FOR SAMA. Sama pictured in September 2016, in the bombarded east of the city with a placard in response to US presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s infamous gaffe “What’s Aleppo” – Courtesy of Channel 4, Copyright Waad al-Kateab.
FOR SAMA. Sama pictured in September 2016, in the bombarded east of the city with a placard in response to US presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s infamous gaffe “What’s Aleppo” – Courtesy of Channel 4, Copyright Waad al-Kateab.

The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced the 35th Annual IDA Documentary Awards Nominees along with the Courage Under Fire Award honoree Waad Al-Kataeb, director and producer of For Sama. For the first time, the IDA will present an award for Best Director and, notably, all of the nominated films have female directors.

“The IDA Documentary Awards recognizes excellence in nonfiction storytelling across a range of forms, and all of this year’s nominees and winners illustrate that documentary storytelling is one of the most vital art forms today,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive director of the IDA. “These features, shorts, series, and audio documentaries explore all parts of the human experience. They challenge us and entertain us. They speak to the need for a more compassionate world and illustrate the unlimited resilience and potential we have by sharing these stories with each other. They build bridges across continents and cultures.”

First awarded in 2001, the Courage Under Fire Award is presented to documentarians displaying conspicuous bravery in the pursuit of truth, as a recognition from their peers for putting the freedom of speech—represented in the crafts of documentary filmmaking and journalism—above all else, even their own personal safety. Past recipients have included Christiane Amanpour, Andrew Berends, Feras Fayyad, Laura Poitras and others. “With the addition of the Best Director Award, the IDA is making an important statement. We felt the need to more clearly acknowledge the creativity and bold directorial vision that is behind many of the films we are privileged to consider. We hope that this award recognizes the fact that documentary directing is a vital and unique art form,” said IDA’s Executive Director Simon Kilmurry.

Waad Al-Kataeb, director and producer of For Sama said: “Back in Aleppo, I had no option but to fight the fears and horrors of this war through filming my experience both as a mother and as a female filmmaker. And now to receive the Courage Under Fire Award, I am moved and honored and even more inspired to continue to tell these important stories. This award means so much, and I hope it will serve as an inspiration to women around the world who are suffering from war or prejudice, so that they may find the strength to film their lives and to tell their truth. I would like to share this award with all of the brave filmmakers and citizen journalists behind the scenes whom you may never hear about and who have experienced these horrors together with us in Aleppo, Ghouta and now in Idleb. Thank you to the IDA and to all documentary filmmakers who are changing the world with their films.”

The 2019 Awards will be presented during a ceremony at Paramount Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday, December 7.

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Feature Nominees

Advocate (Canada, Israel, Switzerland / Film Movement. Directors and Producers: Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche. Producers: Paul Cadieux and Joelle Bertossa)

American Factory (USA / Netflix. Directors and Producers: Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert. Producers: Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello)

Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Director and Producer: Todd Douglas Miller. Producers: Thomas Petersen and Evan Strauss)

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

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

Midnight Family (Mexico, USA / 1091. Director and Producer: Luke Lorentzen. Producers: Kellen Quinn, Daniela Alatorre and Elena Fortes)

One Child Nation (USA / Amazon Studios. Directors and Producers: Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang. Producers: Christoph Jörg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn)

Sea of Shadows (Austria, USA / National Geographic. Director: Richard Ladkani. Producers: Walter Kohler and Wolfgang Knopfler)

The Biggest Little Farm (USA / NEON, LD Entertainment. Director and Producer: John Chester. Producer: Sandra Keats)

The Edge of Democracy (Brazil, USA / Netflix. Director and Producer: Petra Costa. Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Shane Boris and Tiago Pavan)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Director Nominees

Petra Costa (The Edge of Democracy. Brazil, USA / Netflix)

Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche (Advocate. Canada, Israel, Switzerland / Film Movement)

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

Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov (Honeyland. Macedonia / NEON)

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

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Short Nominees

A Love Song for Latasha (USA. Director and Producer: Sophia Nahli Allison. Producers: Janice Duncan and Fam Udeorji)

After Maria (USA / Netflix. Director: Nadia Hallgren. Producer: Lauren Cioffi)

America (USA / Aubin Pictures. Director: Garrett Bradley. Producers: Lauren Domino and Catherine Gund)

Black to Techno (USA / Frieze. Director: Jenn Nkiru. Producer: Jacqueline Edenbrow)

Easter Snap (USA. Director and Producer: RaMell Ross. Producers: Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)

In the Absence (Korea, USA / Field of Vision. Director: Yi Seung-Jun. Producer: Gary Byung-Seok Kam)

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)

Sam and the Plant Next Door (UK / The Guardian. Director and Producer: Omer Sami)

The Nightcrawlers (Philippines, USA / National Geographic. Director: Alexander Mora. Producers: Joanna Natasegara, Doireann Maddock and Abigail Anketell-Jones)

Valley of the Rulers (Israel, Serbia. Director: Efim Graboy. Producer: Dejan Petrovic)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Curated Series Nominees

American Experience (USA / PBS. Executive Producer: Mark Samels)

BBC Storyville (China, Hungary, UK / BBC. Executive Producer: Mandy Chang)

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

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

AJE Witness (Qatar / AJE English. Executive Producer: Fiona Lawson-Baker)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Episodic Series Nominees

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

Finding Justice (USA / BET. Executive Producers: Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, David Leepson, Brian Gewirtz, dream hampton, Jackson Nguyen, Aaron Rice, Todd Crites, Hiram Garcia, Aaron Bowden and Stephanie Lydecker)

Kids Behind Bars: Life Or Parole (USA / A&E. Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Aaron Saidman, Peter LoGreco, Joshua Rofe, Devon Hammonds, Evan Lerner, Amy Savitsky and Elaine Frontain Bryant)

Living Undocumented (USA / Netflix. Directors and Executive Producers: Anna Chai and Aaron Saidman. Executive Producers: Eli Holzman, Sean O’Grady, Selena Gomez and Mandy Teefey)

Our Planet (UK, USA / Netflix. Directors: Adam Chapman, Mandi Stark, Jeff Wilson, Sophie Lanfear, Hugh Pearson and Huw Cordey. Executive Producers: Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey)

Chasing the Moon (USA / PBS. Director and Producer: Robert Stone. Executive Producer: Mark Samels. Producers: Susan Bellows, Daniel Aegerter, Keith Haviland and Ray Rothrock)

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

Surviving R. Kelly (USA / Lifetime. Executive Producers: Joel Karsberg, Dream Hampton, Tamra Simmons, Jesse Daniels and Brie Miranda Bryant)

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men ;(USA / Showtime. Executive Producers: Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender, Sacha Jenkins and Vinnie Malhotra)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Short Form Series Nominees

A Cure for Fear (USA / Topic.com. Director and Producer: Lana Wilson. Producer: Shrihari Sathe. Executive Producers: Anna Holmes, Jeff Seelbach and Diane L. Max) ;

Guardian Documentaries (UK / The Guardian. Executive Producer: Charlie Phillips, Lindsay Poulton and Jacqueline Edenbrow)

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

The F Word (USA / Participant Media, SoulPancake. Director and Producer: Nicole Opper. Producer: Kristan Cassady)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Audio Documentary Nominees

Gladiator: The Aaron Hernandez Story (USA / The Boston Globe, Wondery. Reporters: Bob Hohler, Beth Healy, Sacha Pfieffer and Andrew Ryan. Producer: Amy Pedulla. Executive Producers: Hernan Lopez, Marshall Lewy and George Lavender)

Headlong: Running from COPS (USA / Stitcher Premium, Topic Studios. Host and Producer: Dan Taberski. Producers: Henry Molofsky, Courtney Harrell and Diane Hodson. Executive Producers: Max Linsky, Jenna Weiss-Berman, Lisa Leingang and Leital Molad)

Heavyweight — Episode: “Skye” (USA / Gimlet Media. Reporter and Executive Producer: Jonathan Goldstein. Producers: Kalila Holt, Stevie Lane, Peter Bresnan and Jorge Just)

Latino USA — Episode: “The Return” (USA / National Public Radio. Producer: Sayre Quevedo. Executive Producer: Maria Hinojosa)

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

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Music Documentary Nominees

Amazing Grace (USA / NEON. Producers: Alan Elliot, Tirrell D. Whittley, Sabrina V. Owens, Joe Boyd, Rob Johnson, Chiemi Karasawa, Spike Lee, Angie Seegers, Joseph Woolf)

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

The Apollo (USA / HBO. Director and Producer: Roger Ross Williams. Producers: Lisa Cortés, Jeanne Elfant Festa and Cassidy Hartmann)

The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash (USA / YouTube. Director: Thom Zimny. Producers: Thom Zimny, Glen Zipper, Sean Stuart and Jillian Apfelbaum)

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (USA / Showtime. Director: Sacha Jenkins. Executive Producers: Peter J. Scalettar, Peter Bittenbender, Sacha Jenkins and Vinnie Malhotra. Producers: Cary Graber, Vanessa Maruskin, Ghostface Killah, Robert F. Diggs, GZA, Lamont “UGod” Hawkins, Darryl Hill Sr., Jason Hunter, Icelene Jones, Method Man, E. Turner and Raekwon The Chef)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award Nominees

All That Remains (USA / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: Eva Rendle)

Beyond the North Winds: A Post Nuclear Reverie (UK, Colombia / National Film & Television School (UK). Director and Producer: Natalie Cubides-Brady)

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

Follow the Sun (USA / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Director and Producer: JoeBill Muñoz)

In the Wake (India, USA / Northwestern University. Director and Producer: Natasha Nair)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Cinematography Nominees

Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Cinematographers: Ernesto Pardo and François Messier-Rheault)

Gods of Molenbeek (Belgium, Finland, Germany / CAT&Docs. Cinematographer: Hannu Vitikainen)

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

Midnight Family (Mexico / 1091. Cinematographer: Luke Lorentzen)

When Lambs Become Lions (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Cinematographer: Jon Kasbe)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Editing Nominees

American Factory (USA / Netflix. Editor: Lindsay Utz)

Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Editor: Todd Douglas Miller)

Diego Maradona (UK / HBO. Editor: Chris King)

Human Nature (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Editor: Regina Sobel)

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

When Lambs Become Lions (USA / Oscilloscope Laboratories. Editors: Jon Kasbe, Caitlyn Greene and Frederick Shanahan)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Music Score Nominees

Apollo 11 (USA / NEON, CNN Films. Composer: Matt Morton)

Human Nature (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Composer: Keegan Dewitt)

Sea of Shadows (USA, Austria / National Geographic. Composer: H. Scott Salinas)

The Biggest Little Farm (USA / NEON, LD Entertainment. Composer: Jeff Beal)

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

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Best Writing Nominees

Always in Season (USA / ITVS. Writers: Jackie Olive and Don Bernier)

Dark Suns (Canada / Dogwoof. Writer: Julien Elie)

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

The Edge of Democracy (Brazil, USA / Netflix. Writer: Petra Costa)

The Great Hack (USA / Netflix. Writers: Pedro Kos, Erin Barnett and Karim Amer)

2019 IDA Documentary Awards Pare Lorentz Award Winner

WINNER: Honeyland (Macedonia / NEON. Director: Tamara Kotevsk2a. Director and Producer: Ljubomir Stefanov. Producer: Atanas Georgiev)

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

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

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