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‘Flee’ Wins Top Award at IDA Documentary Awards

The prize is the second major doc award won by the animated Danish film this week


The Danish animated documentary “Flee” has been named the best nonfiction film of 2021 at the International Documentary Association’s IDA Documentary Awards, which were streamed in a virtual ceremony on Friday night.

The film, in which director Jonas Poher Rasmussen uses animation to disguise the identity of an Afghan refugee who fled to Russian and then Denmark, scored an unprecedented trifecta when it was nominated for Academy Awards in the Best Documentary Feature, Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature Film categories.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson won the IDA award in the Best Director category for “Summer of Soul,” his directorial debut. The film also won in the Best Music Documentary and Best Editing categories, making it the only film to win more than one award at the ceremony.


Other winners included Jimmy Goldblum’s “A Broken House” in the Best Short category, the series “Independent Lens” for Best Curated Series, “My Love: Six Stories of True Love” for Best Episodic Series and “Exterminate All the Brutes” for Best Multi-Part Documentary.

The Pare Lorentz Award went to Matthew Heineman’s look at the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, “The First Wave,” while the Courage Under Fire Award went to Indian directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh for “Writing With Fire,” which is nominated for the documentary Oscar alongside “Flee,” “Summer of Soul,” “Attica” and “Ascension.”

Roger Ross Williams was given the Career Achievement Award, while Ronan Farrow received the Truth to Power Award and Jean Tsien took home the Pioneer Award.  

Earlier in the week, “Flee” also won the top award at the Cinema Eye Honors, the other major awards show devoted to nonfiction filmmaking. In the 14 years that CEH has been in existence, the same film had won both awards only three times – and two of those winners, “Man on Wire” and “Citizenfour,” went on to win the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. (The third film that won both, “The Look of Silence,” did not win the Oscar.)


The winners:

Best Feature: “Flee”
Director: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Producers: Monica Hellstrӧm, Signe Byrge Sorensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie

Best Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”

Best Short: “A Broken House”
Director/Producer: Jimmy Goldblum
Producer: Matt Weaver, Richard Gephardt and Harrison Nalevansky

Best Curated Series: “Independent Lens”
Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer

Best Episodic Series: “My Love: Six Stories of True Love”
Executive Producer: Mo-young Jin, Andrew Fried, Dane Lillegard and Jordan Wynn

Best Multi-Part Documentary: “Exterminate All the Brutes”
Director/Executive Producer: Raoul Peck
Producers: Daniel Delume. Executive Producers: Remi Grellety, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Jamie Morris, Jack Oliver and Poppy Dixon

Best Short-Form Series: “Viral Dreams”
Producer: Georg Tschurtschenthaler
Executive Producer: Christian Beetz

Best Stand-Alone Audio Documentary: “VICE News Reports: Monaea, A 2020 Diary”
Reporters: Monaea Upton and Jen Kinney
Producers: Jen Kinne, Ashley Cleek, Adizah Eghan and Adreanna Rodriguez
Executive Producer: Kate Osborn

Best Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series: “Suave” from Futuro Studios and PRX
Reporters: Maggie Freleng and Julieta Martinelli
Producers: Maria Hinojosa, Maggie Freleng, Julieta Martinelli, Marlon Bishop, Audrey Quinn and Stephanie Lubow
Executive Producer: Maria Hinojosa

Best Music Documentary: “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
Director: Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson
Producers: Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent, David Dinerstein

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: “Seahorse”
Director/Producer: Nele Dehnenkamp
Producer: Christine Duttlinger

Best Cinematography: “Faya Dayi”
Cinematographer: Jessica Beshir

Best Editing: “Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)”
Editor: Joshua L. Pearson

Best Music Score: “Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground”
Composer: Roman GianArthur

Best Writing: “North By Current”
Writer: Angelo Madsen Minax

ABC News VideoSource Award: “Whirlybird”
Director: Matt Yoka
Producer: Matt Yoka, Diane Becker

Pare Lorentz Award: “The First Wave”
Director/Producer: Matthew Heineman
Producers: Jenna Millman and Leslie Norville
Director/Producer: Elizabeth Unger
Producer: Joanna Natasegara

Career Achievement Award: Roger Ross Williams
Pioneer Award: Jean Tsien
Truth to Power Award: Ronan Farrow
Courage Under Fire Award: Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, “Writing With Fire”
Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Cecilia Aldarondo