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‘Dina’ Wins Best Feature Award From International Documentary Association

Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles’ documentary “Dina” has won the International Documentary Association’s award for top feature of 2017.

Laura Checkoway’s “Edith+Eddie” won for best short. Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin’s  “LA 92” won the ABC News VideoSource award and PBS’ “Independent Lens” won for best curated series. HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” won for best limited series, BBC’s “Planet Earth II” for best episodic series, “The New York Times Op-Docs” for best short form series, and Joel Fendelman’s “Man on Fire” for the David L. Wolper Student Documentary award.

The 33rd Annual IDA Documentary Awards, hosted by Iranian-American actor and comedian Maz Jobrani, took place Saturday night at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood.

Dina” focuses on the unconventional love story between Dina Buno, an eccentric suburban woman, and Walmart door greeter Scott Levin. The couple has already decided to get married when the film begins, but their relationship is complicated by their respective conditions, with both on the autism spectrum.

Shoreh Agdashloo made the presentation to a surprised Santini and Sickles, who thanked Buna effusively. “This film was made to celebrate her and all the invisible heroes out there,” Sickles said.

“Dina” topped “City of Ghosts,” “Faces Places,” “LA 92” and “Strong Island.” It debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it was the winner of the U.S. documentary grand jury prize. “Dina” was not named on Dec. 7 to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shortlist of 15 titles for the 2018 Oscar  — as were the other four IDA nominated titles. It grossed $90,000 at the box office in a limited release from The Orchard.

Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” won the IDA’s top feature documentary award in 2016 and then won the documentary Oscar in February.

“Edith+Eddie” won the best short award over “The Fight,” “Heaven Is A Traffic Jam On The 405,” “Long Shot,” “Mr. Connolly Has ALS” and “The Rabbit Hunt.” The movie focuses on the 2014 marriage between the inter-racial couple Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, who were 96 and 95 at the time. Due to a family dispute, the two were separated and Harrison died a few weeks later.

“Edith+Eddie” was named on Dec. 5 to the AMPAS shortlist of 10 titles selected for the Academy Award short subject documentary category. Production companies are Heart is Red and Kartemquin Films. Cher came on as an executive producer in September.

“The best feature and best short award winners both represent unlikely love stories, each one tender, tragic, and ultimately life-affirming,” said IDA Executive Director Simon Kilmurry. “’Dina’ and ‘Edith+Eddie’ are both distinguished by their unforgettable lead characters and their sensitive elicitation of universal truths.”

“The White Helmets,” directed by Orlando von Einsiedel, won the IDA’s best short award last year and then won the Academy Award in the category in February.

The IDA also presented the career achievement award on Saturday to Lourdes Portillo in recognition of Portillo’s body of work which spans nearly 40 years and includes films about Latin American experiences and social justice issues. The award was presented by Renee Tajima-Peña.

IDA’s Courage Under Fire award was presented for the first time to a group of filmmaking teams and the films’ subjects. Jessica Yellin presented the award to the teams involved with four films dealing with Syria: “City of Ghosts”, “Cries from Syria”, “Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”, and “Last Men in Aleppo.”

Eight-year-old Bana Alabed, a survivor of the siege who appears in “Cries from Syria,” brought the audience to tears by describing the destruction of her school. “I am lucky because I am alive,” she said.

Alabed is the author of the book, “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace.”

Documentary filmmaker and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson and chief creative officer of Fork Films Gini Reticker, presented the Amicus Award to Fork Films CEO Abigail Disney in recognition of her work in support of peacebuilding and advancing women’s roles in the public sphere.

Yance Ford, whose cinematic memoir “Strong Island” received a special jury award for storytelling at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, was awarded with the emerging filmmaker award by veteran filmmaker Charles Burnett.

IDA also announced a $600,000 investment from the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation to support IDA,  including IDA’s Enterprise Documentary Fund and Getting Real ‘18 filmmaker-to-filmmaker conference. As part of this initiative, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation will provide four grants of $25,000 each to emerging women filmmakers of color.

The complete list of winners is below:

Best Feature


Directors/Producers: Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles

The Orchard

Best Short


Director: Laura Checkoway

Producer: Thomas Lee Wright

Kartemquin Films

Creative Recognition Award Winners

Best Cinematography


Cinematography by: Rodrigo Trejo Villanueva

Kino Lorber

Best Editing

Dawson City: Frozen Time

Edited by: Bill Morrison

Kino Lorber

Best Music

Brimstone & Glory

Original Score by: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin

Oscilloscope Laboratories

Best Writing


Written by: Chico Pereira, Manuel Pereira and Gabriel Molera

Scottish Documentary Institute

Pare Lorentz Award

Watani: My Homeland (Recipient)

Director: Marcel Mettelsiefen

Intent to Destroy (Special Mention)

Director: Joe Berlinger

ABC News VideoSource Award

LA 92

Directors: Dan Lindsay & TJ Martin

National Geographic

Best Curated Series Award

Independent Lens

Executive Producers: Lois Vossen and Sally Jo Fifer


Best Limited Series

The Defiant Ones

Executive Producers: Allen Hughes, Doug Pray, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, Laura Lancaster, Jerry Longarzo, Michael Lombardo, and Gene Kirkwood


Best Episodic Series Award

Planet Earth II

Executive Producer: Michael Gunton


Best Short Form Series Award

The New York Times Op-Docs

Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo

The New York Times

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award

Man on Fire

Director: Joel Fendelman

Producer: James Chase Sanchez

University of Texas, Austin

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