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I hope you've all been enjoying the festivities thus far! While DOC NYC is unfolding as I type this, the doc news cycle never sleeps. Cinema Eye Honors announced its slate of nominations, the Grierson Awards shared this year's honorees, the European Film Awards also announced their nominations and much, much more. Best of luck this week.
– Jordan M. Smith


Cinema Eye Honors Announces Full Slate of Nominations
Announced via press release: “Cinema Eye Honors, the organization founded in 2007 to celebrate outstanding artistry and craft in nonfiction filmmaking, today announced the full slate of nominees for its 16th Annual Awards Ceremony. Sara Dosa’s Fire of Love and Alex Pritz’ The Territory led all nominees with seven nominations each, tying the record for most Cinema Eye nominations in a single year. Shaunak Sen’s Cannes-winning feature, All That Breathes, received six nominations, and Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, winner of the Golden Lion at Venice, received four. All four films are nominated for Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, along with Daniel Roher’s Navalny and Payal Kapadia’s A Night of Knowing Nothing. Sara Dosa, Payal Kapadia, Laura Poitras and Shaunak Sen were all nominated for Outstanding Direction, along with Rebeca Huntt for Beba and Margaret Brown for Descendant. It’s the first time in Cinema Eye history that five women were nominated for Outstanding Direction. This marks the second nomination in the category for Margaret Brown, who was previously nominated for The Order of Myths. It’s the third Director nomination for Laura Poitras, who won the award both of the previous times she was nominated, for The Oath and Citizenfour.”

The Winners Across 18 Categories for the 50th Grierson Awards
Announced via press release: “Tonight, the winners of the 50th annual British Documentary Awards were announced in a star-studded ceremony at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall hosted by Rosie Jones and AJ Odudu. Films about subjects as diverse as autism, slavery, womens’ rights, the Arctic Drift and controversial rapper Kanye West scooped up the honours*. There were also two special awards: legendary documentary-maker, the late Roger Graef OBE, was named BBC Grierson Trustees’ Award winner; and founder of industry support group We Are Doc Women, Clare Richards, won The Talent Manager Grierson Hero of the Year Award. The 2022 Griersons were presented in conjunction with headline sponsors All3Media. The winners were spread between six broadcasters with the BBC taking five awards, Netflix won three, ITV and Channel 4 each took two and Apple TV+ and Disney+ picking up one apiece. The Best Student Documentary award went to a graduate from the University of Manchester.”

Here are the Nominees of the 35th European Film Awards
Little White Lies reports: “After an entirely virtual affair in 2020 and a hybrid event in 2021, the 35th European Film Awards ceremony will take place as an in-person celebration of filmmaking on 10 December in Reykjavík, Iceland. The three films leading this year’s nominations are Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or-winning satire Triangle of Sadness, Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s tender coming-of-ager Close, and Ali Abbasi’s harrowing Iranian noir Holy Spider, which have all scored four nominations each – including best film, director and screenwriter…Other acclaimed frontrunners nominated for best director include French filmmaker Alice Diop, whose extraordinary narrative feature debut Saint Omer won the Silver Lion at Venice, and Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski for his captivating love letter to the donkey, EO, which won the Jury Prize at Cannes. Nominations in the best documentary category include Simon Lereng Wilmont’s deeply affecting A House Made of Splinters, Susanne Regina Meures’ Girl Gang, Mantas Kvedaravičius’ Mariupolis 2, Paweł Łoziński’s The Balcony Movie and Mark Cousins’ The March on Rome.”

Month of European Film: 13 November – 10 December 2022
Announced via press release: “For four weeks, the Month of European Film, Europe’s own film and award season, celebrates the fantastic diversity of European film. Across Europe, thanks to our partner Europa Cinemas, flagship cinemas in 35 countries from Reykjavik to Athens, from Lisbon to Bucharest, but also including smalltowns and networks, highlight European films, presenting special programmes, events and dedicated retrospectives. At the same time, our partner MUBI presents a special focus on European films, allowing film lovers around the world to participate. The Month of European Film kicks off on 13 November with the European Arthouse Cinema Day and the European Film Academy’s Young Audience Award. Instead of a uniform catalogue, each participating cinema is creating a unique program according to their expertise and catering to their audience’s taste. The Month of European Film then culminates on 10 December in the 35th European Film Awards in Reykjavik. The ceremony includes the announcement of the nominations for the LUX Audience Award, bringing European films right back to the public and involving them in the vote for the winner.”

Is the Theatrical Market in Crisis for Feature Documentaries?
Geoffrey MacNab reports at Screen Daily: “Distributors and sales agents have given a stark assessment of what some are describing as a ‘crisis’ facing feature documentaries at the global theatrical box office. Since the pandemic, a few docs have done decent business in cinemas. Sara Dosa’s Sundance title Fire Of Love, for example, has been released widely in cinemas around the world. grossing over $1m to date in North America for National Geographic Films and Neon. Some have done great business: Brett Morgan’s David Bowie title Moonage Daydream has grossed approximately $11.6m to date. However, many others have under-performed. Exhibitors have become less willing to book documentaries or to give them the best screening slots. There is still a backlog of films from the pandemic period when cinemas were closed and cinemagoers who watch documentaries, and who tend to skew older, have not yet returned to theatres at pre-pandemic levels.”

Docs on Sports, Celebs Attract Bigger Audience
Addie Morfoot reports in Variety: "Prior to the advent of streaming, documentaries had a reputation for being, as Jerry Seinfeld put it at the 2007 Oscars, ‘incredibly depressing.’ Politics, the environment, warfare, and the farming industry were all topics routinely explored by documentary filmmakers for several decades. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple, and Disney have effectively altered the nonfiction landscape by seeking out documentaries that have mass appeal, which has in turn helped them build their respective audiences. Netflix has a knack for determining what will appeal to viewers. Tiger KingThe Last Dance and The Tinder Swindler were all released on the streaming service. Given the ongoing worldwide pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, America’s school shooting crisis, the yearly uptick in extreme weather events, it’s not exactly a surprise that viewers are attracted to nonfiction content that isn’t didactic. It makes sense that factual features and series about celebrities, sports, and music are all the rage. Ironically so are true crime documentaries focused on serial murderers, fraudsters and crypto criminals.”

Long Story Short 2023: Join Kickstarter’s Annual Celebration of Short Films
Announced via press release: “Launch a short film campaign and join a cohort of boundary-pushing, rabble-rousing, future-dreaming filmmakers doing the same. There’s no better place to launch a short film than on Kickstarter. And there’s no better time for shorts on Kickstarter than in spring. That’s because March 2023 sees the return of Long Story Short, Kickstarter’s annual celebration of short films and the visionary people who make them. Throughout the month, we’ll feature live short film projects from every genre—on the site, on social, and in newsletters. We’ll share new resources to help creators run successful campaigns, announce fresh opportunities from industry partners, and showcase some of the outstanding filmmaking and filmmakers we’ve worked with over the years. Since the launch of the first Long Story Short in 2020 we’ve seen 400 projects go through our yearly open call, generating more than $4M in pledges. These films join more than 8,000 short films that have been successfully funded on the platform since our launch 13 years ago.”

DOC NYC 2022

DOC NYC 2022: 10 Must-See Films at America’s Biggest Documentary Festival
David Ehrlich, Kate Erbland and Jude Dry write in IndieWire: “Never fear, doc lovers — DOC NYC, America’s largest documentary film festival, is not only back for in-person movie-going but also maintaining the hybrid format (read: virtual viewing choices, too) it embraced during last year’s edition. As ever, this year’s lineup encompasses a predictably wide range of subjects and stories, including everything from the inspiring tale of an uber-talented female surfer (opening night pick Maya and the Wave) to an animated documentary that covers entire centuries of insidious anti-semitic hate (closing night film The Conspiracy), plus a Barbara Kopple joint about the need to empower minority communities (Gumbo Coalition, one of two Centerpiece films) and a close look at life inside Cirque du Soleil after the early days of pandemic shutdowns (the second Centerpiece, Cirque du Soleil: Without a Net). The 2022 lineup includes more than 110 feature-length documentaries plus more than 100 short film offerings. If that wealth of options sounds daunting, the festival has cleverly assembled its sprawling lineup around a variety of topics. On offer: Themes as diverse as 'Celebrity' and 'Cities,' 'Journalism' and 'True Crime,' 'Outsiders' and 'Fashion.'”

13 Films to Catch at DOC NYC 2022
Natalia Keogan writes in Filmmaker Magazine: "DOC NYC, the largest documentary film festival in the U.S., kicks off this Wednesday, November 9. Featuring more than 200 films among this year’s roster, the fest will run in-person and online from the 9th to the 17th, with New York City screenings and events taking place at IFC Center, SVA Theater and Cinépolis Chelsea. Additional virtual screenings will be streamable for audiences across the U.S. until November 27. Whether you plan on attending locally or from afar, we’ve compiled a list of 13 films to catch at this year’s 13th edition of DOC NYC, sourcing from our own previous festival coverage while also highlighting films that we’re excited to catch for the first time ourselves.”

Hammer to Nail’s Top 13 Picks At DOC NYC 2022
Lauren Wissot and Christopher Reed write at Hammer to Nail: “DOC NYC, ‘America’s largest documentary festival’ is back this year for its 13th edition, so Hammer to Nail has picked 13 docs that we’re most excited about. Happening both in-person November 9-17 at IFC Center, SVA Theatre and Cinépolis Chelsea, and continuing virtually through November 27 – with a lineup featuring over 200 films and dozens of events (including the new ‘Meet the Press Film Festival’, a one-day fest within the fest that matches filmmakers with NBC news correspondents for post-screening discussions). The sheer number of films can leave even the most strategic cinephile feeling a bit like the world-champion Brazilian surfing star of Stephanie Johnes’ opening nighter Maya and the Wave. For those seeking some eclectic and foolproof suggestions for a less overwhelming, but no less thrilling, viewing time at this 13th edition you’re in luck.”

DOC NYC Documentary Film Festival Returns: Real Life on Screens and At Home
David Morgan reports for CBS News: "DOC NYC, America's largest documentary film festival, returns for its 13th year, with screenings both in New York City and online. The festival showcases an international lineup of more than 200 feature-length and short films, including many international, North American and New York City premieres. Held in-person today through November 27 at venues throughout New York City, the festival also has selected films streaming online through November 27…The festival's opening night feature is Maya and the Wave, Stephanie Johnes' portrait of world-champion Brazilian surfer Maya Gabeira. Dawn Porter's Cirque Du Soleil: Without a Net follows the circus troupe preparing to return a year after being shut down by the coronavirus pandemic. Gumbo Coalition, by two-time Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple, is about activists fighting for racial justice in the era of Trump and COVID. Werner Herzog's Theater of Thought examines the mysteries of the brain. Rory Kennedy's The Volcano: Rescue From Whakaari recounts the 2019 disaster in New Zealand in which nearly two dozen people died. The Conspiracy is Maxim Pozdorovkin's exploration of the origins of antisemitic conspiracy theories. In While We Watched Indian journalist Ravish Kumar discusses the threats facing journalists, in India and around the globe. Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage? is a profile of the Tony Award-winning actress, singer and working mom.”

IDFA Chief Orwa Nyrabia on ‘Creating a Space for Alternative Expression’
Addie Morfoot spoke with Nyrabia for Variety: "As an artistic director or as any senior programmer at a premiere festival, I do not believe that our job is to look only at what we see on screen. There is context, and context is important because what we do is political. When we show a film, we are contributing to the discussion. We cannot say that it is none of my business. But then it is of course very delicate to make sure that this responsibility does not become censorship and also does not become paranoia. I think the problem today is that often we’re so scared of controversy that we cancel a film before really examining it. Or we take a bit of an old school approach and say, ‘I don’t give a shit about what they think. It’s a good film.’ Neither approach is good. Every film is a special case.”

IDFA Industry: dok.incubator Presentation
Nick Cunningham reports at Business Doc Europe: “Based in Prague, the dok.incubator think-tank was launched in 2010 to strengthen the creative doc industry by ‘bringing new impulses and top-class know-how including the use of the new media and internet platforms to the international community of filmmakers.’ As project director Andrea Prenghyová observes, maintaining the drive and impetus of a project can be taxing for the filmmaking team. As a release date or festival deadline approaches, the pressure only increases, which can have severe effects on the health and quality of the end product. The initiative grew out of a conversation that Prenghyová had with the then director of DOK Leipzig, Claas Danielsen, when the latter observed how so many more films could have been considered for selection had they not been rushed, if only the filmmakers had more time and guidance to elevate then from the status of ‘good’ to something closer to ‘exceptional.’”

Rachel Gordon & James-Michael Boyer Explain Doc Educational Distribution
Scott Macaulay writes in Filmmaker Magazine: "Rachel Gordon, author of the recently published and recommended The Documentary Distribution Toolkit: How to Get Out, Get Seen, and Get an Audience and James Boyer, director of operations at distributor Collective Eye Films, join D-Word founder Doug Block for this useful conversation about documentary distribution and all of its related subjects. In the talk, Boyer talks about things like needed deliverables, how his company makes acquisitions and the role of festivals in launching films, and Gordon talks about the realities of self-distribution, grassroots marketing techniques, and identifying and interacting with educational instructors who may be able to place films on syllabuses or screen in classrooms. Gordon’s informative book, The Documentary Distribution Toolkit, goes much further, offering details — culled from both personal experience as well as the testimony of other filmmakers — on crowdfunding, the doc world ecosystem and partnering with community organizations, among other topics.”

The 17 Best Documentaries to Watch As You’re Falling Asleep
Roxana Hadadi and Carrie Wittmer write at Vulture: “By this point, we’re all familiar with the prevailing conventional wisdom that looking at screens before bed is bad for us; it is one of the great sources of societal guilt since we nevertheless all use our devices before bed. However, on further exploration of that notion, we’ve learned that things aren’t so cut and dried — there are a variety of perspectives on devices before bed, including the straightforward idea that if using a screen before bed relaxes you, that will certainly help with the quality of your sleep. With that in mind, we’ve created a set of entertainment recommendations that align with what we’ve learned from sleep scientists: Anything you watch before bed should be ‘low-challenge shows’: nothing too dynamic, too scary, or too engrossing, lest you become invested and delay your bedtime. You want to avoid ‘agitation,’ so no social media, porn, or anything that would otherwise contribute to “performance anxiety,” in the words of sleep doctor Dr. Janet Kennedy, and nothing with lots of characters or intricate plots to follow. Media that doesn’t contain a clean end point (anything highly serialized, plus basically all social media) is bad. We made three lists (for TV shows, movies, and documentaries) that meet that criteria — and since we keep hearing about people consuming horror media before bed, despite it running counter to every scientific recommendation, we also put together a list of good scary stuff. Almost more than almost any single category, though, documentaries can prove ideal for falling asleep to. Here are some of our favorites. Don’t forget to watch them in your waking hours too.”
Crowdfunding has become an integral means of raising capital for documentary filmmakers around the globe. Each week we feature a promising new project that needs your help to cross that critical crowdfunding finish line.

This week's project:

Directed by
Timothy George Kelly

Goal: $8,765
The articles linked to in Monday Memo do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DOC NYC.
They are provided as a round up of current discussions in the documentary field.
As always, if you have any tips or recommendations for next week's Memo, please contact me via email here or on Twitter at @Rectangular_Eye.
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