Cinema Eye Honors Give Top Prizes to ‘Cameraperson’ and ‘Making a Murderer’

“O.J.: Made in America” wins awards for producing and directing; “Gleason” takes Audience Choice prize at documentary awards

Kirsten Johnson’s “Cameraperson” and the Netflix series “Making a Murderer” were the top winners at the 10th Annual Cinema Eye Honors on Wednesday night in New York City.

“Cameraperson,” an impressionistic memoir of sorts assembled from unused footage that cinematographer Johnson had shot for other director’s movies, was named the best documentary feature of 2016.

Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos’ Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” which was one of the television events of the past year, was named the best nonfiction filmmaking for television.

The Cinema Eye Honors, a New York-based organization devoted to nonfiction filmmaking, held its ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, with director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “The Interrupters”) hosting.

Ezra Edelman’s “O.J.: Made in America” won the awards for best direction and best production, while “Cameraperson” also won honors for its cinematography and editing.

The CEH Audience Choice Award, the one category open to public voting, went to Clay Tweel’s “Gleason.” More than 14,000 votes were cast in the category.

Nanfu Wang won the award for the best debut feature for “Hooligan Sparrow,” while the Spotlight Award for a film that deserves wider exposure went to “Les Sauteurs” (“Those Who Jump”).

Craft awards also went to “Tower” for its animation and graphic design, and to “Contemporary Color” for its music (an award shared by former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne).

Most of the Cinema Eye winners, including “Cameraperson,” O.J.: Made in America,” “Tower” and “Hooligan Sparrow,” are also on the 15-film shortlist from which the Oscar documentary nominees will be drawn.

Cinema Eye nominations are done by committees made up predominantly of film-festival programmers. The final vote is made by 200-300 filmmakers, distributors, programmers, grantors, writers, critics, sales agents and publicists who specialize in nonfiction film, along with past and current Cinema Eye nominees and jurors. (Full disclosure: I am a voter.)

Since the first Cinema Eye ceremony in 2008, only three films have won the Best Documentary Oscar and also the Cinema Eye award: “Man on Wire,” “The Cove” and “Citizenfour.”

The winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking:
“Cameraperson”
Directed by Kirsten Johnson | Produced by Kirsten Johnson and Marilyn Ness

Outstanding Achievement in Direction: Ezra Edelman, “OJ: Made in America”

Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Nels Bangerter, “Cameraperson”

Outstanding Achievement in Production: Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow, “OJ: Made in America”

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: Kirsten Johnson, “Cameraperson”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television:
“Making a Murderer”
Directed and Produced by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos
For Netflix: Lisa Nishimura and Adam Del Deo

Audience Choice Prize: “Gleason,” directed by Clay Tweel

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film: Nanfu Wang, “Hooligan Sparrow”

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score: David Byrne, Leeann Rossi and Aaron Rosenblum, “Contemporary Color”

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation: Craig Staggs and Keith Maitland, “Tower”

Spotlight Award: “Les Sauteurs” (“Those Who Jump”), directed by Estephan Wagner and Moritz Siebert

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking: “La Laguna,” directed by Aaron Schock

Heterodox Award: “All These Sleepless Nights,” directed by Michael Marczak

Legacy Award: “The Times of Harvey Milk,” directed by Rob Epstein