Michael Moore honored for career achievement

Mary Olive Smith’s “A Walk to Beautiful” won the top feature documentary prize from the Intl. Documentary Assn.

The docu, feted Friday night at the Directors Guild of America Theater, won out over “Crazy Love,” “Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience,” “Sicko” and “Taxi to the Dark Side.”

“A Walk to Beautiful,” directed and produced by Smith and exec produced by Steve Engel, focuses on five women in Ethiopia who suffer from childbirth injuries and have been shunned by their family and villages. The film’s won awards at the San Francisco Film Festival, where it premiered, and at the St. Louis Film Festival, and is set for broadcast on PBS’ “Nova” next year.

“A Walk to Beautiful” is not on this year’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ short list of 15 finalists for the feature-length documentary Oscar.

The event also included presentation of an IDA career achievement award to Michael Moore, who directed and produced “Sicko,” “Fahrenheit 9/11,” “Bowling for Columbine” and “Roger and Me.”

Moore had to cancel at the last minute after throwing out his back, and sent sisters Ann and Veronica to read his acceptance. “Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had nothing to do with this,” he said of his back injury.

“A Son’s Sacrifice,” from director Yoni Brook, producer Musa Sheed and exec producer Marco Williams, won the short documentary (40 minutes or less) competition. The film follows the journey of a young American Muslim who confronts his roots at his father’s slaughterhouse in New York.

“Sacrifice” won over “Black and White,” “Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy,” The Fighting Cholitas” and “Freeheld.”

“We Are Together (Thina Simunye),” from director-producer Paul Taylor and producer Teddy Leifer, won the inaugural Alan Ett Music Documentary award over “4,” “Chops,” “Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037” and “War/Dance.”

Previously announced awards include the documentary cinematography award to Ken Burns’ longtime collaborator Buddy Squires; the Pare Lorentz Award to Spike Lee and Sam Pollard for “When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts”; and the IDA Courage Under Fire Award to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

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