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‘The Square’ Takes Top Trophy at International Documentary Awards

'Slomo' takes best short award

Jehane Noujaim’s Egyptian Revolution documentary “The Square” has won the best feature award from the International Documentary Association.

“I am dedicating this award to my fellow Egyptians,” Noujaim said in her acceptance Friday night at the Directors Guild of America theater.

The IDA trophy adds to a growing list of kudos for the film, which depicts the revolution of 2011 from its roots in Tahrir Square. “The Square” won the Audience Award for World Cinema in the documentary category at Sundance and — after Noujaim updated the film with new footage — won the People’s Choice Award in the doc category at the Toronto Film Festival. It was also nommed Nov. 26 for a Spirit Award.

“Thank you for proving the power of interconnected stories can change the world,” said producer Karim Amer in his acceptance speech.

Netflix recently closed a deal for distribution rights to “The Square,” the first documentary deal for the streaming service in several years. “The Square” is also on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ shortlist of 15 films competing for an Oscar nom along with three other IDA nominees — Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing,” Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s “Blackfish,” and Sarah Polley’s “Stories We Tell.”

The fifth IDA contender, Jason Osder’s “Let the Fire Burn,” didn’t land on the Oscar list. Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” won the IDA trophy last year and went on to win the Oscar.

Paul Provenza presided over the ceremonies.

Josh Izenberg’s “Slomo” won the best short award for its portrait of neurologist-turned-rollerblader John Kitchin. It topped Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s “The Education of Mohammad Hussein,” Johan Palmgren’s “The Flogstar Roar,” Alicia Dwyer’s “Nine to Ninety” and Russell O. Bush’s “Vultures of Tibet.”

“Slomo” is on the shortlist for the Oscar short documentary award.

Best Continuing Series Award went to the PBS series “Independent Lens,” now in its 12th season, and Best Limited Series Award went to CNN’s “Inside Man,” hosted by Morgan Spurlock.

“I am so proud of us as filmmakers and more proud of us as human beings,” Spurlock said in reference to the documentary community.

The previously announced Career Achievement Award was presented to Alex Gibney, whose credits include “The Armstrong Lie,” “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” and “Taxi to the Dark Side,” which won the Oscar for documentary feature in 2007.

Gibney said in his acceptance that one of his guidelines in filmmaking is “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

“”Everyone lies, especially the powerful,” he said. “I’m drawn to stories about abuses of power.”

The IDA Amicus Award went to Impact Partners co-founder Geralyn Dreyfous, who also founded the Utah Film Center. Dreyfous’ credits include “The Square,” “Born Into Brothels,” “The Invisible War” and “The Crash Reel.”

Filmmaker Laura Poitras received IDA’s Courage Under Fire Award. She is working on the third film in her trilogy of films about America post-9/11, which includes “My Country, My Country” (2006) and “The Oath” (2010). She accepted the award from Berlin and said, “‘I’d like to dedicate this award to the whistleblowers.”

Poitras was introduced by William Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency, who became a whistleblower.

A complete list of winners follows.

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Alex Gibney

IDA AMICUS AWARD

Geralyn Dreyfous

COURAGE UNDER FIRE AWARD

Laura Poitras

BEST FEATURE AWARD

THE SQUARE

Director: Jehane Noujaim

Producer: Karim Amer; Executive Producers: Geralyn Dreyfous, Mike Lerner, Sarah Johnson, Jodie Evans, Lekha Singh, Gavin Dougan, Dan Catullo III, Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo, Khalil Noujaim, Alexandra Johnes, Jeff Skol; Noujaim Films, Netflix Originals

BEST SHORT AWARD

SLOMO

Director: Josh Izenberg; Producer: Amanda Micheli; Executive Producer: Neil Izenberg; Big Young Films, Runaway Films

BEST LIMITED SERIES AWARD

INSIDE MAN

Producers: Kristen Vaurio, Lisa Kalikow, Shannon Gibson, Suzanne Hillinger, Lara Benario; Writers: Jeremy Chilnick, Morgan Spurlock; Executive Producers: Jeremy Chilnick, Matthew Galkin, Morgan Spurlock; CNN

BEST CONTINUING SERIES AWARD

INDEPENDENT LENS

Producer: Lois Vossen; Executive Producers: Sally Jo Fifer; Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with PBS

DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD

MY SISTER SARAH

Director/Producer: Elizabeth Chatelain; University of Texas at Austin

HUMANITAS DOCUMENTARY AWARD

BLOOD BROTHER

Director: Steve Hoover; Producer: Danny Yourd; Writers: Steve Hoover, Phinehas Hodges, Tyson VanSkiver; Executive Producers: Steve Hoover, Michael Killen, Kathy Dziubek, Jim Kreitzburg, Leigh Blake, John Carlin; Independent Television Service (ITVS)

PARE LORENTZ AWARD

A PLACE AT THE TABLE

Directors/Producers: Lori Silverbush and Kristi Jacobson; Producers: Julie Goldman, Ryan Harrington; Magnolia Pictures

ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD

THE TRIALS OF MUHAMMAD ALI

Director: Bill Siegel; Producers: Bill Siegel, Rachel Pikelny; Executive Producers: Justine Nagan, Gordon Quinn, Leon Gast, Kat White; Sally Jo Fifer (for ITVS); Independent Television Service (ITVS), Kartemquin Films, Kino Lorber

CREATIVE RECOGNITION AWARD WINNERS

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

PABLO’S WINTER

Cinematographer: Julian Schwanitz; Director: Chico Pereira

BEST EDITING

LET THE FIRE BURN

Editor: Nels Bangerter; Director: Jason Osder

BEST MUSIC

NARCO CULTURA

Original Music By: Jeremy Turner

Director: Shaul Schwartz

BEST WRITING

HOW TO MAKE MONEY SELLING DRUGS

Writer/Director: Matthew Cooke

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