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2021 IDA Awards Nominations Led by ‘Summer of Soul’ and ‘Faya Dayi’

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The 2021 International Documentary Association (IDA) Awards has revealed the nominations for Best Feature and Best Short. In a year crowded with festival hits and critically hailed nonfiction (see the Critics Choice Documentary Award winners), with more debuts unspooling at DOC NYC (November 10-18, 2021), every reputable nonfiction awards group helps to curate the sprawling list of eventual Oscar contenders, and the IDA is no exception.

A number of films, including nominations leader “Summer of Soul” (four nominations), “Faya Dayi” and “Not Going Quietly” (three) and animated Danish Oscar submission “Flee” (two), keep turning up on early awards lists. But top dog NatGeo’s high-profile, well-reviewed titles “The Rescue,” “Becoming Cousteau,” and “Fauci” were left out in favor of an international selection of less-hyped titles. (“First Wave” scored the Pare Lorentz award plus a cinematography nomination.) PBS earned 14 nominations across its programming strands, followed by Netflix and HULU each with seven nominations and HBO with six nominations.

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The IDA will bestow 16 awards this year, for Best Feature, Best Short, Best Curated Series, Best Episodic Series, Best Multi-Part Documentary, Best Short Form Series, Best Audio Documentary, David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award, Best Music Documentary, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Writing, Best Music Score, ABC News VideoSource Award, and the Pare Lorentz Award.

The IDA selected nominees from the feature and short shortlists (nominees are listed below). Starting Monday, December 13, 2021, IDA members will be able to watch each of the feature and shorts nominees and then vote to decide the winners. The 2021 Awards will return to a live ceremony on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at Paramount Studios.

Independent committees made up of 228 documentarians, curators, critics, and industry experts from 44 countries select the shortlists and nominees. 51 percent of the committee identified as female, 59 percent as BIPOC, 20 percent as LGBTQ+, and 2 percent as disabled.

This year, the IDA processed 748 submissions, including 314 documentary features from 58 countries, and 137 documentary shorts from 33 countries.

“Faya Dayi” - Credit: Merkhana Films
“Faya Dayi” - Credit: Merkhana Films

Merkhana Films

Best Feature Nominees

“Apenas el sol”(“Nothing but the Sun”) (Switzerland, Paraguay/ Film republic. Director/Producer: Arami Ullón. Producer: Pascal Trächslin)
“Faya Dayi”(Ethiopia, USA, Qatar / Janus Films. Director/Producer: Jessica Beshir)
“Flee” (Denmark, France, Norway / NEON, Participant. Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen. Producers: Monica Hellstrӧm,Signe Byrge Sørensen, Charlotte De La Gournerie)
“In the Same Breath” (USA, China / HBO, HBO Max. Director/Producer: Nanfu Wang. Producers: Jialing Zhang, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn)
“Jacinta” (USA / Hulu, ABC News. Director: Jessica Earnshaw. Producers: Jessica Earnshaw, Holly Meehl, Nimisha Mukerji)
“North By Current” (USA / POV. Director/Producer: Angelo Madsen Minax. Producer: Felix Endara)
“Not Going Quietly” (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Director: Nicholas Bruckman. Producer: Amanda Roddy)
“Summer of Soul” (USA / Hulu, Searchlight Pictures. Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Producers: Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein)
“Wojnarowicz: F**k You F*ggot F**ker” (USA / Kino Lorber. Director: Chris McKim. Producers: Chris McKim, Randy Barbato, Fenton Bailey)
“Writing With Fire” (India / ITVS, Music Box. Director/Producers: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh)

Best Director Nominees
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson (“Summer of Soul,” USA / Hulu, Searchlight Pictures)
Jessica Beshir (“Faya Dayi,” Ethiopia, USA, Qatar / Janus Films)
Jessica Earnshaw (“Jacinta,” USA / Hulu, ABC News)
Jonas Poher Rasmussen (“Flee,” Denmark, France, Norway / NEON, Participant)
Nicholas Bruckman (“Not Going Quietly,” USA / Greenwich Entertainment)

Best Short Nominees
“A Broken House” (USA, Lebanon / Condé Nast Entertainment, The New Yorker, POV. Director/Producer: Jimmy Goldblum. Producer: Matt Weaver, former Representative Richard Gephardt and Harrison Nalevansky)
“Águilas” (USA / The New Yorker. Director/Producer: Kristy Guevara-Flanagan. Co-Director/Producer: Maite Zubiaurre)
“Ain’t No Time For Women” (Canada / Travelling. Director: Sarra El Abed. Producer: Isabelle Grignon-Francke)
“E14″(UK / Fifth Season LTD. Director: Peiman Zekavat. Producer: Sanam Jehanfard)
“Joe Buffalo” (Canada / Condé Nast Entertainment, The New Yorker. Director/Producer: Amar Chebib. Producer: Hayley Morin, Mack Stannard)
“Kalsubai” (India / Film and Television Institute of India. Director: Yudhajit Basu)
“Open Shutters” (USA, Republic of Korea / Field of Vision. Director/Producer: Youjin Do)
“Red Taxi” (USA, Hong Kong / Field of Vision. Director/Producer: Anonymous)
“Senior Prom” (USA / Independent Lens, PBS. Director/Producer: Luisa Conlon. Producer: Jessica Chermayeff)
“Since you arrived, my heart stopped belonging to me” (“Desde que llegaste, mi corazón dejó de pertenecerme”) (USA / The New Yorker. Director/Producer: Erin Semine Kökdil)

Best Curated Series Nominee
America ReFramed (USA / WORLD Channel. Executive Producers: Christopher Hastings, Chris White, Justine Nagan and Erika Dilday)
American Masters (USA, Canada / THIRTEEN Productions, LLC, PBS. Executive Producer: Michael Kantor)
Independent Lens (USA / Independent Lens, PBS. Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer)
Pacific Heartbeat (USA / American Public Television, WORLD Channel, PBS. Executive Producers: Leanne K. Ferrer)
POV (USA, Puerto Rico / PBS. Executive Producers: Erika Dilday and Chris White)

Best Episodic Series Nominees

“Alien Worlds” (USA / Netflix. Executive Producers: Tim Lambert and Jeremy Dear)
“Becoming You” (USA, UK / Apple TV+. Executive Producers: Hamo Forsyth, Leanne Klein, Tim Lambert and Martin Conway)
“My Love: Six Stories of True Love” (USA / Netflix. Executive Producer: Mo-young Jin, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard and Jordan Wynn)
“The Surgeon’s Cut” (USA / Netflix. Executive Producers: Andrew Cohen and James Van Der Pool)
“Untold” (USA / Netflix. Executive Producers: Maclain Way, Chapman Way, Ben Silverman, Howard T. Owens, Isabel San Vargas, Ryan Duffy, Miguel Tamayo and Jaymee Messler)

Best Multi-Part Documentary Nominees
“Exterminate All the Brutes” (USA, France / HBO, HBO Max. Director/Executive Producer: Raoul Peck. Producers: Daniel Delume. Executive Producers: Rémi Grellety, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Jamie Morris, Jack Oliver and Poppy Dixon)
“High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America” (USA / Netflix. Director/Executive Producer: Roger Ross Williams. Producer: Jonathan Clasberry. Executive Producers: Geoff Martz, Craig Piligian, Sarba Das, Fabienne Toback and Karis Jagger)
“Nuclear Family” (USA / HBO, HBO Max. Director/Producer: Ry Russo-Young. Producers: Dan Cogan and Warren Fischer. Executive Producers: Liz Garbus, Julie Gaither, Jon Bardin, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn White Dreyfous, Lauren Haber, Peter Saraf, Leah Holzer, Alex Turtletaub, Marc Turtletaub, Maria Zuckerman, Christine Connor, Ryan Heller, Barbara Dobkin, Eric Dobkin, Andrea van Beuren and Joe Landauer)
“Philly D.A.” (USA / Independent Lens, PBS. Directors/Producers: Ted Passon and Yoni Brook. Producer: Nicole Salazar. Executive Producers: Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald, Dawn Porter, Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen, Nion McEvoy, Patty Quillin, Jeff Seelbach, Ryan Chanatry and Gena Konstantinakos)
“Uprising” (UK / Amazon Studios. Directors/Executive Producers: Steve McQueen and James Rogan. Producers: Helen Bart, Nelson Adeosun and Joanna Boateng. Executive Producers: Nancy Bornat, Soleta Rogan, Tracey Scoffield, Clare Sillery, Carl Callam, Emma Loach, Vivienne Steele, Anna Smith-Tenser, David Tanner and Justin Thomson)

Best Short-Form Series Nominees

Earth at Night in Color (UK, USA / Apple TV+. Producers: Sam Hodgson, Simon Muriel, Tom Payne, Justin Anderson and Joe Stevens. Executive Producers: Alex Williamson)
Field of Vision (USA / Field of Vision. Producers: Do Youjin, Ruun Nuur, Chase Whiteside, Mike Plante, Arielle de Saint Phalle, Paul Dallas, Dana Brandes-Simon, Malika Zouhali-Worrall, Patricia Benabe, Anonymous. Executive Producers: Charlotte Cook)
K-Pop Evolution (Canada, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea / YouTube Originals. Producers: Robert Ock, Sejin Park, and Ann Shin. Executive Producers: Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn)
POV Shorts (USA / PBS. Producers: Opal Bennet. Executive Producers: Erika Dilday and Chris White)
Viral (Germany, Israel / ZDF Arte. Producer: Georg Tschurtschenthaler. Executive Producers: Christian Beetz)
Witness (Italy, Pakistan, Israel / Al Jazeera English. Producers: Lisa Camillo, Saad Zuberi, Amber Fares, Emile Guertin and Reem Haddad. Executive Producer: Fiona Lawson-Baker)

Best Stand-Alone Audio Documentary Nominees
“La foresta dei violin” (Italy, France / RSI SSR SRG. Executive Producer: Faïdos Sonore)
“The Story of Two Moms” (Republic of Korea / KBS. Producer: Woo-Kwang Kim. Executive Producer: Yeonhui Lee)
VICE News Reports: “Monaea, A 2020 Diary” (USA / VICE News, iHeartRadio. Reporters: Monaea Upton and Jen Kinney. Producers: Jen Kinne, Ashley Cleek, Adizah Eghan and Adreanna Rodriguez. Executive Producer: Kate Osborn)

Best Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series Nominees

“My Fugitive” (USA / Pineapple Street Studios. Reporter: Nina Gilden Seavey. Producers: Kat Aaron, Joel Lovell, Agerenesh Ashagre, Justine Daum, Maddy Sprung-Keyser, Janelle Anderson and Maria Robins-Somerville. Executive Producers: Jenna Weiss-Berman and Max Linsky)
“Suave” from Futuro Studios and PRX (USA / Futuro Studios, PRX. Reporters: Maggie Freleng and Julieta Martinelli. Producers: Maria Hinojosa, Maggie Freleng, Julieta Martinelli, Marlon Bishop, Audrey Quinn and Stephanie Lubow. Executive Producer: Maria Hinojosa)
“The Vanishing of Harry Pace” (USA / WNYC. Producers: Shima Oliaee, Jami Floyd and Jad Abumrad)
“I’m Not A Monster” (UK, USA, Syria / FRONTLINE, BBC Sounds, BBC Panorama. Reporter: Josh Baker. Producers: Josh Baker, Joe Kent and Max Green. Executive Producers: Raney Aronson-Rath and Dylan Haskins)
“Through The Cracks” (USA / WAMU, PRX. Producers: Ruth Tam and Patrick Fort. Executive Producer: Poncie Rutsch)

Best Music Documentary Nominees

“Lydia Lunch: The War Is Never Over” (USA / Kino Lorber. Director/Producer: Beth B. Producer: Kathleen Fox)
“The Sparks Brothers” (UK / Focus Features. Director/Producer: Edgar Wright. Producers: Nira Park, George Hencken, Laura Richardson)
“Summer of Soul” (USA / Hulu, Searchlight Pictures. Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. Producers: Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein)
Tina (USA / HBO, HBO Max. Directors: Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin. Producers: Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Diane Becker)
“The Velvet Underground” (USA / Apple TV+. Director/Producer: Todd Haynes. Producers: Christine Vachon, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Carolyn Hepburn and David Blackman)

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award Nominees

“Anchored Out” (USA / UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. Directors/Producers: Katie Bernstein and Clara Mokri)
“In The Space You Left” (UK / National Film and Television School. Director/Producer: Christine Saab. Producer: Ju Park)
“No Soy Óscar” (USA, Mexico / Stanford University. Director/Producer: Jon Ayon)
“Seahorse” (Germany / Film Academy Baden-Württemberg. Director/Producer: Nele Dehnenkamp. Producer: Christine Duttlinger)
“The Doll” (Islamic Republic Of Iran / Tehran University of Art. Director/Producer: Elahe Esmaili)

Best Cinematography Nominees
“Ascension” (USA / MTV Documentary Films. Cinematographers: Jessica Kingdon and Nathan Truesdell)
“Cusp” (USA / SHOWTIME Documentary Films. Cinematographers: Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill)
“Faya Dayi” (Ethiopia, USA, Qatar / Janus Films. Cinematographer: Jessica Beshir)
“The Lost Leonardo” (Denmark, France / Sony Pictures Classics. Cinematographer: Adam Jandrup)
“The First Wave” (USA / National Geographic. Cinematographers: Ross McDonnell, Thorsten Thielow, Brian Dawson, Matthew Heineman and Alex Pritz)

Best Editing Nominees
“Charm Circle” (USA. Editors: Michael Levine and Nira Burstein)
“Homeroom” (USA / Hulu. Editors: Kristina Motwani and Rebecca Adorno)
“Procession” (USA / Netflix. Editor: Robert Greene)
“Simple As Water” (USA, Syria. Editors: Purcell Carson and Megan Mylan)
“Summer of Soul” (USA / Hulu, Searchlight Pictures. Editor: Joshua L. Pearson)

Best Music Score Nominees

“Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground” (USA / HBO Max. Composer: Roman GianArthur)
“Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust” (USA / PBS. Composers: Lori Goldston, Steve Fisk and Alexander Miranda)
“Pelé” (USA, Brazil / Netflix. Composers: Antônio Pinto, Gabriel Ferreira and Felipe Kim)
“Speer Goes to Hollywood” (Israel, Austria, Germany. Composer: Frank Ilfman)
“The Lost Leonardo” (Denmark, France / Sony Pictures Classics. Composer: Sveinung Nygaard)
“The Neutral Ground” (USA / POV, PBS. Composer: Sultana Isham)

Best Writing Nominees
“Duty Free” (USA / Independent Lens, PBS. Writer: Sian-Pierre Regis)
“Eyes On The Prize: Hallowed Ground” (USA / HBO Max. Writers: Lenelle Moïse and Sophia Nahli Allison)
“North By Current” (USA / POV, PBS. Writer: Angelo Madsen Minax)
“Not Going Quietly” (USA / Greenwich Entertainment. Writers: Nicholas Bruckman and Amanda Roddy)
“The One And Only Dick Gregory” (USA / SHOWTIME Documentary Films, Cinemation Studios, Hartbeat Productions, Hillman Grad Productions. Writer: Andre Gaines)

ABC News VideoSource Award Nominees and Winner
“9/11 Inside the President War Room” (UK, USA / Apple TV+. Director: Adam Wishart. Producers: Adam Wishart, Simon Finch)
“American Experience: Sandra Day O’Connor” (USA / PBS. Director: Michelle Ferrari. Producers: Connie Honeycutt, Michelle Ferrari)
“Cured” (USA / Independent Lens, PBS. Directors/Producers: Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer)
“Like a Rolling Stone: The Life & Times of Ben Fong-Torres” (USA. Director/Producer: Suzanne Joe Kai)
WINNER: “Whirlybird” (USA / Greenwich Entertainment, A&E IndieFilms. Director: Matt Yoka. Producer: Matt Yoka, Diane Becker)

Pare Lorentz Award Winner
WINNER: “The First Wave” (USA / National Geographic. Director/Producer: Matthew Heineman. Producers: Jenna Millman and Leslie Norville)
HONORABLE MENTION: “Tigre Gente” (USA. Director/Producer: Elizabeth Unger. Producer: Joanna Natasegara)

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