January 16, 2021

IDA Announces 36th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Winners

Los Angeles, CA (Saturday, January 16, 2021) – The International Documentary Association (IDA) handed out the 36th Annual IDA Documentary Awards tonight during an online ceremony hosted by Willie Garson.

Crip Camp, directed by Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht and produced by Sara Bolder, received the Best Feature Award as well as winning the ABC News VideoSource Award. The award for Best Director went to Garrett Bradley for her film Time. John Was Trying to Contact Aliens, directed and produced by Matthew Killip, received the award for Best Short, while Dick Johnson Is Dead won two awards for Best Writing and Best Editing. (See the full list of winners below.)

Simon Kilmurry, executive director of IDA, commented “This has been an exceptionally challenging year for all these documentary storytellers. But their resilience, artistry and relentless search for the truth, often in the face of overwhelming odds, cannot but leave us with a sense of hope for the future. Documenting and investigating our world is essential work that reveals our common humanity and leaves an indelible impact.” 

Honorary Awards were presented prior to the ceremony. Firelight Media was presented with the Pioneer Award for its extraordinary support of BIPOC filmmakers. IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award – which recognizes extraordinary courage in pursuit of the truth – was presented to director David France and the activists featured in his film Welcome to Chechnya. The Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award went to Garrett Bradley, whose film Time won the Best Directing Award at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The Career Achievement Award was presented to Academy Award-winning editor, director and producer Sam Pollard. Maria Ressa and the team from Rappler received the Truth to Power Award for their intrepid journalism as documented in Ramona Diaz’s film A Thousand Cuts. And the Amicus Award went to award-winning producer Regina K. Scully who has supported over 200 films.

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Winners

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

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

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

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

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

Best Multi-Part Documentary
Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (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)

Best Short Form Series
POV Shorts (USA / PBS. Producer: Opal H. Bennett. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan, Chris White)

Best Audio Documentary
Somebody (USA / Topic Studios, The Intercept, the Invisible Institute, and iHeartRadio, in association with Tenderfoot TV. Reporters and Producers: Alison Flowers, Bill Healy and Sarah Geis. Host: Shapearl Wells. Reporters: Sam Stecklow, Annie Nguyen, Kahari Blackburn, Rajiv Sinclair, Henri Adams, Matilda Vojak, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Frances McDonald, Diana Akmajian, Andrew Fan and Maddie Anderson. Associate Producer: Ellen Glover. Executive Producers: Jamie Kalven, Maria Zuckerman, Christy Gressman, Leital Molad)

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

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
People Like Me (USA / University of California Santa Cruz. Director/Producer: Marrok Sedgwick, Co-Editor: Jackson Patrick-Sternin)

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

Best Editing
Dick Johnson Is Dead (USA / Netflix. Editor: Nels Bangerter)

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

Best Writing
Dick Johnson Is Dead (USA / Netflix. Writers: Nels Bangerter and Kirsten Johnson)

Pare Lorentz Award
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)

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

2020 IDA Documentary Awards Honorary Awards

Amicus Award: Regina S. Scully Watch Conversation

Career Achievement Award: Sam Pollard Watch Conversation

Courage Under Fire Award: David France, Olga Baranova, David Isteev and the filmmakers and activists from Welcome to Chechnya Watch Conversation

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Garrett Bradley (Time) Watch Conversation

Pioneer Award: Firelight Media Watch Conversation

Truth to Power Award: Maria Ressa and Rappler Watch Conversation


The 2020 IDA Documentary Awards are sponsored by Netflix, SHOWTIME® Documentary Films, Briarcliff Entertainment, Apple TV+, ABC News VideoSource, Amazon Studios, Participant, HBO, National Geographic Documentary Films, and the Archibald Family Charitable Foundation. 

For quick reference, all winners, nominees, honorees will be updated at this link: https://www.documentary.org/awards

Contact Information

The 2050 Group
Adam J. Segal
(212) 642-4317
adam@the2050group.com