“The Look of Silence” the big winner of International Documentary Association Awards
Art and Experience: A handful of the 15 films that made the Academy’s best documentary feature Oscar shortlist on Dec. 1 were among the big winners at Saturday night’s 31st IDA Documentary Awards, presented by International Documentary Association on the Paramount lot.
Best feature went to The Look of Silence, the second part of Josh Oppenheimer’s diptych about the Indonesian genocide, coming two years after the first film, The Act of Killing, was nominated for but lost both the IDA and Academy’s top doc prizes. Listen to Me Marlon, Stevan Riley’s chronicle of the life of Marlon Brando that uses the legendary actor’s own words, won best writing. And Best of Enemies, from Oscar winner Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom) and Robert Gordon, won best music and was presented with the ABC News VideoSource Award.
Additionally, Matt Heineman was awarded the Courage Under Fire Award for his gutsy efforts to chronicle vigilantism on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border in Cartel Land. And Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix — which has two docs on the Academy’s shortlist, Liz Garbus’ What Happened, Miss Simone? andEvgeny Afineevsky’s Winter on Fire — was presented with the Pioneer Award, a sign of appreciation for the fact that the streaming service has become one of the leading distribution outlets for docs.
The question these films’ makers and distributors undoubtedly would like answered, though, is whether or not the IDA results can be interpreted as a sign of strength — or boon to their prospects — with the Academy. And the answer is … sort of.
The IDA, which was founded in 1982 and screens films and provides educational opportunities for its members throughout the year, has a membership of more than 20,000, making it the largest organization of doc filmmakers out there. A small portion of them screened hundreds of titles and determined the IDA’s nominees, and then the entire membership was invited to vote online to determine the winners.