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15th Annual Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards Nominees

By IDA Editorial Staff

Mountains and blue sky line a green valley with yurts erect, from Frank Muller's 'Where the Sky Meets the Land'.

IDA/Pare Lorentz Award

Producer/Director: Frank Muller

In the barren, mountainous region of the Central Asian Republic up to 3,000 meters above sea level lies the country of Kigistan—where the sky meets the land. Here the local tribe people undertake their ancient battle for survival against the wolves, the elements and a new enemy—a modern, massive, Canadian-owned gold mine.

IDA/David L. Wolper Student Documentary Achievement Award

University of Manchester, England
Producer/Director/Cinematographer: Lorna Kirk

A Little Bit of Freedom is a captivating look at the relationship between three Nepalese women living under the same roof. Nani, a servant girl; arita, a married woman, and Sarita’s mother-in-law, Ama. Together they exist in a blend of duty, entrapment and tradition.

Lorna Kirk holds a master’s degree in visual anthropology from the University of Manchester, England. She spent the summer of 1998 in Nepal, where she produced and directed A Little Bit of Freedom for her Master’s thesis. Kirk is currently a visual researcher on the documentary series Foodessence for Salter street Films International, Canada.

IDA/ABCNews VideoSource Award

MPI Media Group
Executive Producers: Waleed B. Ali and Malik B. Ali
Producer/Writer: Matthew White
Editor: Greg Newman
Distributor: MPI Home Video

This archival inquiry into the death of President John F. Kennedy utilizes film, audio and textual archives to investigate the motives of political assassination. Set in the cold war context, the documentary provides compelling information, gathered from archives, on why Kennedy was killed.

Waleed B. Ali, and Malik B. Ali are the owner /operators of MPI Media Group including MPI Home Video, WPA Film Library, and MPI Teleproductions.

Matthew White is a producer specializing in historical programming based on archival materials. He is also founder and president of the WPA Film Library.


TVE Brasil
Executive Producer: Hilton Kauffman
Directed by: Belisario Franca
Director of Photography: Gustava Habda
Distributed by: Synapse

Beyond The Sea is a look at the rich cultural tapestry woven over 500 years by Portuguese navigators throughout Africa, South America, India, Indonesia, and Asia. Portugal’s brief reign as a great power is a distant memory, but is still present in the architecture, food, religion, music and language in Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cabo Verde, Goa, Singapore, and Macao.

Hilton Kauffman is C.E.O. of Multipla Comunicações, the production company, that associated with TVE Brasil, produced the Beyond The Sea series. In addition to series productions, he has produced 30 short films, and three feature films, which have been awarded national and international prizes. Kauffman is currently in production on the four part series Antarktikos.

Strand Program Award

National Geographic Specials
Executive Producer: Nicolas Noxon
Director: David Parer
Producers: David Parer and Elizabeth Parer-Cook
Director of Photography: David Parer, A.C. S.
Distributor: National Geographic Television:

David Parer and Elizabeth Parer-Cook spent two years with their three-year-old daughter documenting one of the greatest dramas in the natural world, the land and marine iguanas of the wild and remote Galapagos archipelago.

David and Liz have been making wildlife films together for nearly 20 years. Their work has earned more than 80 awards including and Emmy for National Geographic Explorer’s Wolves of the Sea. David does the camera work while Liz specializes in the sound recording. Their films have won virtually every accolade in the industry from Australia to England and back to the U.S.

Nicolas Noxon is the executive producer of National Geographic Specials, and the guiding force behind many of National Geographic’s most exciting films including The Dragons of The Galapagos.

Television Magazine Segment Award

Channel One News
Executive Producers: Scott Garen
Producer/Director/Writer: Allison Davenport
Reporter: Krystal Greene
Videographer: Brian Miller
Distributor: Channel One Network

Justice For All tells the story of the sit-in movement which took this country by storm in the 1960’s. The movement begins in Nashville, Tennessee when a generation of students who had grown up with segregation decided to stand up for their civil rights by sitting down at demonstrations at lunch counters and other establishments that refused to serve them. (13 min.)

Scott Garen is a diversified filmmaker and producer/director/writer with extensive experience ranging from documentaries to music videos, dramatic programs and telefilms. Prior to joining Channel One, Garen worked for the Walt Disney Company producing and directing prime-time specials.

Allison Davenport has won numerous awards with for her work. She began her journalism career on the national assignment desk for ABC Network News in New York where she worked on the award winning documentary Black in White America. Davenport has been on staff at Channel One since 1990.


Future Educational Films
Director/Producer: Theresa Tollini
Director of Photography: Don Starnes
Distributor: New Day Films Library

Almost every day in this country a child is abducted by a non-family member. Often the abductor is a child molester. Still Missing approaches this subject via the parents of four children who were taken from their families.

THERESA TOLLINI founded Future Educational Films, Inc., a non-profit organization, to produce her first film, Breaking Silence that garnered numerous awards and was televised nationally on PBS. This was followed by Stories of Change, a documentary film profiling four ethnically diverse women who surmount substance abuse, illiteracy, and cultural barriers. Tollini is currently raising funds for a documentary film about the work of humane societies, entitled Humane Beings.

Feature Documentaries

Highway Films/TLC
Executive Producer: Jennifer Fox
Directors/Producers: Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen
Director of Photography: Brett Morgen
Distributor: Winstar Cinema

Three Brooklyn boxers —Tyrene Manson, Noel Santiago and George Walton—train for the Golden Gloves Tournament at the Bed-Stuy Boxing Center, the neighborhood gym which produced boxing stars Riddick Bowe and Mark Breland. Tyrene's growing reputation in women's boxing is stymied by her arrest on drug charges; Noel's talented, but lacks commitment; George (last year's Golden Gloves winner) has the greatest chance of success. These boxers reveal the answer to the crucial question: What does it take to win?

Nanette Burstein has written and edited several television documentaries, including In The Name of the Emperor and the award-winning documentary Before You Go. She recently completed editing for On Tour a 26 part PBS series. On The Ropes marks her directorial debut.

Brett Morgen directed On Tour and two award winning feature-length documentaries including Blessings of Liberty which won a CINE Eagle award in 1993, and Ollie’s Army which garnered awards from the IDA, UFVA, and The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Canada Wild Productions Ltd.
Director/Producer/Writer/Co-Camera: Nettie Wild
Cinematographer/Producer: Kirk Tougas
Producer/Production Manager: Betsy Carson
Distributor: Zeitgeist Films

On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista National Liberation Army, made up of impoverished Mayan Indians from the state of Chiapas, took over five towns and 500 ranches in southern Mexico. The Government deployed its troops, and at least 145 people died in the ensuing battle. Fighting for indigenous Mexicans to regain control over their lives and the land, the Zapatista Army, led by the charismatic, guerilla poet Sub-commandant Marcos, started sending their message to the world via the Internet. The result was what The New York Times called "the world's first post-modern revolution." Filmmaker Nettie Wild traveled to the jungle canyons of southern Mexico to film the elusive and fragile life of the uprising.

NETTIE WILD is best known for her documentary feature films A Rustling Of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution (1989) and Blockade (1993), both of which have won acclaim at film festivals around the world.

KIRK TOUGAS has over 90 productions to his credit, and is one of Canada's foremost documentary cinematographers. His work has received over 35 prizes at international festivals, an Emmy Award, and in Canada, three Genie Awards and two Gemini nominations. In 1990, Kirk was awarded "Best Documentary Cinematographer" by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, and in 1996, the Leo Award for Best Cinematography.

BETSY CARSON has worked on many films, including A Rustling Of Leaves: Inside the Philippine Revolution, Blockade, Time Immemorial, First Nations: The Circle Unbroken, Bowl Of Bone: Tale of the Swuye and The Mind Of A Child (1997 Gemini Award winner).