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November 24, 2020

IDA Announces 36th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Nominees

Los Angeles, CA (Tuesday, November 24, 2020) – The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced the 36th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Nominees. 

“The nominees present an inspiring and urgent range of stories from around the globe," said Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the IDA. “The broad range of subjects and approaches to storytelling underscores that documentary is our most exciting form of cultural expression, a vital art form and a crucial element of democratic dialogue.”

The IDA also announced today that the 2020 Awards will take place in a virtual ceremony on Saturday, January 16, 2021.

IDA members will have the opportunity to vote online for the ten Best Feature and Best Short nominees starting December 7, 2020 and ending on January 8, 2021. For more on how to become an IDA member visit:

James Costa, a co-chair of the Feature Documentary Nominating Committee and IDA Board of Directors’ co-vice president, said, “With the world being so polarized it was a pleasure to have IDA’s diverse jury come together and select these ten films. This is a year that has been one of reflection, looking inwards, and living life differently than we have always known it to be. Through the art of filmmaking these films gave us an opportunity to truly look and learn through the lenses of others.”

This year the IDA received 1056 submissions including 365 documentary features, 153 documentary shorts, 153 documentary series, 52 student films, 39 music documentaries and 33 audio documentaries and podcasts. A record 40% of submissions were international productions or co-productions.

The nominees were selected by independent committees of 191 documentary makers, curators, critics, and industry experts from 25 countries. 58% of the committee members are female while 59% of committee members are BIPOC. Additionally, 15% of members are LGBTQ+ and 4% are disabled. For a full list of judging committee chairs and members, please visit:

The 2020 IDA Documentary Awards are sponsored by: ABCNews VideoSource, Participant, Showtime Documentary Films, and Netflix.

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Feature Nominees

Collective (Romania / Magnolia Pictures, Participant. Director/Producer: Alexander Nanau. Producer: Bianca Oana)

Crip Camp (USA / Netflix. Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht. Producer: Sara Bolder)

Gunda (Norway, USA / NEON. Director: Victor Kossakovsky. Producer: Anita Rehoff Larsen)

MLK/FBI (USA / IFC Films. Director: Sam Pollard. Producer: Benjamin Hedin)

The Reason I Jump (USA, UK / Kino Lorber. Director: Jerry Rothwell. Producers: Jeremy Dear, Stevie Lee, Al Morrow)

Reunited (Denmark. Director: Mira Jargil. Producer: Kirstine Barfod)

Softie (Kenya / POV. Director/Producer: Sam Soko. Producer: Toni Kamau)

Time (USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times. Director/Producer: Garrett Bradley. Producers: Lauren Domino, Kellen Quinn) 

The Truffle Hunters (USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics. Directors/Producers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw)

Welcome to Chechnya (USA / HBO. Director/Producer: David France. Producers: Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, and Askold Kurov)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Director Nominees

Garrett Bradley (Time, USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times)

Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw (The Truffle Hunters, USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics)

Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht (Crip Camp, USA / Netflix)

Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI, USA / IFC Films)

Jerry Rothwell (The Reason I Jump, USA, UK / Kino Lorber)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Short Nominees

Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa (USA / TOPIC, Woman Make Movies. Directors/Producers: Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater)

All That Perishes at the Edge of Land (Pakistan. Director/Producer: Hira Nabi. Producer: Till Passow)

Huntsville Station (USA / New York Times Op-Docs. Directors/Producers: Jamie Meltzer, Chris Filippone)

Hysterical Girl (USA / New York Times Op-Docs. Director: Kate Novack. Producer: Andrew Rossi)

John Was Trying to Contact Aliens (USA / Netflix. Director/Producer: Matthew Killip)

The Lost Astronaut (USA / New York Times Op-Docs. Director: Ben Proudfoot. Producers: Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi)

Mizuko (USA, Japan / TOPIC. Directors/Producers: Kira Dane, Katelyn Rebelo)

sống ở đây (USA / University of California, Santa Cruz. Director/Producer: Melanie Ho)

To Calm the Pig Inside (Ang Pagpakalma sa Unos) (Philippines. Director/Producer: Joanna Vasquez Arong) 

Unforgivable (El Salvador. Director/Producer: Marlén Viñayo. Producer: Carlos Martínez)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Curated Series Nominees

30 for 30 (USA / ESPN. Executive Producers: John Dahl, Libby Geist, Rob King, Erin Leyden, Connor Schell)

American Experience (USA / PBS. Executive Producers: Susan Bellows and Mark Samels)

American Masters (USA / THIRTEEN Productions, LLC. Executive Producer: Michael Kantor.)

Reel Midwest (USA / Illinois Public Media. Executive Producer: Moss Bresnahan)

Reel South (USA / PBS, World Channel. Executive Producers: Don Godish and Rachel Raney)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Episodic Series Nominees

Cheer (USA / Netflix. Director and Executive Producer: Greg Whiteley. Producers: Adam Leibowitz, Arielle Kilker, Chelsea Yarnell. Executive Producers: Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard, Jasper Thomlinson, Bert Hamelinck)

Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (USA / AMC. Executive Producers: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Shawn Gee, Alex Gibney, Stacey Offman, Richard Perello, Shea Serrano, Angie Day, One9, Erik Parker, Isaac Bolden)

Last Chance U (USA / Netflix. Director and Executive Producer: Greg Whiteley. Executive Producers: Joe LaBracio, James D. Stern, Lucas Smith, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard)

Seven Worlds, One Planet (United Kingdom / BBC America. Directors: Fredi Devas, Emma Napper, Giles Badger, Chadden Hunter. Executive Producer: Jonny Keeling)

We’re Here (USA / HBO. Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Stephen Warren, Johnnie Ingram, Peter LoGreco)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Multi-Part Documentary Nominees

Asian Americans (USA / PBS. Directors: Leo Chiang, Geeta Gandbhir, Grace Lee. Producers: Renee Tajima-Peña, Mark Jonathan Harris. Executive Producers: Jeff Bieber, Sally Jo Fifer, Stephen Gong, Jean Tsien, Donald Young)

Atlanta's Missing and Murdered (USA / HBO. Directors and Executive Producers: Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, Joshua Bennett, Jeff Dupre. Executive Producers: John Legend, Mike Jackson, Ty Stiklorious, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller)

City So Real (USA / National Geographic. Director and Producer: Steve James. Producer: Zak Piper. Executive Producers: Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Alex Kotlowitz, Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Jolene Pinder)

Hillary (USA / Hulu. Director: Nanette Burstein. Producers: Isabel San Vargas, Timothy Moran, Chi-Young Park, Tal Ben-David. Executive Producers: Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Nanette Burstein, Sierra Kos, Laurie Girion)

Lenox Hill (USA / Netflix. Directors and Executive Producers: Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz. Executive Producer: Josh Braun)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Short Form Series Nominees

Almost Famous (USA / New York Times Op-Docs. Producers: Abby Lynn Kang Davis, Gabriel Berk Godoi and Jeremy Lambert. Executive Producer: Adam Ellick. Director: Ben Proudfoot)

Guardian Documentaries (United Kingdom, Iran / The Guardian. Producers: Shanida Scotland, Natasha Dack Ojumu and Nikki Parrott. Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips. Lindsay Poulton, Jess Gormley. Directors: Irene Baque, Laurence Topham,  Sara Khaki, Mohammad Reza Eyni, Rebecca Lloyd-Evans, Laura Dodsworth, Dan McDougall)

Last Call For The Bayou: 5 Stories from Louisiana's Disappearing Delta (USA / Smithsonian Channel Plus. Producer: Nadia Gill. Executive Producer: Gina Hutchinson. Director: Dominic Gill)

POV Shorts (USA / PBS. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)

Run This City (USA / Quibi. Director: Brent Hodge. Producer: Prince Vaughn. Executive Producers: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson, Archie Gips, Brent Hodge)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Audio Documentary Nominees

Crosses in the Desert / Cruces en el desierto (Chile, USA  / Las Raras Podcast. Reporter: Dennis Maxwell. Producers: Catalina May, Martín Cruz. Executive Producer: Martina Castro)  

Fiasco: Bush v. Gore (USA / Luminary. Producers: Leon Neyfakh, Andrew Parsons)

Girl Taken (United Kingdom / British Broadcasting Corporation. Reporter: Sue Mitchell. Producer: Richard Hannaford. Executive Producer: Philip Sellars) 

Heavyweight - The Marshes (USA / Gimlet Media. Reporter, Producer and Executive Producer: Jonathan Goldstein. Reporter and Producer: Kalila Holt. Producers: Stevie Lane, Jorge Just, BA Parker, Bobby Lord)

Somebody (USA / iHeartRadio. Reporters and Producers: Alison Flowers, Bill Healy. Reporters: Sam Stecklow, Ellen Glover, Annie Nguyen, Kahari Blackburn, Rajiv Sinclair, Henri Adams, Matilda Vojak, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Frances McDonald, Diana Akmajian, Andrew Fan and Maddie Anderson. Producers: Shapearl Wells, Sarah Geis. Executive Producers: Jamie Kalven, Maria Zuckerman, Christy Gressman, Leital Molad)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Music Documentary Nominees

Beastie Boys Story (USA / Apple TV+. Director/Producer: Spike Jonze. Producers: Jason Baum and Amanda Adelson)

Billie (United Kingdom / Greenwich Entertainment. Director: James Erskine)

Crock of Gold (USA / Magnolia Pictures. Director/Producer: Julien Temple. Producers: Johnny Depp, Stephen Deuters, Stephen Malit)

Los Hermanos / The Brothers (USA / PatchWorks Films, PBS. Directors/Producers: Marcia Jarmel and Ken Schneider)

Universe (USA. Directors: Sam Osborn and Nicholas Capezzera. Producers: Esther Dere and Leah Natasha Thomas)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award Nominees

Bananas (United Kingdom / National Film and Television School. Director/Producer: Sara Montoya Sepúlveda)

Isle of Us (United Kingdom / National Film and Television School. Director: Laura Wadha)

Na Luta Delas (Brazil / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Directors/Producers: Orion Rose Kelly and Pedro Cota)

People Like Me (USA / University of California Santa Cruz. Director/Producer: Marrok Sedgwick)

Susana (USA / Stanford University. Director: Laura Gamse. Producer: James Davis)

Trees (United Kingdom / National Film and Television School. Director: Rosie Morris. Producer: Jesse Romain)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Cinematography Award Nominees

Acasă, My Home (Romania, Germany, Finland / Manifest Film, HBO Europe. Cinematographers: Radu Ciorniciuc and Mircea Topoleanu)

Boys State (USA / Apple, A24. Director of Photography: Thorsten Thielow)

The Earth is Blue as an Orange (Ukraine, Lithuania. Cinematographer: Viacheslav Tsvietkov)

The Truffle Hunters (USA, Italy, Greece / Sony Pictures Classics. Cinematographers: Michael Dweck, Gregory Kershaw)

Time (USA / Amazon Studios, Concordia Studio, The New York Times. Cinematographers: Zac Manuel, Justin Zweifach, Nisa East) 

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Editing Award Nominees

Boys State (USA / Apple, A24. Editor: Jeff Gilbert)

Crip Camp (USA / Netflix. Editors: Eileen Meyer and Andrew Gersh)

Disclosure (USA / Netflix. Editor: Stacy Goldate)

Dick Johnson is Dead (USA / Netflix. Editor: Nels Bangerter)

Through the Night (USA / ITVS, POV. Editor: Malika Zouhali-Worrall)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Writing Award Nominees

Crip Camp (USA / Netflix. Writers: Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht)

Dick Johnson is Dead (USA / Netflix. Writers: Nels Bangerter and Kirsten Johnson)

I Am Not Alone (USA / Netflix. Writer: Garin Hovannisian)

My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix. Writers: Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed)

Socks on Fire (USA. Writers: Max Allman, Bo McGuire)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Best Music Score Award Nominees

Dancing with the Birds (USA / Netflix. Composer: David Mitcham)

David Attenborough: Life On Our Planet (USA, United Kingdom / Netflix. Composer: Steven Price)

Hope Frozen: A Quest to Live Twice (USA / Netflix. Composer: Chapavich Temnitikul)

My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix. Composer: Kevin Smuts)

Rising Phoenix (USA / Netflix. Composer: Daniel Pemberton)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards ABC News VideoSource Award Nominees

#Unfit: The Psychology of Donald Trump (USA / Dark Star. Director/Producer: Dan Partland. Producer: Art Horan)

Bully. Coward. Victim.: The Story of Roy Cohn (USA / HBO. Director: Ivy Meeropol. Producers: Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn)

Crip Camp (USA / Netflix. Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht. Producer: Sara Bolder)

Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections (USA / HBO. Director: Sarah Teale. Directors/Producers: Simon Ardizzone and Russell Michaels. Producers: Michael Hirschorn and Jessica Antonini)

MLK/FBI (USA / IFC Films. Director: Sam Pollard. Producer: Benjamin Hedin)

The First Rainbow Coalition (USA / Independent Lens, PBS, Latino Public Broadcasting, ITVS. Director/Producer: Ray Santisteban)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Pare Lorentz Award Winner

WINNER: My Octopus Teacher (USA / Netflix. Director: Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed. Producer: Craig Foster)

HONORABLE MENTION: Crip Camp (USA / Netflix. Directors/Producers: Nicole Newnham, Jim LeBrecht. Producer: Sara Bolder)

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Honorary Awards Recipients

Amicus Award: Regina K. Scully

Career Achievement Award: Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI)

Courage Under Fire Award: David France, David Isteev, and Olga Baranova (Welcome to Chechnya)

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Garrett Bradley (Time)

Pioneer Award: Firelight Media

Truth to Power Award: Maria Ressa and Rappler (A Thousand Cuts)