Top IDA Doc Nominees Deal With Rock, Rape, Race, Riches – And Cows

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The International Documentary Association nominates "Searching for Sugar Man," "The Invisible War," "The Central Park Five," "The Queen of Versailles" and "Women With Cows" for doc-feature honors

Kirby Dick's wrenching military-rape documentary "The Invisible War," Malik Bendjelloul's touching music doc "Searching for Sugar Man" and Lauren Greenfield's damning tale of the super-rich "The Queen of Versailles" (photo below) are among the five films nominated for the International Documentary Association's top award for documentary features, the organization announced on Monday.

The Queen of VersaillesKen Burns', Sarah Burns' and David McMahon's tale of injustice in New York, "The Central Park Five," and the offbeat Tell Aulin and Peter Gerdehag film "Women With Cows" were also nominated for the award, which will be handed out at the IDA Awards ceremony on Dec. 7 at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles.

The ceremony will be hosted by magician and comic Penn Jillette.

Among the nominees for documentary short are three films recently shortlisted by the Academy:  Sari Gilman's "King's Point," Cynthia Wade's "Mondays at Racine" and Kief Davidson's "Open Heart."

The other two IDA nominees in the doc-shorts category are last year's Oscar nominee "God Is the Bigger Elvis" and last year's Oscar winner, "Saving Face."

The five fearture-film nominees make up a fairly mainstream list, and are a departure from 2011, when none of the IDA's nominees received Oscar nominations or figured prominently on the box-office charts.

"The Queen of Versailles" is the sixth highest-grossing doc of the year, with more than $2.3 million since its July release by Magnolia. "Searching for Sugar Man" is eighth, with more than $1.7 million since its release the same month by Sony Pictures Classics.

"The Invisible War" has grossed less than $100,000, but it spurred a change in Department of Defense policy after a screening for Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. "The Central Park Five," an examination of a 1989 miscarriage of justice in New York City, will be released in November by Sundance Selects.

"Women With Cows" is by far the least-known nominee, a beautifully shot and occasionally difficult-to-watch fly-on-the-wall look at two elderly sisters in Sweden, one of whom struggles to hang onto a number of cows despite increasing physical problems.

The five nominees were chosen by a nine-person jury that selected them from a shortlist of 20, which was itself chosen by IDA committees that narrowed the field down from the hundreds of eligible titles.

(Full disclosure: I was a member of that jury.)

Because of a different body of voters, a different eligibility period (July-to-June, not the calendar year) and a different nominating process, the IDA Awards often have little overlap with the Oscars – though in previous years, Lucy Walker's "Waste Land," Banksy's "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and James Marsh's "Man on Wire" are among the films that were recognized by both the IDA and the Academy.

Nominations for the other main award for non-fiction filmmaking, the Cinema Eye Honors, will be announced in November.

The nominees:

BEST FEATURE AWARD NOMINEES

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
Directors/Producers/Writers: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon
Executive Producer: Ken Burns
Florentine Films, Sundance Selects, PBS

THE INVISIBLE WAR
Director/Writer: Kirby Dick
Producers: Amy Ziering, Tanner King Barklow
Executive Producers: Regina Kulik Scully, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Women Donors Network, Teddy Leifer, Sally Jo Fifer, Nicole Boxer-Keegan
Co-Executive Producer: Kimball Stroud
Cinedigm and Docurama Films

QUEEN OF VERSAILLES
Director: Lauren Greenfield
Producers: Lauren Greenfield, Danielle Renfrew Behrens
Executive Producers: Frank Evers, Dan Cogan
Co-Producer: Rebecca Horn Black
Evergreen Pictures, Magnolia Pictures

SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Director/Producer/Writer: Malik Bendjelloul
Producer: Simon Chinn
Executive Producer: John Battsek
Red Box Films, Sony Pictures Classics

WOMEN WITH COWS
Director: Peter Gerdehag
Producers: Tell Aulin, Lasse Rengfelt
Writers: Tell Aulin, Malcolm Dixelius
Executive Producer: Malcolm Dixelius
Deep Sea Productions

BEST SHORT AWARD NOMINEES

GOD IS THE BIGGER ELVIS
Director/Producer: Rebecca Cammisa
Producer: Julie Anderson
Supervising Producer: Sara Bernstein
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
HBO Documentary Films

KINGS POINT
Director/Producer: Sari Gilman
Producers: Jedd Wider, Todd Wider
Co-Producer: Susannah Ludwig
Kings Point Documentary/Wider Film Projects

MONDAYS AT RACINE
Director/Producer: Cynthia Wade
Producer: Robin Honan
Co-Producer: Vanessa Bergonzoli
Supervising Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)
Cynthia Wade Productions

OPEN HEART
Director: Kief Davidson
Producers: Kief Davidson, Cori Shepherd Stern
Executive Producers: Geralyn Dreyfous, Rick Rosenthal, Nancy Stephens, Eric Dobkin, Barbara Dobkin, Sean Mewshaw, Desi Van Til, Damon Lindelof, Heidi Lindelof
Urban Landscapes Productions, Whitewater Films, Believe Media

SAVING FACE
Director: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Producers: David Coombe, Daniel Junge, Alison Greenberg, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Sabiha Sumar
Co-Producers: Aaron Kopp, Fazeelat Aslam
Senior Producer: Lisa Heller (HBO)
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins (HBO)
HBO Documentary Films, Milkhaus, LLC, and JungeFilm, LLC

BEST CONTINUING SERIES AWARD NOMINEES

AMERICAN MASTERS
Executive Producer: Susan Lacy
Series Producer: Prudence Glass
Supervising Producer: Julie Sacks
Coordinating Producer: Junko Tsunashima
THIRTEEN in association with PBS

INDEPENDENT LENS
Executive Producer: Sally Jo Fifer
Senior Series Producer: Lois Vossen
Independent Television Service (ITVS) in association with PBS

POV
Executive Producer: Simon Kilmurry
Co-Executive Producer: Cynthia López
VP of Programming & Production: Chris White
Series Producer: Yance Ford
Coordinating Producer: Andrew Catauro
American Documentary | POV in association with PBS

BEST LIMITED SERIES AWARD NOMINEES

BOMB PATROL: AFGHANISTAN
Executive Producers: Dan Cesareo, Doug DePriest, Vince DiPersio, Laura Civiello, Tim Rummel
Series Producers: Kathryn Gilbert, Joe Venafro
Producers/Shooters: Joe Venafro, Christopher Whiteneck, David D'Angelo, Scott Stoneback
Big Fish Entertainment for NBC/G4 Media, Inc.

GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD
Director/Producer: Martin Scorsese
Executive Producers: Scott Pascucci (Grove Street), Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Sikelia Productions), Margaret Bodde
Producers: Olivia Harrison, Nigel Sinclair
Supervising Producer: Blair Foster
Grove Street Pictures, Spitfire Pictures, and Sikelia Productions in association with HBO Documentary Films

ON DEATH ROW
Director/Writer: Werner Herzog
Producer: Erik Nelson
Coordinating Producer: Robert Erickson
Executive Producers: Dave Harding, Amy Briamonte; Andre Singer and Lucki Stipetic (Spring Films and Werner Herzog Film); Nick Raslan (Skellig Rock); Henry Schleiff and Sara Kozak (Investigation Discovery)
Creative Differences, Investigation Discovery

SLAVERY: A 21ST CENTURY EVIL
Directors: David Hickman, Tim Tate, Tom Phillips
Executive Producer: Jon Blair
Series Producer: Tim Tate
Al Jazeera English

THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION
Executive Producers: Sheila Nevins, John Hoffman
Series Producers: John Hoffman, Dan Chaykin, Sarah Teale, Tomek Gross, Alexandra Moss, Sonia Dulay Ricci
HBO Documentary Films and the Institute of Medicine, in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente
 

DAVID L. WOLPER STUDENT DOCUMENTARY AWARD NOMINEES
THE A-WORD
Director/Writer/Executive Producer: Lindsay Ellis
Producers: Kaveh Taherian, Clarinda Morales
University of Southern California

LA CAMIONETA
Director/Producer/Writer: Mark Kendall
Producer: Rafael González
Writer: Shannon Kennedy
Executive Producer: Esther Robinson
School of Visual Arts

CAPTIVE RADIO
Director/Producer/Writer: Lauren Rosenfeld
University of California, Berkeley

JULIAN
Director/Producer/Writer: Bao Nguyen
Executive Producer: Maryann De Leo
School of Visual Arts

MEANWHILE IN MAMELODI
Director: Benjamin Kahlmeyer
Producer: Boris Frank
Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg

ABCNEWS VIDEOSOURCE AWARD

BOOKER’S PLACE: A MISSISSIPPI STORY
Director: Raymond De Felitta
Producer: David Zellerford
Executive Producers: Lynn Roer, Steven Beer
Eyepatch Productions/Ogilvy, Hangover Lounge, Tribeca Film

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE
Directors/Producers/Writers: Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon
Executive Producer: Ken Burns
Florentine Films, Sundance Selects, PBS

THE FAMILY
Director: Hussein Elrazzaz
Executive Producer: Jon Blair
Al Jazeera English

HARVEST OF EMPIRE
Directors: Peter Getzels, Eduardo López
Producers: Wendy Thompson-Marquez, Eduardo López
Onyx Films, EVS Communications, Loquito Productions

WE ARE WISCONSIN
Director: Amie Williams
Producers: Kathryn Takis, Doug Pray
Executive Producers: Marge Tabankin, Bill Hirsch, Scott Verges
Bal Maiden Films, Peer Review Pictures, Public Interest Pictures

HUMANITAS DOCUMENTARY AWARD

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: THE AMISH
Director: David Belton
Producers: David Belton, Callie T. Wiser
Writer: David Belton
Senior Producer: Sharon Grimberg
Executive Producer: Mark Samels
Sarah Colt Productions for AMERICAN EXPERIENCE, PBS

BITTER SEEDS
Director/Producer: Micha X. Peled
Teddy Bear Films

CALL ME KUCHU
Directors/Writers: Katherine Fairfax Wright, Malika Zouhali-Worrall
Producer: Malika Zouhali-Worrall
New Video

HARVEST OF EMPIRE
Directors: Peter Getzels, Eduardo López
Producers: Wendy Thompson-Marquez, Eduardo López
Onyx Films, EVS Communications, Loquito Productions

THE VIRGIN, THE COPTS AND ME
Director/Producer/Writer:  Namir Abdel Messeeh
Writers: Nathalie Najern, Anne Paschetta
OWEDA Films, Doha Film Institute, Doc & Film International