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2012 Best Feature Award Nominees

By IDA Editorial Staff

Searching for Sugar Man won the Best Feature Award 2012

The Central Park Five
Directors/Writers/Producers: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon
Executive Producer: Ken Burns
Florentine Films, Sundance Selects, PBS

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling it "the crime of the century." But the truth about what really happened didn't become clear until after the five had spent years in prison for a crime they didn't commit. The Central Park Five, based on Sarah Burns' best-selling book and co-directed by her husband, David McMahon, and father, renowned doc filmmaker Ken Burns, tells the riveting tale of innocent young men scapegoated for a heinous crime, and serves as a mirror for our times.

The Invisible War
Director/Writer: Kirby Dick
Producers: Amy Ziering, Tanner King Barklow
Executive Producers: Regina Kulik Scully, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Women Donors Network, Teddy Leifer, Sally Jo Fifer, Nicole Boxer-Keegan
Co-Executive Producer: Kimball Stroud
Cinedigm Entertainment Group, Docurama Films

From Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated, Twist of Faith) comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America's most shameful and best-kept secrets—the epidemic of rape within the US military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem: Today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates that there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, to the nation and the world.

The Queen of Versailles
Director/Producer: Lauren Greenfield
Producer: Danielle Renfrew Behrens
Executive Producer: Frank Evers, Dan Cogan
Co-Producer: Rebecca Horn Black
Evergreen Pictures, Magnolia Pictures

The Queen of Versailles is a character-driven documentary about a billionaire family and their financial challenges in the wake of the economic crisis. With epic proportions of Shakespearean tragedy, the film follows two unique characters whose rags-to-riches success stories reveal the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream. The film begins with the family triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America, a 90,000-square-foot palace. Over the next two years, their sprawling empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis. Major changes in lifestyle and character ensue within the cross-cultural household of family members and domestic staff.

*Searching for Sugar Man (winner)
Director/Producer/Writer: Malik Bendjelloul
Producer: Simon Chinn
Executive Producer: John Battsek
Red Box Films, Sony Pictures Classics

In the late 1960s, two celebrated producers discovered a musician in a Detroit bar, and were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. The producers recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. In fact, the album bombed, and the singer disappeared into obscurity. But a bootleg recording found its way into Apartheid-era South Africa and, over the next two decades, it became a phenomenon. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. Searching for Sugar Man is a film about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music.

Women with Cows
Director: Peter Gerdehag
Producers: Tell Aulin, Lasse Rengfelt
Writers: Tell Aulin, Malcolm Dixelius
Executive Producer: Malcolm Dixelius
Deep Sea Productions

Seventy-nine-year-old Britt Georgsson has devoted her entire life to cows. She's been tending them since the age of four and, despite health problems, has no intention of abandoning her strenuous work caring for her 12 pets on the rundown family farm. She often dreams about her cows and does the mucking out even though a debilitating back injury means she has to walk with a pronounced stoop. Her sister Ingrid, one year her junior, lives in a nearby village; she can't stand the cows, but nonetheless helps her sister look after the bovine family inheritance.

Women with Cows observes both sisters over a period of time—not only during their frequent spats, but also in moments of mutual accord, when the strength of sisterly bonds triumphs over minor squabbles.