Floyd Russ’s “Zion” was awarded best short. Netflix’s “Wild Wild Country” won for best limited series and HBO’s “John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls” took the ABC News VideoSource Award. PBS’ “POV” won for best curated series, Showtime’s “The Trade” for best episodic series, MEL Films for best short form series, and Jayisha Patel’s “Circle” for the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award.
Both Melissa Haizlip’s “Mr. Soul!” and Steve Loveridge’s “Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.” were each awarded best music documentary while “Bisbee ’17” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening” were each awarded best music score. The New York Times’ “Caliphate” took the inaugural award in the audio documentary category.
Ricki Lake hosted the ceremonies Saturday night for the 34th Annual IDA Documentary Awards at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles. She noted that she recently produced the documentary “Weed the People,” and asserted that she gets the most satisfaction from working on such projects.
“Minding the Gap” is Liu’s first feature and chronicles his friendship over a dozen years with fellow skateboarders Zack Mulligan and Keire Johnson. The film has been praised for presenting an intimate portrait of the trio’s lives, particularly the issue of domestic abuse.
“Minding the Gap” premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Filmmaking. Hulu acquired distribution rights in July and it was released theatrically and on Hulu in August. The film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for best documentary feature and the Truer Than Fiction Award and won the New York Film Critics Circle award for best non-fiction Film.
Liu was also presented with the previously announced Emerging Filmmaker Award on Saturday by director Barry Jenkins and Gordon Quinn, artistic director of Kartemquin Films, who said, “I think we all have to agree that Bing Liu has emerged.”
In his acceptance, Liu managed to thank several dozen people and organizations in under two minutes. He also wished his late stepfather would find the peace that eluded him in life.
“Minding the Gap” topped nine other nominees for the top feature award — “Crime + Punishment,” “Dark Money,” “Free Solo,” “Hale County This Morning, This Evening,” “Of Fathers and Sons,” “The Silence of Others,” “Sky and Ground,” “United Skates” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Netflix’s “Zion,” which also debuted at Sundance, is focused on Zion Clark, a wrestler who was born without legs and grew up in foster care. It topped “Black Sheep,” “Fear Us Women,” “Lifeboat,” “Los Comandos,” “Mosul,” “Sidelined,” “The Girl and the Picture,” “We Are Not Done Yet” and “We Became Fragments.”
“Both the best feature and best short categories recognized the remarkable range of work that was produced in 2018,” said Simon Kilmurry, executive director of IDA. “In ‘Minding the Gap’ we see the emergence of Bing Liu as a fresh, bold new voice in documentary. His film sneaks up on audiences and, has a quiet and lasting power. ‘Zion’ by Floyd Russ is a beautiful and touching work that does what documentaries can do better than any other form — give audiences intimate access into the experience of others, in a way that makes us better for it.”
Previously announced awards included the career achievement award, presented to Julia Reichert, a three-time Academy Award nominee and co-founder of New Day Films; the Courage Under Fire Award to director Stephen Maing and all the NYPD 12 whistleblowers of “Crime + Punishment” with several of the 12 NYPD officers in the film in attendance; and the Amicus Award to Chicken & Egg Pictures, for providing grants and mentorship to more than 300 women filmmakers.
The audience gave a standing ovation to the Maing and the NYPD whistleblowers. “Getting to know you has been the greatest honor of my life. You embody progress for all of us,” Maing said.
Reichert also received a standing ovation said in her acceptance that the documentary community needs to be built up in every way possible.
“We are a movement. We stand for ideas and ideas change the world,” she said. ”What if we went to Netflix and said ‘We want our movies to screen in community centers and theaters before they stream?'” she added.
The complete list of winners is below.
2018 IDA Documentary Awards Best Feature Winner
Minding the Gap (Hulu/POV. Director/Producer: Bing Liu. Producer: Diane Quon)
2018 IDA Documentary Awards Best Short Winner
Zion (Netflix. Director/Producer: Floyd Russ. Producer: Carter Collins)
2018 IDA Documentary Awards Series Winners
Best Curated Series Winner
POV (POV/American Documentary. Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White)
Best Episodic Series Winner
The Trade (Showtime. Executive Producers: Matthew Heineman and Pagan Harleman)
Best Limited Series Winner
Wild Wild Country (Netflix. Directors: Chapman Way and Maclain Way. Producer: Juliana Lembi. Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Josh Braun and Dan Braun)
Best Short Form Series Winner
MEL Films (Executive Producer: David Freid)
Best Music Documentary Winners
MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A. (Abramorama. Director/Producer: Steve Loveridge. Producers: Lori Cheatle, Paul Mezey and Andrew Goldman)
Mr. SOUL! (Director/Producer: Melissa Haizlip. Co-Director: Samuel D. Pollard)
Best Audio Documentary Winner
Caliphate (The New York Times. Reporters: Rukmini Callimachi and Andy Mills. Producers: Andy Mills, Larissa Anderson, Wendy Dorr, and Asthaa Chaturvedi)
Creative Recognition Awards
Distant Constellation (Cinephil. Cinematographer: Shevaun Mizrahi)
Minding the Gap (Hulu. Editors: Bing Liu and Joshua Altman)
The Other Side of Everything (Writer: Mila Turajlić)
Best Music Score
Bisbee ’17 (Composer: Keegan DeWitt)
Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Cinema Guild. Composers: Scott Alario, Forest Kelley, and Alex Somers)
2018 IDA Documentary Awards Sponsored Special Awards
ABC News VideoSource Award Winner
John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls (HBO. Directors/Producers: Peter Kunhardt, George Kunhardt, and Teddy Kunhardt)
Pare Lorentz Award
Winner: The Silence of Others (Cinephil/POV. Directors/Producers: Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar)
Honorable Mention: The Distant Barking of Dogs (Cinephil. Director: Simon Lereng Wilmont. Producer: Monica Hellstrøm)
David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award Winner
Circle (National Film and Television School. Director: Jayisha Patel)