‘Citizenfour’ Wins Best Feature Award from International Documentary Association

CitizenFour Edward Snowden

Laura Poitras’ Edward Snowden documentary “Citizenfour” has won the International Documentary Association’s award for best feature.

Poitras received the award Friday night in ceremonies at the Paramount lot.

“What he did was probably the most extraordinary act I’ve ever seen so we could know more as citizens,” Poitras said in her acceptance.

Poitras met Snowden while working on a documentary about governmental surveillance in the post-9/11 era. She began receiving emails from “citizenfour,” who wrote, “I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you was extremely high-risk.”

Poitras and reporter Glenn Greenwald journeyed to Hong Kong to meet with the person she had been corresponding with, who turned out to be Snowden. Snowden ultimately handed over top-secret documents that revealed covert surveillance programs run by the NSA.

“Citizenfour” won over  “Finding Vivian Maier,” “Point and Shoot,” “The Salt of the Earth” and “Tales of the Grim Sleeper.”

“Citizenfour,” which is on the short list of films for the Oscar, won the Gotham Award this week for best documentary, just hours after winning the New York Film Critics Award.

The best short award went to “Tashi and the Monk,” directed by Johnny Burke and Andrew Hinton. It also won the Pare Lorentz Award, which recognizes films focusing on environmental and social issues. The film explores the relationship of Buddhist monk Lobsang Phuntsok and his 5-year-old charge Tashi Drolma.

Carol Leifer hosted the event, which included presentation a career achievement award to Robert Redford presented to Barbara Kopple — who recalled that she had served on the initial documentary jury at he Sundance Film Festival.

Redford noted that there was initial opposition to docs screening at Sundance. “Nobody votes for a new idea; you have grind it out,” he added.

Redford said that documentaries contain the value of providing a calm counterpoint amid “so much anger and fear,” adding that their value was demonstrated by “Snowden reaching out to Laura Poitras to tell his story.”

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, founders of World of Wonder Productions, were presented with the IDA’s pioneer award. Monica Lewinsky, the subject of their film 2002 “Monica in Black and White,” presented the trophy and said the duo manged to gain her trust at a time when she trusted few people.

Rithy Panh, the co-founder of the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and the director of “The Missing Picture,” received the preservation and scholarship award for his efforts to illuminate the genocide in his nation during the late 1970s.

“I don’t know if documentary film can change the world but it can offer that possibility,” he told the audience.

The IDA had held the ceremonies at the Directors Guild of America in recent years.

 

 

2014 IDA Documentary Awards Honorees and Winners

 

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Robert Redford

 

PIONEER AWARD

Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

 

PRESERVATION AND SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

Rithy Panh

 

EMERGING DOCUMENTARY FILMMAKER AWARD sponsored by Red Fire Films and Modern VideoFilm

Darius Clark Monroe

 

BEST FEATURE AWARD

CITIZENFOUR

Director: Laura Poitras

RADiUS-TWC, Participant Media, and

HBO Documentary Films

 

BEST SHORT AWARD

TASHI AND THE MONK

Directors: Andrew Hinton, Johnny Burke

HBO Documentary Films

 

BEST CURATED SERIES AWARD

INDEPENDENT LENS

Executive Producer: Sally Jo Fifer

Deputy Executive Producer: Lois Vossen

Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with PBS

 

BEST LIMITED SERIES AWARD

TIME OF DEATH

Executive Producers: Cynthia Childs, Dan Cutforth, Casey Kriley, Jane Lipsitz, Alexandra Lipsitz

Co-Executive Producer: Miggi Hood, Sandy Shapiro

Showtime

BEST EPISODIC SERIES AWARD

OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING

Executive Producers: Amy Bucher, Gregory Henry, Lisa Ling, David Shadrack Smith

OWN

 

BEST SHORT FORM SERIES AWARD

PLANET MONEY MAKES A T-SHIRT

Executive Producer: Alex Blumberg

NPR

 

DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD

MY DAD’S A ROCKER

Director: Zuxin Hou

University of Southern California

 

HUMANITAS DOCUMENTARY AWARD

LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

Director: Thomas G. Miller

PBS / Independent Lens

 

PARE LORENTZ AWARD

TASHI AND THE MONK

Directors: Andrew Hinton, Johnny Burke

HBO Documentary Films

 

ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD

1971

Director: Johanna Hamilton

Independent Lens/ PBS

 

CREATIVE RECOGNITION AWARD WINNERS

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY presented by Canon

ELEVATOR

Cinematography By: Hatuey Viveros Lavielle

 

BEST EDITING

LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM

Editing By: Don Kleszy

 

BEST MUSIC

ALFRED AND JAKOBINE

Music By: Nick Urata

 

BEST WRITING

FINDING VIVIAN MAIER

Written By: John Maloof & Charlie Siskel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Not interested in seeing this documentary film… a well promoted guy…

  2. Sal U. Lloyd says:

    Static. I learned very little. I already knew MOST of what was said. Mostly two or three people sitting in a hotel room. I wanted Snowden to kick the sound man or something!

    Just because you are champion the cause doesn’t make it a good film. This is NOT the Hearts and Minds of the post September 11th era!

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