2022 Award Winners

DOC NYC is proud to announce the winners of the Audience and Juried Awards after the conclusion of the in-person portion of the festival’s hybrid 13th edition. DOC NYC’s online screenings run through November 27, with some 90 features available to stream across the United States, including 7 award-winning features; more than 100 of the festival’s short films, including all 5 shorts award winners, are also available online. Click here for a full schedule of available films. Learn more about our 2022 jurors here. View our past award winners here.


U.S. Competition: The jury selected from among eleven new American nonfiction films in this section.

Grand Jury Prize: Casa Susanna, directed by Sébastien Lifshitz and produced by Muriel Meynard.
Available online through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “Casa Susanna is a beautifully crafted film featuring hauntingly exquisite archival footage. Both cinematic and intimate, it offers a unique way into the trans experience by contrasting nostalgic and past stories through contemporary characters. This approach allowed us to understand how laws and perspectives have changed over the years. What’s more, multi-generational characters helped uncover complexity in the stories and surprising nuance. The film’s narrative elegantly captured the subjects’ resilience and ability to overcome adversity. The Casa was a compelling place of safety, warmth, individuality and camaraderie. The film’s archival material puts you into that world and serves as a time capsule to this moment in time.”

International Competition: The jury selected from among twelve new international productions in this section.

Grand Jury Prize: How to Save a Dead Friend, directed by Marusya Syroechkovskaya and produced by Ksenia Gapchenko, Mario Adamson.
Available online through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “For the International Competition prize, we recognize How to Save a Dead Friend as a truly exceptional film. Marusya Syroechkovskaya’s first-person tale of punk love in Putin’s Russia shines an urgent spotlight on a forsaken generation condemned to a seemingly endless cycle of drug addiction, mental health crisis, and suicide by the repressive structures of the regime. This fiercely candid and moving portrait of two lost individuals who, caught in a spiral of depression, found themselves in each other, begins as a straightforward memoir of a tragic relationship and soon blossoms into an expansive, archival mosaic of Russia’s restive and stifled youth.”

Kaleidoscope: The jury selected from among seven films in this section, which showcases essayistic and formally adventurous documentaries.

Grand Jury Prize: White Night, directed by Tania Ximena and Yollotl Gómez Alvarado and produced by Julia Cherrier, Mónica Moreno, Julio Chavezmontes.
Available online through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “We’re pleased to award this year’s Kaleidoscope prize to White Night for its patient, yet urgent emphasis on exhuming buried histories. Poetic pacing, resplendent sound, and expressive cinematography underscore the filmmakers’ thoughtful approach to wrestling with the nuances of community healing in the wake of natural disaster. We found ourselves struck by the intimacy of the relationship between the filmmakers and their collaborators”

Special Mention: Mother Lode, directed by Matteo Tortone and produced by Alexis Taillant, Nadège Labé, Margot Mecca, and Benjamin Poumey.
Available online through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “For its atmospheric clarity and attention to the human costs of extraction, the jury recognizes Mother Lode as a special mention. Stark neorealism blends seamlessly with flashes of the surreal and extra-reality, inviting the viewer to sit with the claustrophobia of capitalist precarity.”

Metropolis: The jury selected from among five films in this section, which is dedicated to stories about New Yorkers and New York City.

Grand Jury Prize: Fragments of Paradise, directed by KD Davison and produced by KD Davison, Elyse Frenchman, Leanne Cherundolo, and Matthew O. Henderson. 

Jurors’ statement: “Fragments of Paradise provides an intimate and intense portrait of an artist whose legacy is intrinsically intertwined with New York. The film offers an immediate and immersive experience of the inner life and history of the late artist Jonas Mekas. Viewers are given a chance to commune with this figure to whom independent cinema is so indebted, and despite covering decades of his life in art, the immediacy of his presence is so rich throughout the film, it almost feels like it’s in the present tense. A poetic film about a poetic artist, Fragments of Paradise twins its subject to great effect.”

Special Mention: In Search of Bengali Harlem, directed by Vivek Bald and Alaudin Ullah.
Available online through Sunday, November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “Films that reveal hidden histories, especially of a metropolis as well-plumbed as New York City, deserve to be celebrated, and In Search of Bengali Harlem is such a documentary. This film is remarkable in the way it tells the decades-long story of the Bengali community’s integration in Harlem, and the way Black and Brown people found each other, peeling back layer after deeply personal layer of one subject’s life. With a charismatic lead and beautiful musical accompaniment, this film provides a unique perspective of the immigrant experience and honors the singular place New York City has held throughout America’s history. ”


The Audience Award goes to 1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted a Culture, directed by Sharon “Rocky” Roggio and produced by Roggio and Jena Serbu. 
Available online through November 27.

Runners-Up (in alphabetical order): 26.2 to Life, directed by Christine Yoo and produced by Yoo, Carolyn Mao, Sara Jane Sluke, Hella Winston (available online through November 27); Gumbo Coalition, directed by Barbara Kopple and produced by Kopple, David Cassidy, Williams Cole, and Ray Nowosielski; Lazaro and the Shark: Cuba Under the Surface, directed by William Sabourin O’Reilly and produced by Bryan Bailey (available online through November 27); and Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story, directed by Jennifer Takaki and produced by Takaki and Linda Lew Woo (available online through November 27).


DOC NYC’s Short List for Features puts the spotlight on 15 documentaries representing the best of the year.

Directing Award: Descendant, directed by Margaret Brown.

Jurors’ statement: “Descendant is about finding Clotilda, the last ship that carried Africans to the United States after slavery had been abolished. In Margaret Brown’s hands, this story comes into full fruition. Committed to giving the descendants of the survivors of Clotilda the space not only to tell their story but to ponder and ask questions out loud, you feel their trust in Margaret – and in return, we put our faith in her too. This collaborative spirit between the seer and the seen bears witness to past horrors while connecting it to present injustices. ”

Producing Award: Retrograde, produced by Matthew Heineman and Caitlin McNally.

Jurors’ statement: “When almost every producing decision has life or death possibilities, when everyone is rushing to leave Afghanistan, and your film crew is rushing in, yet in spite of these dangers the the producers of Retrograde bring us into the war rooms and out onto the battlefield in a way we will never forget.”

Editing Award: Fire of Love, edited by Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput.
Available online through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “A wealth of archival riches detailing the professional and personal passions of volcanologists Katia and Maurice Kraft is handled with deftness and discipline by editors Erin Casper and Jocelyne Chaput. The awe inspiring footage comes together seamlessly with narration and sound, with a rhythm and pacing that leaves the viewer with the sense of the Krafts in communication and relationship with the volcanoes that were the loves of their lives.”

Cinematography Award: All That Breathes, cinematography by Ben Bernhard, Riju Das, and Saumyananda Sahi.

Jurors’ statement: “The cinematography in All That Breathes is the foundation for a film that feels both expansive and intimate. It is a bellwether for an impending apocalypse and an intimate exploration of two brothers’ commitment and care for living things amidst an existential climate threat.  Through the unflinching and patient lens of cinematographers Ben Bernhard, Riju Das, Saumyananda Sahi, we are called from the very first shot to bear witness and not look away.”

Special Mention: The Janes, directed by Tia Lessin and Emma Pildes, produced by Emma Pildes, Daniel Arcana, and Jessica Levin

Jurors’ statement: “For exceptional editing in making the historical reach of The Janes connect to and shed light on the present day fight for reproductive rights. In spite of women dying and going to prison fighting to get abortions, The Janes celebrates a culture of resistance that can be a winning strategy for us today.”


Shorts Competition: All new short films playing at the festival were eligible for the Shorts Grand Jury Prize,with the exception of DOC NYC U showcases and Short List: Shorts selections.

Grand Jury Prize: Holy Cowboys, directed by Varun Chopra and produced by Anna Hashmi and Varun Chopra.

Jurors’ statement: “Holy Cowboys stands out in terms of urgency and craft in filmmaking. The documentary brings to the fore how, under the guise of protecting cows and maintaining purity, acts of violence are used to terrorize a minoritized community. The jury commends Varun Chopra for his courage in making a film that is tragically universal.”

Special Mention: Will You Look at Me, directed and produced by Shuli Huang 

Jurors’ statement: “An emotional montage of nostalgic ramblings and parental verbal abuse, the latter sometimes laid over images of happier family memories and beautiful portraits of his mother to devastating and disarming effect.”

Special Mention: Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles, directed by Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk and produced by Daniel Lombroso. 

Jurors’ statement: “Through liturgy, trauma and the works of mercy, the movie provides a window into the invasion in Ukraine where sculptors build anti-tank defense as the war rages in their country.”  

The 2022 winning Short film qualifies for consideration in the Documentary Short Subject category of the annual Academy Awards® without the standard theatrical run (provided the film otherwise complies with the Academy rules).

Holy Cowboys screens online as part of the Shorts: Animal Farm program; Will You Look at Me and Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles screen online as part of the Shorts: Process program; all are available through November 27. 

Short List: Shorts: DOC NYC’s Short List for Shorts highlights 15 documentary shorts that the festival’s programming team considers the year’s leading awards contenders.

Directing Award: As Far As They Can Run, directed by Tanaz Eshaghian, produced by Tanaz Eshaghian and Christoph Jörg.
Available online in the Shortlist Shorts: Our Family Portrait program, through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “The sensitive and nuanced portrayal of the families in this film showed tremendous directorial vision and perseverance. The story gives agency and voice to the participants who have long been marginalized by society. It was also empathetic to the caregivers and the incredible challenges they face. We found the exceptional directing in this film to be deserving of the Grand Jury Prize.”

Special Mention: Anastasia, directed by Sarah McCarthy, produced by Sasha Odynova, and Sarah McCarthy. Available online in the Shortlist Shorts: Migration Stories program, through November 27.

Jurors’ statement: “We award special mention for Anastasia’s beautiful and intimate camera work and its observational approach. The film provides a badly needed perspective: the human side of an important political story.”  

#MyJustice: DOC NYC partnered with Odyssey Impact® to present the #MyJustice Film Award to Long Line of Ladies, directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and Shaandiin Tome, and produced by Garrett Schiff, Zehtabchi, Sam Davis, and Pimm Tripp-Allen. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize and an Odyssey Impact National Social Impact Campaign, and is made possible with generous support from Paramount/Content for Change Academy.

Odyssey Impact® Statement: “For a female-directed, short documentary giving viewers a rare and stigma-breaking glimpse into a revived indigenous tradition of celebrating and normalizing period conversations of its young women coming of age. This story uplifts the Native American Karuk tribe of Northern California’s multi-generational community and, takes a significant step towards understanding Indigenous Rights and the worldviews of Native and First Nations Peoples. The film shines a much-needed light on the urgency of women’s equality for all.”

Available online in the Shortlist Shorts: Our Family Portrait program, through November 27.