Skip to main content

October 24, 2018

IDA Announces 2018 Documentary Awards Feature, Short, and Series Nominees and Creative Recognition Awards

Los Angeles, CA (October 24, 2018) - The International Documentary Association (IDA) has unveiled the nominees for the 2018 IDA Documentary Awards. The annual event is the world's most prestigious event dedicated to the documentary genre. Winners of the 34th edition will be announced at the ceremony on Saturday, December 8, 2018 at Paramount Studios, Los Angeles. Get tickets at:

Hosting the show this year is Ricki Lake. Lake, along with Abby Esptein, recently directed the documentary Weed the People—theatrically released by Mangurama—which explores the medical use of cannabis in the treatment of children with cancer.

The nominees for Best Feature include Crime + Punishment, Stephen Maing’s explosive look behind the scenes of the NYPD12 lawsuit, Dark Money, Kimberly Reed’s post-Citizens United political thriller, E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s heart-stopping Free Solo which follows the first free solo climb of El Capitan's 3,000-foot vertical rock face, Hale County This Morning, This Evening, RaMell Ross’s quietly radical portrait of black lives, Minding The Gap, Bing Liu’s poignant coming-of-age portrait, Of Fathers and Sons, Talal Derki’s audacious infiltration of a Jihadi household in Syria, Sky & Ground, Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett‘s immersion into the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, The Silence of Others, Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar’s revelatory portrait of survivors of Spain's 40-year dictatorship, United Skates, Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown’s riveting story of America's last standing roller rinks, and Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Morgan Neville’s exploration of the life and legacy of the beloved Fred Rogers. Notably, 90% of the features nominees have women as producers while half were directed by women.

“This year’s nominees and winners of the IDA Awards reflects that 2018 has been a remarkable year for brave and bold storytelling,” said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of IDA. “To more fully recognize that, we have expanded the number of nominees in the Best Feature and Best Short categories to ten films. Documentary storytelling is a vital way to explore and make sense of our world, and these nominees illustrate how vibrant and essential films are to a healthy democracy.”

The nominees for Best Short include Ed Perkins’s Black Sheep, David Darg’s Fear Us Women, Skye Fitzgerald’s Lifeboat, Joshua Bennett and Juliana Schatz-Preston’s Los Comandos, Olivier Sarbil’s Mosul, Galen Summer’s Sidelined, Vanessa Roth’s The Girl and the Picture, Sareen Hairabedian’s We Are Not Done Yet, Luisa Conlon’s We Became Fragments, and Floyd Russ’s Zion.

At the heart of the event is the IDA's commitment to documentary film and its unique power to drive us toward a more complex, human understanding of ourselves and each other. The IDA, whose mission is to build and serve the needs of a thriving documentary culture, provides year-round support, education, and advocacy for documentary makers. IDA also provides $1.2 million annually in grants to support documentary filmmakers.

IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award—which is given from time to time to a filmmaker who demonstrates extraordinary courage in pursuit of the truth—will be presented to director Stephen Maing and all the NYPD12 whistleblowers of Crime + Punishment. Amidst a landmark lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, Crime + Punishment intimately observes the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest and summons in New York City. Over five years of rare access, the film cinematically documents our nation’s largest policing institution from the inside through the efforts of a brave group of officers who decide to sue the department and became known as the NYPD12.

"In documentary film we rely on people to share their stories — often putting themselves, family and colleagues in significant jeopardy. And we rely on filmmakers who are willing to risk the pressure from systemic powers to tell those stories and shine a light on corruption. Crime + Punishment is a film that, through the bravery of its subjects and the risk-taking of its filmmakers, exposes a deeply entrenched system of corruption that harms young men of color in particular," said Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director of IDA.

The Amicus Award will be presented to Chicken & Egg Pictures, which was founded in 2005 by Julie Parker-Benello, Judith Helfand, and Wendy Ettinger, and led by Executive Director Jenni Wolfson since 2013. Chicken & Egg Pictures has awarded $6.3 million in grants and thousands of hours of creative mentorship to 300 filmmakers. Filmmakers who have been supported by Chicken & Egg include Dawn Porter, Grace Lee, Natalia Almada, and Laura Nix.

"This award means so much to us coming from the International Documentary Association, which plays such a vital role in the non-fiction industry. Chicken & Egg Pictures is committed not only to providing funding, but creative support and community for emerging voices from around the world. In an environment where the need to amplify women's voices is receiving much needed attention, this award will serve to further elevate the importance and impact of their stories,” said Jenni Wolfson, Executive Director of Chicken & Egg Pictures.

Julia Reichert, a 3-time Academy Award nominee and co-founder of New Day Films, will be presented with the Career Achievement Award. Across a career spanning nearly five decades, Reichart’s films have given voice to women and working people, infusing their stories with urgency and dignity. Reichert is a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Television Academy.

Bing Liu will be presented with the Emerging Filmmaker Award this year. Liu is a Chicago-based director and cinematographer who Variety Magazine listed as one of 10 documentary filmmakers to watch. His 2018 critically acclaimed documentary Minding the Gap has earned over 28 award recognitions since its world premiere at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, where it took home the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. Liu, along with co-editor Joshua Altman, will also receive the Best Editing Award for Minding The Gap.

IDA Members can vote for Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short starting November 4, 2018 until December 3, 2018. For more on how to become a member, visit:

The 2018 IDA Documentary Awards are sponsored by: NETFLIX, National Geographic Documentary Films, Showtime Documentary Films, A&E IndieFilms, Participant Media, RYOT, PBS and Archibald Family Charitable Foundation. The Official Media Sponsor of the Awards is The Hollywood Reporter.

The full list of nominees is below.

Features Nominees

  • Crime + Punishment (Hulu. Director/Producer: Stephen Maing. Producers: Ross Tuttle and Eric Daniel Metzgar)

  • Dark Money (PBS Distribution. Director/Producer: Kimberly Reed. Producer: Katy Chevigny)

  • Free Solo (National Geographic. Directors/Producers: E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. Producers: Evan Hayes and Shannon Dill)

  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild. Director/Producer: RaMell Ross. Producers: Joslyn Barnes and Su Kim)

  • Minding the Gap (Hulu/POV. Director/Producer: Bing Liu. Producer: Diane Quon)

  • Of Fathers and Sons (Kino Lorber. Director: Talal Derki. Producers: Ansgar Frerich, Eva Kemme, Tobias Siebert and Hans Robert Eisenhauer)

  • Sky and Ground (World Channel (PBS). Directors/Producers: Talya Tibbon and Joshua Bennett. Producers: Maro Chermayeff and Jeff Dupre)

  • The Silence of Others (Cinephil/POV. Directors/Producers: Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar)

  • United Skates (HBO. Directors/Producers: Dyana Winkler and Tina Brown)

  • Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Focus Features. Director/Producer: Morgan Neville. Producers: Caryn Capotosto and Nicholas Ma)

Shorts Nominees

  • Black Sheep (The Guardian. Director: Ed Perkins. Producers: Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn)

  • Fear Us Women (RYOT. Director: David Darg. Producer: Diego Traverso)

  • Lifeboat (Director/Producer: Skye Fitzgerald. Producer: Bryn Mooser)

  • Los Comandos (World Channel. Directors/Producers: Joshua Bennett and Juliana Schatz-Preston. Producers: Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff and Jessica Chermayeff)

  • Mosul (PBS Distribution. Director: Olivier Sarbil. Co-Director/Producer: James Jones. Producers: Dan Edge and Raney Aronson-Rath)

  • Sidelined (A&E IndieFilms. Director: Galen Summer. Producer: Jason Goldman.)

  • The Girl and the Picture (USC Shoah Foundation. Director/Producer: Vanessa Roth. Producers: Devorah Palladino and Stephen D. Smith)

  • We Are Not Done Yet (HBO. Director: Sareen Hairabedian. Producer: Jeffrey Wright and David Holbrooke)

  • We Became Fragments (The New York Times Op-Docs. Director/Producer: Luisa Conlon. Directors: Lacy Jane Roberts and Hanna Miller)

  • Zion (Netflix. Director/Producer: Floyd Russ. Producer: Carter Collins)

Curated Series Nominees

  • American Masters (PBS. Executive Producer: Michael Kantor)

  • Doc World (WORLD Channel. Executive Producer: Christopher Hastings)

  • Independent Lens (ITVS & Independent Lens / PBS. Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer and Lois Vossen)

  • POV (POV/American Documentary. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)

  • Why Slavery? (The Why Foundation. Executive Producers: Mette Hoffmann Meyer and Nick Fraser)

Episodic Series Nominees

  • Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN. Executive Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Christopher Collins, Lydia Tenaglia, Sandra Zweig, Jared Andrukanis, Amy Entelis and Lizzie Fox)

  • Christiane Amanpour: Sex & Love Around the World (CNN. Executive Producers: Anthony Bourdain, Lydia Tenaglia, Christopher Collins, Joe Caterini, Anna Chai, Amy Entelis and Lizzie Fox)

  • ESPN Films: Enhanced (ESPN. Executive Producers: Gentry Kirby, Alex Gibney, Brad Hebert, Stacey Offman, Libby Geist and Connor Schell)

  • Last Chance U (Netflix. Executive Producers: Greg Whiteley, Joe LaBracio, Dawn Ostroff, James D. Stern and Lucas Smith)

  • The Confession Tapes (Netflix. Executive Producers: Philip David Segal, Sarah Whalen, Jeff Bumgarner, Steven Robillard, Kelly Loudenberg, James Graves and Devin Griffin)

  • The Trade (Showtime. Executive Producers: Matthew Heineman and Pagan Harleman)

Limited Series Nominees

  • Best Shot (YouTube. Director/Executive Producer: Michael John Warren. Executive Producers: LeBron James, Maverick Carter, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard and Jordan Wynn)

  • Bobby Kennedy for President (Netflix. Director/Executive Producer: Dawn Porter. Executive Producers: Laura Michalchyshyn, Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes, Dave Sirulnick, Nestan Berhrans and Gunnar Dedio)

  • Flint Town (Netflix. Directors/Executive Producers: Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper and Jessica Dimmock. Executive Producers: David Pritikin, Steve Golin and P.G. Morgan)

  • November 13: Attack on Paris (Netflix. Directors/Executive Producers: Jules Naudet and Gédéon Naudet. Executive Producer: Paul Barrois)

  • Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story (Paramount Network. Directors/Executive Producers: Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason. Executive Producers: Mike Gasparro, Shawn Carter, David Glasser, Chachi Senior, Nick Sandow, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton)

  • Wild Wild Country (Netflix. Directors: Chapman Way and Maclain Way. Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Josh Braun and Dan Braun)

Short Form Series Nominees

  • Guardian Documentaries (The Guardian. Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips and Lindsay Poulton)

  • Life Underground (Doc & Film international. Executive Producer: Laurence Milon)

  • MEL Films (Executive Producer: David Freid)

  • The New York Times Op-Docs (The New York Times. Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo)

  • VICE News on HBO (HBO. Executive Producers: Shane Smith, Tim Clancy and Subrata De)

Music Documentary Nominees

  • A Modern Man (Rise and Shine World Sales. Director: Eva Mulvad. Producers: Sigrid Dyekjær and Sidsel Lønvig Siersted)

  • Bathtubs Over Broadway (Director/Producer: Dava Whisenant. Producers: Amanda Spain and Susan Littenberg)

  • MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. (Abramorama. Director/Producer: Steve Loveridge. Producers: Lori Cheatle, Paul Mezey and Andrew Goldman)

  • Mr. SOUL! (Director/Producer: Melissa Haizlip. Co-Director: Samuel D. Pollard)

  • Whitney (Roadside Attractions. Director: Kevin Macdonald. Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Lisa Erspamer)

Creative Recognition Awards

Best Cinematography

Winner: Distant Constellation (Cinematographer: Shevaun Mizrahi)

  • Crime + Punishment (Cinematographer: Stephen Maing)

  • Free Solo (Cinematographers: Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer)

  • Taste of Cement (Cinematographer: Talal Khoury)

  • The Distant Barking of Dogs (Cinematographer: Simon Lereng Wilmont)

Best Editing

Winner: Minding the Gap (Editors: Bing Liu and Joshua Altman)

  • Distant Constellation (Editors: Shevaun Mizrahi and Shelly Grizim)

  • Lots of Kids, a Monkey and a Castle (Editors: Raúl de Torres and Daniel Urdiales)

  • Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Editor: RaMell Ross)

  • The Stranger (Editor: Rasmus Stensgaard Madsen)

Best Writing

Winner: The Other Side of Everything (Writer: Mila Turajlic)

  • Did You Wonder Who Fired The Gun? (Writer: Travis Wilkerson)

  • Of Fathers and Sons (Writer: Talal Derki)

  • People's Republic of Desire (Writer: Hao Wu)

  • Wild Relatives (Writer: Jumana Manna)

Best Music Score

Winners: Bisbee '17 (Composer: Keegan DeWitt) and Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Composers: Scott Alario, Forest Kelley and Alex Somers)

  • Bathtubs Over Broadway (Composer: Anthony DiLorenzo)

  • The Distant Barking of Dogs (Composers: Uno Helmersson and Erik Enocksson)

  • MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. (Composers: Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks)

Sponsored Special Awards

ABCNews VideoSource Award Nominees

  • Jane Fonda in Five Acts (HBO. Director/Producer: Susan Lacy. Producer: Emma Pildes and Jessica Levin)

  • John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls (HBO. Directors/Producers: Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt and Teddy Kunhardt)

  • Love Means Zero (Showtime. Director/Producer: Jason Kohn. Producers: Amanda Branson Gill, Anne White, Jill Mazursky and David Styne)

  • Mercury 13 (Netflix. Directors/Producers: David Sington and Heather Walsh)

  • Studio 54 (Zeitgeist Films. Director: Matt Tyrnauer. Producer: Corey Reeser, Matt Tyrnauer and John Battsek)

Pare Lorentz Award

Winner: The Silence of Others (Cinephil/POV. Directors/Producers: Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar)

Honorable Mention: The Distant Barking of Dogs (Cinephil. Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont. Producer: Monica Hellstrøm)

David L. Wolper Student Award Nominees

  • Abrázame (National Film and Television School. Director: Jas Doyle Pitt)

  • Circle (National Film and Television School. Director: Jayisha Patel)

  • Forced (UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Directors: Grace Oyenubi and Nani Walker)

  • Palenque (Northwestern University School of Communication. Director: Sebastián Pinzón Silva)

  • Walker's (University of North Carolina Wilmington Department of Film Studies. Director: Kyle Myers-Haugh)