‘OJ: Made in America’ Wins Top Prize at IDA Documentary Awards

Also at the ceremony, the MacArthur Foundation pledges $5 million to establish a project supporting documentary filmmaker journalists

Last Updated: December 9, 2016 @ 9:33 PM

ESPN’s saga about race, murder and celebrity, “O.J.: Made in America,” has been named the best nonfiction feature film of 2016 by the International Documentary Association, which presented its IDA Documentary Awards on Friday evening in Los Angeles.

The film, which had a qualifying run as a seven-and-a-half-hour film before airing in five parts on ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, won in a category that also included “Cameraperson,” “Fire at Sea,” “I Am Not Your Negro, “13th” and “Weiner.”

While “O.J.” has stirred up occasional arguments over whether it should be considered a feature film or a made-for-television miniseries, it has become the most-honored nonfiction work of 2016 in a time when the lines between film and TV are increasingly blurry in documentary filmmaking.

At the ceremony, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation also announced a $5 million grant to establish the IDA Documentary/Journalism Project, which is designed to support nonfiction filmmaking as a key part of contemporary journalism.

“The MacArthur Foundation supports independent inquiry and storytelling that helps to inform, engage and inspire the American public to think critically and deeply about the challenges we face as a nation,” said Kathy Im, the director of MacArthur’s journalism and media program.

“Support for this new fund at IDA is an expression of the Foundation’s enduring commitment to independent media, and part of a broader set of investments aimed at building strong institutions in the fields of nonprofit journalism, nonfiction storytelling, and participatory civic media.”

In other awards, Ava Duvernay’s “13th” won the ABC News VideoSource Award for the best use of news footage. “The White Helmets,” from “Virunga” director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara, won the IDA Award as the best documentary short.

In TV categories, DR TV’s “DR2 Dokumania” was named Best Curated Series, while Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” won the award for Best Limited Series. The Best Short Form Series award went to “Field of Vision,” from Charlotte Cook, Laura Poitras and AJ Schnack, while the Best Episodic Series category was won by Netflix’s “Last Chance U.”

The David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award went to Berkeley’s Daphne Matziaraki for “4.1 Miles.”

The evening’s other winners had been previously announced. They included the cinematography of “Fire at Sea,” the editing of “Cameraperson,” the writing of “I Am Not Your Negro” and the music of “The Bad Kids.” Nanfu Wang (“Hooligan Sparrow”) won the Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award, while Norman and Lyn Lear were honored for their support of nonfiction filmmaking.

The ceremony took place on the Paramount Studios lot and was hosted by Vivica A. Fox.

The winners:

Best Feature Award
“O.J.: Made in America”
Director: Ezra Edelman
Producers: Deirdre Fenton, Libby Geist, Nina Krstic, Erin Leyden, Tamara Rosenberg, Connor Schell and Caroline Waterlow
ESPN

Best Short Award
“The White Helmets”
Director: Orlando von Einsiedel
Producer: Joanna Natasegara
NETFLIX

Best Curated Series Award
“DR2 Dokumania”
Executive Producer: Mette Hoffmann Meyer
DR TV

Best Limited Series Award
“Making a Murderer”
Executive Producers: Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi
NETFLIX

Best Episodic Series Award
“Last Chance U”
Executive Producers: Joe LaBracio, Dawn Ostroff, Lucas Smith, James Stern and Greg Whiteley
NETFLIX

Best Short Form Series Award
“Field of Vision”
Executive Producers: Charlotte Cook, Laura Poitras and AJ Schnack
FIELD OF VISION

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
“4.1 Miles”
Director: Daphne Matziaraki
UC BERKELEY GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM

ABC News VideoSource Award
“13th”
Director: Ava DuVernay
NETFLIX

Pare Lorentz Award
“Starless Dreams”
Director: Mehrdad Oskouei
THE CINEMA GUILD

CREATIVE RECOGNITION AWARD WINNERS

Best Cinematography
“Fire at Sea”
Cinematography by: Gianfranco Rosi
KINO LORBER

Best Editing
“Cameraperson”
Edited by: Nels Bangerter
JANUS FILMS

Best Writing
“I Am Not Your Negro”
James Baldwin material compiled and edited by Raoul Peck
MAGNOLIA PICTURES, INDEPENDENT LENS

Best Music
“The Bad Kids”
Original Score by: Jacaszek
FILMRISE, ITVS

HONOREES

Career Achievement Award
Stanley Nelson

Pioneer Award
Ally Derks

Amicus Award
Lyn and Norman Lear

Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award
Nanfu Wang

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