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2012 IDA Documentary Awards: Creative Recognition Awards

By IDA Editorial Staff

The Creative Recognition Awards honor creative achievement in documentary filmmaking. Recognizing contributions in cinematography, editing, use of music and writing in documentary feature films, these awards underscore the collaborative effort of powerful nonfiction storytelling.

Creative Recognition Award for Cinematography

Women with Cows
Director/Cinematographer: Peter Gerdehag

Seventy-nine-year-old Britt Georgsson has devoted her entire life to cows. She's been tending them since the age of four and, despite health problems, has no intention of abandoning her strenuous work caring for her 12 pets on the rundown family farm. She often dreams about her cows and does the mucking out, even though a debilitating back injury means she has to walk with a pronounced stoop. Her sister Ingrid, one year her junior, lives in a nearby village; she can't stand the cows, but nonetheless helps Britt look after the bovine family inheritance.

Women with Cows observes both sisters over a period of time—not only during their frequent spats, but also in moments of mutual accord, when the strength of sisterly bonds triumphs over minor squabbles.

PETER GERDEHAG has spent over three decades documenting the Småland countryside in Sweden-both as photographer and filmmaker-and his eye has clearly become keener by the year. He lovingly portrays the elemental beauty of the local landscape in all its splendor, in all seasons, while presenting an impressively raw account of the difficulties faced by the sisters in Women with Cows. His unflinching, unsparing approach is Bressonian in its elegance, honesty, austerity and rigor.


Creative Recognition Award for Editing

Room 237
Director/Editor: Rodney Ascher

Room 237 is a subjective documentary feature that explores numerous theories about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and its hidden meanings. This guided tour through the most compelling attempts to decode this endlessly fascinating film will draw the audience into a new maze, one with endless detours and dead ends, many ways in, but no way out. Discover why many have been trapped in the Overlook for 30 years.

RODNEY ASCHER directed the 2010 short film The S From Hell, which, like Room 237, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and travelled around the world (and the Internet) soon after. Room 237 expands upon The S From Hell's style and substance; audio interviews are illuminated with a kaleidoscope of imagery (much of it influenced by horror films of the last 100 years) that brings the audience deep into the inner worlds of people who have been profoundly affected by the movies or TV. Ascher is known for genre-blurring work, which includes countless short films, as well as commercial projects for such clients as EA Games, Capitol Records and VH1, and experimental work that has screened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the George Eastman House, as well as under the Brooklyn Bridge. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.


Creative Recognition Award for Best Use of Music

Searching for Sugar Man

Director/Producer/Writer/Composer: Malik Bendjelloul
Original Songs: Sixto Rodriguez

In the late 1960s, two celebrated producers discovered a musician in a Detroit bar, and were struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics. The producers recorded an album that they believed was going to secure his reputation as one of the greatest recording artists of his generation. In fact, the album bombed, and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into Apartheid-era South Africa and, over the next two decades, it became a phenomenon. Two South African fans then set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation led them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez. Searching for Sugar Man is a film about hope, inspiration and the resonating power of music.

MALIK BENDJELLOUL has been directing documentaries for 12 years, primarily based on musicians. In 2001, Bendjelloul directed the first-ever documentary about German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk. He has also made a documentary series about the history of heavy metal, as well as feature documentaries in collaboration with such iconic artists as Björk, Sting, Elton John, Rod Stewart, Madonna, Mariah Carey, U2 and Kylie Minogue.

Bendjelloul has also directed and produced for Swedish Television's international cultural weekly show Kobra, where he made short documentaries covering a wide range of stories. Bendjelloul has also designed and directed title sequences for several high-profile Swedish TV shows and has directed music videos and commercials.


Creative Recognition Award for Writing

Ann Richards' Texas
Directors: Keith Patterson, Jack Lofton
Writer: Keith Patterson

Ann Richards' Texas is a timely documentary about the life and lessons of the late, great governor of Texas, Ann Richards. A feisty, straight-talking West Texas girl, Richards was a hippie housewife who traded late nights with Willie Nelson and the progressive Austin music scene for a beehive hair-do, the Governor's Mansion and battles with special interest groups.

As an amazing, inspirational public servant, Richards fought for the people first. Heavily favored in her 1994 re-election campaign, she was defeated by the young, political no-names, George W. Bush and Karl Rove, as the Republicans' "Contract with America" swept the country. No one thought that Richards could be beat due to her high approval rating, but Rove knew that the tides in Texas, and ultimately the nation, could be swayed.

A native New Yorker, KEITH PATTERSON produced, directed and wrote the critically acclaimed and award-winning documentary Ann Richards' Texas. The film won the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay of a Documentary at AFI Silverdocs and an Epic Award from The White House Project, which encourages future women leaders. Patterson sold the film to HBO, where it will premiere late next year. He had ghost-written for A-list stand-up comics, and his Internet comedy shorts have appeared on ABC News, The Huffington Post and The Today Show. Patterson currently heads Filmbank Entertainment, a New York-based film funding and production company. Many thanks to the IDA team for this award.