-nominated Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, Once Upon a Time on South Beach, Hidden Rivers of the Maya and Blindsided. Moormann's films have screened theatrically and at major film festivals, museums and large-scale events. A clip from his short doc Electric Revolution played at Madison Square Garden during the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame's 25th Anniversary concert in October 2009.


Pare Lorentz Award

Waste Land
Director/Writer: Lucy Walker
Co-Directors: João Jardim, Karen Harley
Producers: Angus Aynsley, Hank Levine
Executive Producer/Co-Producer: Fernando Meirelles
Executive Producers: Jackie De Botton, Miel De Botton, Andrea Barata Riberro
Cinematographer: Dudu Miranda
Editors: Pedro Kos, Karen Harley
Composer: Moby
Almega Projects, O2 Filmes, E1 Films Canada, 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, in which 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.

In addition to Waste Land, LUCY WALKER directed Countdown to Zero, a terrifying exposé of the current threat of nuclear terrorism and proliferation. Walker's previous film, Blindsight, follows the emotional journey of six blind Tibetan teenagers who climb up the north side of Mt. Everest. Blindsight received several festival audience awards and nominations at the Grierson Awards and British Independent Film Awards. Walker's first documentary, Devil's Playground, examined the struggles of Amish teenagers during their period of experimentation. It earned three Emmy Award nominations and an Independent Spirit Award nomination. Walker graduated at the top of her class from Oxford University, with a BA and an MA in literature. She won a Fulbright Scholarship to attend New York University's Graduate Film Program, where she earned her MFA.


Pare Lorentz Award--Honorable Mention

Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
Director/Producer/Editor/Cinematographer: Taggart Siegel
Producer/Editor: Jon Betz
Executive Producers: Donald Siegel, Eric Stolberg, George Mitchell, Mike Quinn
Composer: Jami Sieber
Collective Eye, Inc.

From the director of The Real Dirt on Farmer John comes a profound, alternative look at the tragic global bee crisis. Juxtaposing the catastrophic disappearance of bees with the mysterious world of the beehive, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers from around the world. Featuring Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva, Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us? reveals both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.

For 25 years, TAGGART SIEGEL has produced and directed award-winning documentaries and dramas that reflect cultural diversity with absorbing style. Broadcasted and distributed worldwide, Siegel's films bring compelling voices and visions to a global audience. The Real Dirt on Farmer John, Siegel's critically acclaimed documentary about a maverick visionary farmer, won 31 international film festival awards and was released theatrically around the world. It was broadcast worldwide and it aired nationally on PBS' Independent Lens. Siegel is the co-founder of Collective Eye, Inc., a nonprofit media production and distribution organization based in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

JON BETZ is a Portland, Oregon-based documentary filmmaker. He is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, where he received the Tiffany Rosen Scholarship Award for Excellence in Narrative Filmmaking and the Fine Arts Award for Excellence in Film. Betz's work strives to maintain a high degree of artistic craft while digging deeply into the spiritual, emotional and ethical issues surrounding his characters. Memorize-you-saw-it, Betz's award-winning documentary, chronicles his time as an aid worker living with former child soldiers in eastern Uganda.


IDA/Humanitas Award

The Oath
Director/Producer: Laura Poitras
Co-Producers: Jonathan Oppenheim, Aliza Kaplan, Nasser Arrabyee
Executive Producers: David Menschel, Sally Jo Pfeiffer
Cinematographers: Kirsten Johnson, Laura Poitras
Editor: Jonathan Oppenheim
Composer: Osvaldo Golijov
Praxis Films, Zeitgeist Films, ITVS, P.O.V./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.

LAURA POITRAS was nominated for an Academy Award, an Independent Spirit Award and an Emmy for My Country, My Country (POV 2006). She received a Peabody Award and was nominated for an Emmy and an Independent Spirit Award for Flag Wars (POV 2003), made with Linda Goode Bryant. Poitras is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Media Arts Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation/Tribeca Film Institute. She has attended the Sundance Institute's Documentary Edit and Story Lab as both a fellow and creative advisor. She is currently working on the third part of a trilogy about post-9/11 America. Before making documentaries, Poitras worked as a professional chef. She lives in New York City.

Presumed Guilty
Directors: Roberto Hernández and Geoffrey Smith
Producers: Layda Negrete, Roberto Hernández, Martha Sosa, Yissel Ibarra
Cinematographers: John Grillo, Amir Galván, Luis Damián Sánchez
Editor: Felipe Gómez, Roberto Hernández
Composer: Camilo Froideval
Lawyers with Camera, Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía CONACULTA, Fondo para la producción cinematográfica (FOPROCINE), Latino Public Broadcasting, P.O.V.

Imagine being picked up off the street, told you have committed a murder you know nothing about and then finding yourself sentenced to 20 years in jail. In December 2005, this happened to Toño Zúñiga in Mexico City and, like thousands of other innocent people, he was wrongfully imprisoned. The award-winning Presumed Guilty is the story of two young lawyers and their struggle to free Zúñiga. With no background in film, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete set about recording the injustices they were witnessing, enlisting acclaimed director Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon) to tell this dramatic story.

ROBERTO HERNÁNDEZ was trained as a lawyer in Mexico and Canada and had no particular interest in film until he found himself collecting statistics in the basement of Mexico City's Superior Court, which houses the archived legal cases of one of the largest cities in the world. What he saw inspired him and his wife, Layda Negrete, to make El Túnel, a short documentary that presented scandalous facts about Mexico's justice system and was broadcast on several television stations throughout Mexico. Hernández is currently a graduate student in public policy at University of California, Berkeley.

LAYDA NEGRETE is a lawyer with more than 10 years of experience conducting research on the criminal justice system across her native Mexico. Her research has been funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the World Bank. She has designed and conducted surveys for inmates in the states of the Federal District (DF), Mexico, Morelos and Oaxaca and has helped to design and administer victimization surveys in Mexico City. Negrete is currently a graduate student in public policy at University of California, Berkeley.


IDA/David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award
Waiting for a Train: The Toshiro Hirano Story
Director/Producers/Editor: Oscar Bucher
Cinematographer: Aaron Meister
OB3 Studios, San Francisco State University

Waiting for a Train is the remarkable true story of a native Japanese and now San Francisco resident, Toshio Hirano, whose life is transformed by the music of country musician Jimmie Rodgers. Hirano travels from Tokyo to Texas to San Francisco's Valencia Street as he chases a passionate dream for over 40 years. He's a man following his bliss and being rewarded with a life well-lived, filled with music, song and dance.

OSCAR BUCHER is an award-winning writer/director/editor who co-founded the critically acclaimed Inquiline Theatre Company, based in San Francisco. After leaving the stage to pursue his interest in film, Bucher went on to produce and direct several short documentary and fiction films. He is currently a graduate student at San Francisco State University working on his master of fine arts degree in cinema. His latest project, Waiting for a Train: The Toshio Hirano Story, has screened in festivals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Mexico and Italy, among other venues, and has won numerous awards, including the Official Best of Fest Award and the Crystal Heart Award from the Heartland Film Festival.


Honorable Mention:
The Stinking Ship
Director/Producer/Cinematographer/Editor:  Bagassi Koura
Composer: William Ryan Fritch
University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The Stinking Ship is a groundbreaking documentary that chronicles the humanitarian catastrophe that occurred after a Swiss-based oil and commodity shipping company unloaded its cargo of toxic waste in the middle of the largest city in Cote d'Ivoire, causing one of the worst environmental crises of the last decade. At the same time, the film also reveals how a corporation with revenues twice as large as that of Cote d'Ivoire was able to pay off the local government and muscle the British media from reporting on the disaster and subsequent cover-up.

BAGASSI KOURA is a journalist and filmmaker. He is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley School of Journalism. He has worked as a correspondent in Africa, Europe and the United States, covering international news items for major global media networks. His stories have appeared on PBS Frontline/World, Agence France Presse, the Deutsche Welle, Reuters Television, Die Tageszeitung, Panos Institute West Africa, and The Stinking Ship is his most recent film.