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‘The Look of Silence’ Named Top Doc at Cinema Eye Honors

The film previously was named Best Documentary at the IDA Awards


“The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer‘s chilling look at the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s and a companion piece to his 2013 film “The Act of Killing,” has been named the best nonfiction feature of 2015 at the Cinema Eye Honors.

Oppenheimer was also named best director, while his film’s producer, Signe Byrge Sorensen, won an award for production.

While Asif Kapadia’s “Amy” has won the lion’s share of critics’ awards for documentaries this year, “The Look of Silence” also won the top award at the International Documentary Association’s IDA Documentary Awards, the other main honor for nonfiction filmmaking.

“Meru” won the Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize, the only award for which the general public was eligible to vote.

The award for the best first-time filmmaker went to Crystal Moselle for “The Wolfpack,” while the Spotlight Award, designed to bring attention to a little-seen film, went to “Toto and His Sisters.”

The Heterodox Award, which goes to a film that mixes fiction and nonfiction storytelling techniques, was awarded to Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s wry “Taxi.”

In the craft categories, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” was honored for its graphic design or animation; “Cartel Land” and “Meru” tied for the cinematography award; Laurie Anderson won the music award for “Heart of a Dog”; and “Amy” won for its editing.

“Amy,” “The Look of Silence,” “Meru,” “Cartel Land” and “Heart of a Dog” all made the Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary Feature.

The HBO doc “Private Violence” won the award for a nonfiction film made for television.

“Cartel Land” had led all films in nominations going into the ceremony, with five.

The Cinema Eye Honors were launched in New York City in 2007 to pay tribute to all aspects and crafts of nonfiction filmmaking. Cinema Eye nominees were determined by the vote of film-festival programmers around the world, while about 200 to 300 filmmakers, distributors, grantors, sales agents, curators and writers are invited to vote for the winners. (Full disclosure: I am a voter.)

The ceremony was held at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, and hosted by “Hoop Dreams” and “Life Itself” director Steve James.

The winners:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking: “The Look of Silence,” directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, produced by Signe Byrge Sorensen

Outstanding Achievement in Direction: Joshua Oppnheimer, “The Look of Silence”

Outstanding Achievement in Editing: Chris King, “Amy”

Outstanding Achievement in Production: Signe Byrge Sorensen, “The Look of Silence”

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography: (tie) Matthew Heineman and Matt Porwoll, “Cartel Land,” and Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk, “Meru”

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television: “Private Violence,” directed and produced by Cynthia Hill

Audience Choice Prize: “Meru,” directed by Jimmy Chin and Chai Vasarhelyi

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film: “The Wolfpack,” directed by Crystal Moselle

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score: Laurie Anderson, “Heart of a Dog”

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation: Stefan Nadelman and Hisko Hulsin, “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck”

Spotlight Award: “Toto and His Sisters,” directed by Alexandre Nanau

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking: (tie) “Buffalo Juggalos,” directed by Scott Cummings, and “Hotel 22,” directed by Elizabeth Lo

Heterodox Award: “Taxi,” directed by Jafar Panahi