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2012 IDA Documentary Awards: Best Short Nominees

By IDA Editorial Staff

Saving Face won the Best Short Award 2012

God Is the Bigger Elvis
Director/Producer: Rebecca Cammisa
Producer: Julie Anderson
Supervising Producer: Sara Bernstein
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
HBO Documentary Films

God Is the Bigger Elvis tells the remarkable story of Dolores Hart, a rising Hollywood star who appeared in ten films starting in 1957, acting with the likes of Elvis Presley, Montgomery Clift, Warren Beatty and Anthony Quinn, but abandoned her blossoming career—and cut off her engagement to a young architect—to become a Benedictine nun in 1963. Now Mother Prioress of the cloistered Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut, Dolores reveals details about her life, past and present, while providing viewers with never-before-seen looks at the day-to-day activities inside the enclosed Benedictine monastery. In addition to unprecedented access footage and interviews shot in the buildings and grounds of the Abbey, the documentary includes archival footage and photos from Dolores' movies, as well as intriguing backstories of some of the other nuns who joined her in taking their vows at Regina Laudis.

Kings Point
Director/Producer: Sari Gilman
Producers: Jedd Wider, Todd Wider
Co-Producer: Susannah Ludwig
Kings Point Documentary/Wider Film Projects

Kings Point tells the stories of five seniors living in a typical American retirement resort—men and women who came to Florida decades ago with their spouses by their sides and their health intact, and now find themselves grappling with love, loss and the prospect of dying alone. A bittersweet look at our national obsession with self-reliance, Kings Point explores the dynamic tension between living and aging—between our desire for independence and our need for community—and underscores our powerful ambivalence toward growing old.

Mondays at Racine
Director/Producer: Cynthia Wade
Producer: Robin Honan
Co-Producer: Vanessa Bergonzoli
Supervising Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)
Cynthia Wade Productions

Every third Monday of the month, two bold, brassy sisters open the doors of their Long Island hair salon to women diagnosed with cancer. As locks of hair fall to the floor, women gossip, giggle, weep, face their fears and discover unexpected beauty.

Open Heart
Director/Producer: Kief Davidson
Producer: Cori Shepherd Stern
Executive Producers: Geralyn Dreyfous, Rick Rosenthal, Nancy Stephens, Eric Dobkin, Barbara Dobkin, Sean Mewshaw, Desi Van Til, Damon Lindelof, Heidi Lindelof
Urban Landscapes Productions, Whitewater Films, Believe Media

Eight Rwandan children leave their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan. Their hearts ravaged by a treatable disease from childhood strep throat, the kids have only months to live. Open Heart reveals the intertwined endeavors of Dr. Emmanuel, Rwanda's lone government cardiologist, as he fights to save the lives of his young patients, and Dr. Gino, the Salam Center's fiercely opinionated head surgeon, who must also fight to save his hospital-Africa's only link to life—saving free cardiac surgery for the millions who need it.

*Saving Face (winner)
Directors/Producers: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Producers: David Coombe, Alison Greenberg, Sabiha Sumar
Co-Producers: Aaron Kopp, Fazeelat Aslam
Senior Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films, Milkhaus, LLC, and JungeFilm, LLC

Every year in Pakistan, at least 100 people are victimized by brutal acid attacks. The majority of these are women, and many more cases go unreported. With little or no access to reconstructive surgery, survivors are physically and emotionally scarred, while many reported assailants—typically a husband or someone close to the victim—are let go with minimal punishment from the state.

Saving Face tells the stories of two acid-attack survivors, their arduous attempts to bring their assailants to justice, and the charitable work of London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who strives to help these women put this horrific act behind them and move on with their lives. Saving Face also highlights the efforts of the women across Pakistani society who are making efforts to address this vexing issue and the changes that occur from their efforts.