I'm pleased to join my colleagues in announcing a new award for nonfiction filmmaking. indieWIRE has the story:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' recent announcement of the short list of films competing for the best documentary Oscar stirred frustration among a community of filmmakers and insiders back in November. Fueled by online discussion via blogs, a coalition within the nonfiction and film festval community is launching a new outlet to celebrate the best documentary films of the year. Seeking to challenge the results of other institutions, filmmaker AJ Schnack, a vocal critic of the Oscar list, has enlisted the support of online independent film distributor IndiePix and the opinions of a host of North American film festival programmers to launch a new nonfiction filmmaking awards event, set for March 18, 2008 at IFC Center in New York City.
"In November, when the Oscar short list came out, it seemed to so many people that it was not reflective of the year we all experienced in documentary," Schnack, whose "Kurt Cobain About A Son" was released last year, explained during a conversation with indieWIRE on Friday. Schnack secured the support of IndiePix and enlisted Toronto International Film Festival doc programmer Thom Powers to co-chair the new awards event.
Noting that other organizations seem to emphasize content and issue-driven work rather than focus on the art of nonfiction film, AJ Schnack explained that the new documentary awards were designed as, "a way to focus on some of the craft elements in non-fiction filmmaking."
"You can only bitch about documentaries not getting their due for so long before you have to do something," event co-chair Thom Powers told indieWIRE today. "The various pre-existing awards each have their strengths, but none seem to be reflecting the depth and range of talent that I witnessed in 2007. That feeling was shared by many doc makers I talked to. I think this honor is a nice complement to the others."
From the press release:
A new nonfiction filmmaking award, recognizing the wide breadth of the genre and also specific crafts such as cinematography and editing, is being created from within the documentary community. The inaugural event, honoring films from 2007, will be held on March 18, 2008 at the IFC Center in New York City. The awards are to be co-chaired by filmmaker AJ Schnack (director of “Kurt Cobain About a Son”) and Thom Powers, Documentary Programmer of the Toronto International Film Festival.
IndiePix, the internet based distributor of independent film, has joined Mr. Schnack and Mr. Powers in this effort and will be the presenting partner and sponsor for the innaugural awards, it was announced today by Bob Alexander, President of IndiePix.
Nominees in 8 categories will be announced on January 20, 2008 at an event for press and the documentary community in Park City, UT (coinciding with the Sundance Film Festival). On that date further details will be revealed about the award, including its official name.
You can read the entire press release and get more information here.