American Factory, the latest verite documentary feature from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, and Apollo 11, Todd Douglas Miller’s recounting of the US space program through previously undiscovered archival footage, led 2020 Cinema Eye Honors nominations with 5 apiece, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature.
Those two films were joined in the Feature Film category by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watt’s Syrian drama, For Sama; Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska’s Honeyland, a portrait of a Macedonian beekeeper; Luke Lorentzen’s film about a private ambulance service in Mexico City, Midnight Family; and One Child Nation, Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s investigation of China’s one-child policy.
American Factory, Honeyland and One Child Nation also received nominations in the Outstanding Direction Category, where they were joined by Feras Fayyad for The Cave, Mads Brügger for Cold Case Hammarskjöld and Brett Story for The Hottest August.
Three of this year’s Editing nominees are returning to Cinema Eye after having been previously nominated in the category: Lindsay Utz (American Factory), who won the award in 2018 for Quest, documentary veteran Alan Berliner (Letter to the Editor), who was previously nominated for First Cousin Once Removed, and Jennifer Tiexiera (17 Blocks), who was nominated for her work on Dragonslayer. They are joined by Billy McMillin (Mike Wallace is Here) and Todd Douglas Miller (Apollo 11), who leads all individuals this year with 4 nominations.
Sigrid Dyekjær’s two nominations in the Outstanding Production category, for Aquarela and The Cave, is a first in that category. She’s a previous Cinema Eye winner, having received an award at the very first edition of Cinema Eye in 2008 for her producing work on The Monastery – Mr. Vig and the Nun. Another nominee from Cinema Eye’s inaugural year returning in 2020 is Nicholas de Pencier, who is nominated for Outstanding Cinematography for Anthropocene: The Human Touch. He was nominated in 2008 as one of the producers of Manufactured Landscapes.
Theo Anthony, who was nominated in 2018 for his debut feature Rat Film, is one of six nominees up for Outstanding Nonfiction Short Film for his ESPN 30 for 30 film Subject to Review. He’s joined in the category by Isa Roa’s Crannog, Alex Lazarowich’s Fast Horse, Bassam Tariq’s Ghosts of Sugar Land, Sandra Winther’s Lowland Kids and Shuhan Fan and Luther Clement’s Stay Close.
Other returning nominees include:
Nanfu Wang, who won Outstanding Debut for Hooligan Sparrow, is nominated for Feature and Director for One Child Nation;
Feras Fayyad, who was nominated for Last Men in Aleppo, is up for Outstanding Director for The Cave;
Victor Kossakovsky, who was up for multiple awards in 2013 for ¡Vivan las Antipodas!, is nominated in the Cinematography category for Aquarela;
Mads Brügger, previously nominated for The Red Chapel, is up for his Direction of Cold Case Hammarskjöld;
While this year’s list includes those veterans, the vast majority of this year’s honorees are nominated for the first time. Female filmmakers and craftspersons make up 40% of this year’s nominees, which is a new high, and comprise 5 of this year’s six nominees for Outstanding Debut.
Filmmaker Alex Gibney continues to make Cinema Eye history as his film The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley scores a nomination in the Graphic Design category. That marks the 7th time a film one of Gibney’s films has been recognized by Cinema Eye, which is a record. No other filmmaker has had more than 4 films nominated.
Winners will be announced at the 2020 Awards Ceremony, to be held on Monday, January 6, 2020 at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens.