The controversial art-world documentary "Exit Through the Gift Shop" was named Outstanding Nonfiction Feature at the Cinema Eye Honors in New York City on Tuesday night, with the film's elusive director, graffiti artist Banksy, submitting an acceptance speech that was read by producer Jaimie D'Cruz.
"It's great to be recognized by people who are so obsessed with the documentary genre," Banksy's statement said. "In other words, people who are even more socially retarded than myself." He also thanked those who worked on his film because "almost all of them did a good job."
"Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work" won the Audience Choice Award, while Lixin Park's China-set doc "Last Train Home" won awards for Production, Cinematography and International Film.
Voting for the Audience Choice Award was open to the public — and according to Cinema Eye co-founder Thom Powers, more than 10,000 votes were cast but only 58 votes separated "Joan Rivers" from the second-place film in a field that also included "Waiting for 'Superman,'" "Inside Job," "Restrepo" and "Exit Through the Gift Shop."
Other winners included Laura Poitras for directing "The Oath," Jeff Malmberg for the debut feature "Marwencol," and Andrei Ujică for the Spotlight Award winner "The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu."
Cinema Eye Honors' first Heterodox Award, which was created "to honor a narrative film that "imaginatively incorporates nonfiction strategies, content and/or modes of production," went to Matt Porterfield's "Putty Hill."
Winners at the Cinema Eye Honors, a four-year-old organization that honors a wider range of nonfiction filmmaking than the Academy's documentary awards, had very little overlap with honorees at December's International Documentary Association Awards, which gave top honors to Lucy Walker's "Waste Land." Poitras tied for the IDA's Humanitas Award and Malmberg won its Emerging Filmmaker Award.
Of the Cinema Eye winners, only "Exit" and "Gasland" are on the Oscar shortlist of 15 documentary features.
The Legacy Award went to "Grey Gardens," the landmark 1975 documentary recently turned into an HBO movie. "There must be somebody here with the money for my next 25 films," said 84-year-old director Albert Maysles when he accepted the award.
The ceremony took place at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City. It will air on the Documentary Channel on January 30.
NONFICTION FEATURE FILMMAKING: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP,
Directed by Banksy,
Produced by Jaimie D’Cruz
DIRECTION: THE OATH, Laura Poitras
PRODUCTION: LAST TRAIN HOME, Mila Aung-Thwin and Daniel Cross
CINEMATOGRAPHY: LAST TRAIN HOME, Lixin Fan
EDITING: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, Chris King and Tom Fulford
COMPOSING: THE SOUND OF INSECTS – RECORD OF A MUMMY, Norbert Möslang
GRAPHIC DESIGN: GASLAND, Juan Cardarelli and Eric Levy
INTERNATIONAL: LAST TRAIN HOME, Directed by Lixin Fan, Produced by Mila Aung-Thwin and Daniel Cross
DEBUT: MARWENCOL, Jeff Malmberg
SPOTLIGHT: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF NICOLAE CEAUSESCU, Andrei Ujică
AUDIENCE CHOICE: JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg
NONFICTION SHORT FILM: THE POODLE TRAINER, Vance Malone
LEGACY AWARD: GREY GARDENS, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Ellen Hovde, Muffie Meyer and Susan Froemke
HETERODOX AWARD: PUTTY HILL, directed by Matt Porterfield