Last night DOC NYC announced its award winners at the festival’s spotlight gala screening of Jon Shenk’s The Island President. Prizes were awarded by juries in both the “Viewfinders” and “Metropolis” sections; festival audiences also selected an official DOC NYC Audience Award. The evening concluded with a conversation between Shenk and Oscar-winning director, author and activist Michael Moore.
Scenes of a Crime was awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the “Viewfinders” section, a showcase of filmmakers with a distinct directorial voice. Directed by Grover Babcock and Blue Hadaegh, Scenes Of a Crime explores a miscarriage of justice in upstate New York. Explaining its choice, the jury noted that “In the tradition of the finest legal documentaries, Scenes Of a Crime isn’t content to just observe: With its astute editing and pacing, the documentary simultaneously draws the audience in as jurors, brings the interrogation process to life, and offers a searing, clear-headed examination of the problems of coercive interrogation and forced confessions.” An encore screening of Scenes of a Crime takes place Thursday, November 10th at 9:45pm at IFC Center.
The “Viewfinders” jury also gave a Special Jury Award to Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s Undefeated, the story of a Memphis high school football team. “With its extraordinary level of intimacy and its frank respect for the young men it follows,” the jury stated, “the film is suffused with the authentic tough love of its coach, a man who doesn’t view these kids as inspirational fables or symbols, but instead respects them as individuals who learn how to leave it all on the field.” Undefeated will be released by The Weinstein Company.
In the “Metropolis” section, composed of seven films that tell New York stories, Girl with Black Balloons was awarded the Grand Jury Prize. Directed by Corinne van der Borch, the film is a portrait of a reclusive artist and longtime resident of the famed Chelsea Hotel. In giving the prize, the jury cited the film’s “honest simplicity and integrity,” calling it “an authentic revelation. Through her loving telling of Bettina’s story, van der Borch achieved the ultimate objective of documentary film; she gave us a window into a fascinating world that we’d never be able to enter if not for her camera.” An encore screening of Girl with Black Balloons has been scheduled for Thursday, November 10th at 6:45pm at IFC Center.
The jury also singled out Laura Brownson and Beth Levison’s Lemon, about the poet and performer Lemon Andersen, for a Special Jury Prize. Calling the film “well-crafted, compelling and complex” and applauding “the intimacy of the portrait and the tenacious, no-judgments approach Brownson and Levison took to realize it.” Encore screenings of Lemon will take place Wednesday, November 9th at 2:00pm and Thursday, November 10th at 2:30pm at IFC Center.
The Grand Jury Award recipients in both the “Metropolis” and “Viewfinders” sections receive a 35mm Film Recording and Digital Cinema Package provided courtesy of DOC NYC’s major sponsor The Documentary Film Group at Technicolor – PostWorks NY.
The 2011 DOC NYC Audience Award went to Bess Kargman’s First Position, a look at ballet students who travel to New York from around the world to compete for awards and scholarships at the Youth America Grand Prix. First Position will be released by Sundance Selects.
Check out the schedule for the remaining two days of DOC NYC and get tickets here.