Mon. Sep 21st, 2020

‘American Factory,’ ‘Apollo 11’ top Cinema Eye Honors 2020 nominations

Nominees for Outstanding Feature Film | American Factory, Apollo 11, For Sama, Honeyland, Midnight Family and One Child Nation

  • American Factory and Apollo 11 lead all films with 5 nominations
  • Aquarela, The Cave, For Sama, Beyoncé’s Homecoming, Honeyland and Midnight Family each receive 3 nominations
  • Netflix leads all distributors/studios with 17 nominations, Neon scores 10, HBO has 9 and National Geographic receives 8
  • Audience Choice nominees include 17 Blocks, The Amazing Johnathan Documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, The Biggest Little Farm, Knock Down the House and Maiden
  • The 2020 Cinema Eye Honors Awards Ceremony will take place Monday, January 6, at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York

Cinema Eye, which recognizes outstanding artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking, today announced its full slate of nominees for their 2020 Honors, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature and Outstanding Nonfiction Short.  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 all films with 5 nominations 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 FactoryHoneyland 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:

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. This is the 10th year in a row that Cinema Eye and the Museum of the Moving Image have partnered for the awards presentation. The Museum will also be hosting screenings throughout the weekend of Cinema Eye nominated films, including a special screening of the 2020 Legacy Award Film, Koyaanisqatsi, followed by a conversation with filmmaker Godfrey Reggio, on Saturday, January 4.  

Netflix led all distributors/broadcasters with a total of 17 nominations, the most in Cinema Eye history, led by the five nominations for American Factory and three for Beyonce’s Homecoming. Apollo 11, Honeyland and The Biggest Little Farmcombined to give Neon 10 nominations, while HBO scored 9 nominations for 8 of its films and series – the most number of films/series for any single network/streamer – led by two nominations for its Michael Jackson investigation, Leaving Neverland

Nominees for this year’s Broadcast Film and Series Award as well as the Heterodox Award (recognizing work that blurs the line between fiction and nonfiction) and the year’s Unforgettables (noteworthy documentary subjects) were announced two weeks ago at a lunch event in Los Angeles. 

Major Sponsors for the 2020 Cinema Eye Honors are National Geographic Documentary Film and Netflix. The Museum of the Moving Image is the Venue Partner. Contributing Sponsors are 30 for 30, Hulu and Showtime Documentary Films. Industry Sponsors include American Cinema Editors, Spacestation, Vidiots and XTR. 

A full list of nominees and further details about Cinema Eye and this year’s Honors Awards Ceremony and Celebratory Weekend follows.

2020 Cinema Eye Honors Nominations

Outstanding Nonfiction Feature

American Factory
Directed and Produced by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Produced by Jeff Reichert and Julie Parker Benello
Apollo 11
Directed and Produced by Todd Douglas Miller
Produced by Thomas Petersen and Evan Krauss
For Sama
Directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Produced by Waad al-Kateab
Directed by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska
Produced by Atanas Georgiev and Ljubomir Stefanov
Midnight Family
Directed and Produced by Luke Lorentzen
Produced by Kellen Quinn
One Child Nation
Directed and Produced by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang
Produced by Christoph Jörg, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements and Carolyn Hepburn

Outstanding Direction

American Factory
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
The Cave
Feras Fayyad
Cold Case Hammarskjöld
Mads Brügger
Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska
The Hottest August
Brett Story
One Child Nation
Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang

Outstanding Editing

17 Blocks
Jennifer Tiexiera
American Factory
Lindsay Utz
Apollo 11
Todd Douglas Miller
Letter to the Editor
Alan Berliner
Mike Wallace is Here
Billy McMillin

Outstanding Production

Aimara Reques, Sigrid Dyekjær and Heino Deckert
Apollo 11
Todd Douglas Miller, Thomas Petersen and Evan Krauss
The Cave
Kirstine Barfod and Sigrid Dyekjær
For Sama
Waad Al-Kateab
Midnight Family
Luke Lorentzen and Kellen Quinn
Midnight Traveler
Emelie Mahdavian and Su Kim

Outstanding Cinematography

Victor Kossokovsky
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Nicholas De Pencier
Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma
Midnight Family
Luke Lorentzen
What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire?
Diego Romero

Outstanding Original Score

American Factory
Chad Cannon
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Rose Bolton and Norah Lorway
Apollo 11
Matt Morton
Eicca Toppinen
Black Mother
4th Disciple
Symphony of the Ursus Factory
Dominik Strycharski

Outstanding Graphic Design or Animation

The Great Hack
Ash Thorp, Matthew Hornick and Patrick Cederberg
The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley
Hazel Baird
Moonlight Sonata: Deafness in Three Movements
Brian Kinkley and Ben Luce
Our Time Machine
Ryan Wehner

Outstanding Debut

The Disappearance of My Mother
Directed by Beniamino Barrese
Directed by Liza Mandelup
Scheme Birds
Directed by Ellen Fiske and Ellinor Hallin
Searching Eva
Directed by Pia Hellenthal
Swarm Season
Directed by Sarah Christman
Symphony of the Ursus Factory
Directed by Jasmina Wójcik

Outstanding Nonfiction Short

Directed by Isa Roa
Fast Horse
Directed by Alex Lazarowich
Ghosts of Sugar Land
Directed by Bassam Tariq
Lowland Kids
Directed by Sandra Winther
Stay Close
Directed by Luther Clement and Shuhan Fan
Subject to Review
Directed by Theo Anthony

Audience Choice Prize

17 Blocks
Directed by Davy Rothbart
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary
Directed by Ben Berman
American Factory
Directed by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert
Apollo 11
Directed by Todd Douglas Miller
Ask Dr. Ruth
Directed by Ryan White
The Biggest LIttle Farm
Directed by John Chester
The Cave
Directed by Feras Fayyad
For Sama
Directed by Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts
Knock Down the House
Directed by Rachel Lears
Directed by Alex Holmes


Always in Season
Directed by Jacqueline Olive
Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World
Directed by Hans Pool
Dark Suns
Directed by Julien Elie
Directed by Shengze Zhu
The Raft
Directed by Marcus Lindeen

The following awards and nominations were previously announced on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the Cinema Eye Fall Lunch in Los Angeles.

The Unforgettables (Non-Competitive Honor)

Lea Tsemel
The Amazing Johnathan Documentary
The Amazing Johnathan
Ask Dr. Ruth
Dr. Ruth Westheimer
The Cave
Dr. Amani Ballour
The Disappearance of My Mother
Benedetta Barzini
For Sama
Waad and Hamza al-Kataeb
Hail Satan?
Lucien Greaves
Hatidze Muratova
Knock Down the House
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Tracy Edwards
Midnight Family
Juan Ochoa
Midnight Traveler
Fatima Hussaini and Hassan Fazili
What You Gonna Do When the World’s On Fire?
Judy Hill
XY Chelsea
Chelsea Manning

2020 Shorts List Films

All on a Mardi Gras Day
Directed by Michal Pietrzyk
In the Absence
Directed by Seung Jun-Yi
Life Overtakes Me
Directed by John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
St. Louis Superman
Directed by Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan

Outstanding Broadcast Film

Apollo: Missions to the Moon
Directed by Tom Jennings | National Geographic
At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal
Directed by Erin Lee Carr | HBO
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists
Directed by John Block, Jonathan Alter and Steve McCarthy | HBO
Directed by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter | Netflix
Leaving Neverland
Directed by Dan Reed | HBO
The Sentence
Directed by Rudy Valdez | HBO

Outstanding Broadcast Series

The Case Against Adnan Syed
Directed by Amy Berg | HBO
The Family
Directed by Jesse Moss | Netflix
Jonestown: Terror in the Jungle
Directed by Shan Nicholson and Richard Lopez | SundanceTV
Last Chance U: Season 4
Directed by Greg Whiteley | Netflix
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Directed by Caroline Suh | Netflix
Tricky Dick
Directed by Mary Robertson | CNN

Outstanding Broadcast Editing

Apollo: Mission to the Moon
David Tillman | National Geographic
Alexander Hammer, Andrew Morrow, Nia Imani and Julian Klincewicz | Netflix
Leaving Neverland
Jules Cornell | HBO
Tricky Dick
Benji Kast, David Mehlman, Diana DiCilio and Seth Skundrick | CNN

Outstanding Broadcast Cinematography

Mark Ritchie, Julian Klincewicz, Dikayl Rimmasch and Irie Calkins | Netflix
Into the Okavango
Neil Gelinas | National Geographic
Salt Fat Acid Heat
Luke McCoubrey | Netflix
Matt Porwoll and Ross Kauffman| Discovery


Directed by Mati Diop
Honey Boy
Directed by Alma Har’el
The Infiltrators
Directed by Alex Rivera and Cristina Ibarra
The Souvenir
Directed by Joanna Hogg
Vitalina Varela
Directed by Pedro Costa

Legacy Award

Directed and Produced by Godfrey Reggio
Cinematography Ron Fricke
Editing Ron Fricke and Alton Walpole
Original Score Philip Glass

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