December 7, 2019

IDA Announces 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Winners

Los Angeles, CA (December 7, 2019) - The International Documentary Association (IDA) handed out the 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards tonight at a ceremony at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles.

For Sama, by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts, received the Best Feature Documentary Award. Al-Kateab also received IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award. The award for Best Director went to Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert for the Netflix/Higher Ground Production American Factory. Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you're a girl), by Carol Dysinger, received the award for Best Short, while the Best Music Documentary went to Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, directed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Ed Burke. Honeyland, by directors Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov, came away with awards for Best Cinematography and IDA’s Pare Lorentz Award. (See the full list of winners below.)

Simon Kilmurry, executive director of IDA, commented that the work of all the winners “boldly engages with and responds to the tumultuous times we live in, it is a call for justice, it enlightens and entertains us, it gives us hope, and it introduces us to people, places, and ideas that will stay with us forever.”

Kilmurry also announced a new initiative – the IDA Global Grant, underwritten by Netflix. In its first year the grant will provide a $25,000 cash award and ongoing support to an emerging filmmaker from one of four countries – Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and India. Kilmurry said, "This grant allows IDA to continue to expand our support for documentary artists around the globe, and is a wonderful opportunity to connect the filmmaker with a global platform like Netflix."

Honorary Awards were presented throughout the ceremony. Cinereach was presented with the Pioneer Award for its bold support of filmmakers. IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award – which is given to a filmmaker who demonstrates extraordinary courage in pursuit of the truth – was presented to Syrian director Waad al-Kateab for her film For Sama. The Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award went to Rachel Lears, whose film Knock Down the House won the Audience Award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. The Career Achievement Award was presented to Academy Award-winning director Freida Lee Mock. Leah Remini received the inaugural Truth to Power Award for her work in exposing abuse within the Church of Scientology in her series Leah Remini: Scientology and its Aftermath. And the Amicus Award went to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for their work in defending press freedoms for almost 50 years.

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Winners

Best Feature 

For Sama (Syria, UK / PBS Distribution, Channel 4, FRONTLINE. Director/Producer: Waad al-Kateab. Director: Edward Watts)

Best Director

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert (American Factory. USA / Netflix)

Best Short

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you're a girl) (Afghanistan, UK, USA / Lifetime Films, A&E IndieFilms. Director: Carol Dysinger. Producer: Elena Andreicheva)

Best Curated Series 

Dokumania (Denmark / Danish Broadcasting Corporation. Executive Producer: Anders Bruus)

Best Episodic Series 

Abstract: The Art of Design (USA / Netflix. Executive Producers: Scott Dadich, Morgan Neville, Dave O'Connor, Justin Wilkes and Jon Kamen)

Best Multi-Part Documentary 

Leaving Neverland (USA / HBO. Director/Producer: Dan Reed. Executive Producers: Nancy Abraham and Lisa Heller)

Best Short Form Series 

A Moment in Mexico — The New York Times Op-Docs (Mexico, USA / The New York Times. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo. Coordinating Producer: Lindsay Crouse)

Best Audio Documentary 

A Sense of Quietness (UK / BBC Radio 4. Producer: Eleanor McDowall. Executive Producers: Alan Hall and Rachel Hooper)

Best Music Documentary 

Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (USA / Netflix. Director/Producer: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Director: Ed Burke. Producers: Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams)

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award 

Brewed in Palestine (USA, Israel, Palestine / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director/Producer: Emma Schwartz)

Best Cinematography 

Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Cinematographers: Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma)

Best Editing 

Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Editor: Luke Lorentzen. Co-Editor: Paloma López Carrillo)

Best Music Score 

The Raft (Denmark, Sweden, USA / Metrograph Pictures. Composer: Hans Appelqvist)

Best Writing 

The Cave (Denmark, Syria, USA / National Geographic. Writers: Alisar Hasan and Feras Fayyad)

Pare Lorentz Award 

Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Director: Tamara Kotevska. Director/ Producer: Ljubomir Stefanov. Producer: Atanas Georgiev)

Honorable Mention: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch (Canada / Kino Lorber. Directors: Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier and Edward Burtynsky. Producer: Nadia Tavazzani)

ABC News VideoSource Award

Mike Wallace Is Here (USA / Magnolia Pictures. Director/Producer: Avi Belkin. Producers: Rafael Marmor, John Battsek, Peggy Drexler and Christopher Leggett)


2019 IDA Documentary Awards Honorary Awards

Amicus Award: Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Career Achievement Award: Freida Lee Mock (Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision, Anita)

Courage Under Fire Award: Waad al-Kateab (For Sama)

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Rachel Lears (Knock Down The House, The Hand That Feeds)

Pioneer Award: Cinereach

Truth to Power Award: Leah Remini

Contact Information

The 2050 Group
Adam J. Segal