Third Annual Cinema Eye Honors Award Show Adds Two New Categories
by Chris Wood
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New York City – The third annual Cinema Eye Honors award show took place at 8:00 p.m. on January 15 at the Times Center in midtown New York City to “recognize and honor exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film.” This year a total of 34 films were nominated for Cinema Eye Honors awards, including a new spotlight award and a legacy award to Ross McElwee for his 1986 film, Sherman’s March.
The Cove, a film about dolphin hunts in Japan, received a record setting seven Cinema Eye Honor nominations and won three in the categories of outstanding achievement in nonfiction filmmaking, cinematography and production. When Brook Aitken accepted the cinematography award, he noted that during filming an individual had compared his camera to a sword, with regard to it being a storytelling weapon. Aitken remarked to fellow nonfiction filmmakers that it was time to sharpen that sword because there are so many great real stories to tell. Paula DuPre Presman accepted the production award and exclaimed, “I’ve never won anything before!” She also compared the role of a producer to putting puppies in a box — one would put two in the box and three would get out.
The award show was again sponsored by independent Internet-based film distributor, IndiePix, and jointly hosted by AJ Schnack, the director of 2009’s Convention, and Esther Robinson, the director of 2007’s A Walk Into the Sea: Danny Williams and the Warhol Factory. During the event’s introduction, Robinson noted that “all the nominees are spectacular,” while Schnack joked, “I’ve seen some clips,” and humorously stated that, “some will leave here with shiny pointy things” (referring to the Cinema Eye award).
Schnack, who co-hosted 2009’s Cinema Eye Honors award show, continued to provide comic relief during the program and may well have made award show history as the first host to involve an audience in an entertaining game of Mad Libs, which took place about halfway into the event.
A new spotlight award was added to this year’s Cinema Eye Honors award show, “designed to honor films that have not yet received the recognition they deserve in the United States.” The winner was a film that untangles the web of cultural and historical ties underlying Japan’s deep fascination with insects, titled: Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo. Director Jessica Oreck said she was “surprised and grateful” to receive the award.
Also added to the Cinema Eye Honors was a legacy award, “given to a film that embodies the Cinema Eye mission statement of recognizing and honoring exemplary craft and innovation in nonfiction film as well as being a film that has inspired a new generation of filmmakers to create art in the nonfiction realm.” This honor went to Ross McElwee’s 1986 film, Sherman’s March, about the lingering effects of General Sherman’s march of destruction through the south during the Civil War. However, McElwee is continuously sidetracked by women who come and go in his life.
Thom Powers, founder of the Independent Film Center’s (IFC’s) Stranger Than Fiction documentary series and 2009’s Cinema Eye honors co-host, conducted a brief question and answer session with McElwee on his honored film. McElwee explained that he had to develop a way of shooting very little film (he shot around 25 total hours of footage for Sherman’s March) because he was a crew of one. He also explained that a challenge is to work together different themes in a film. He stated that negotiation is a very important skill to have as a nonfiction filmmaker and joked about how he negotiated with his wife on their wedding night regarding how much longer he could film.
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me, 2004), a presenter at 2009’s Cinema Eye Honors award show, wrote an essay featured in the Cinema Eye Honor award’s program where he stated McElwee’s film, “radiated such a raw honesty, humor and sincerity.”
Burma VJ received five Cinema Eye Honors award nominations and won in the categories of outstanding achievement in an international film and editing. It is about the 2007 monk-led, anti-government uprisings. October Country, a multi-generational story of a working-class family coping with issues that include poverty and teen pregnancy, also had five nominations and won in the categories of outstanding achievement in a debut feature film and musical score.
Four-time nominee Food Inc. and nominee RIP - A Remix Manifesto tied for the win in the category of outstanding achievement in graphic design and animation. The films are an expose on industrial agriculture production and the exploration of copyright issues in the information age, respectfully. The audience choice prize went to two-time nominee, The September Issue. It is about the nine months leading up to the printing of the highly anticipated September issue of Vogue magazine.
The after party celebration was again held at The Arena, just a few blocks away from the Times Center. For further information on the Cinema Eye Honors, visit their website at: http://www.cinemaeyehonors2010.com/
2010 Cinema Eye Honors Award Winners
Chris Wood Chris Wood
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