Nostalgia for the Light from Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman was named best feature Friday night at The International Documentary Association’s 2011 Awards at the DGA Theatre in West Hollywood. Event was hosted by avant-garde impresario Josh Fox, Sundance veteran/Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain and IDA Board President Eddie Schmidt. Documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker lent her DJ skills spinning live during the show. Les Blank was recognized for Career Achievement for a body of work encompassing the lives and music of people at the periphery of American society. Iraq and Afghanistan war photographer/correspondent Danfung Dennis received the Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award.
The inaugural ArcLight Cinemas Documentary Film Festival will unspool November 7-11 at Hollywood’s preferred venue for special screenings and industry events. The 10 entrants were chosen by fans who voted for trailers on Arclight’s YouTube page out of some 150 hopefuls that attracted more than 100,000 views and more than 30,000 votes. Selected docs range from a deep look into the world of YouTube, the beginnings of punk rock, UFC fighter Evan Tanner and “the idea” of God and others. Titles are Butterflies, We Were Feared, Once I Was a Champion, God in the Box, Unsigned, More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead, 13 Families, Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians, More Than Me and Rize N Grind. Winners will be chosen by four judges from the documentary and entertainment community: Rebecca Cammisa (Which Way Home), Rhadi Taylor (Sundance Institute), Marjan Safina (International Documentary Association) and Gretchen McCourt (ArcLight’s EVP of cinema programming), who conceived the event. The winning documentary will be revealed at a gala at ArcLight Cinemas Hollywood on November 12.
In September 2011, the Iranian government arrested six independent filmmakers for allegedly working with the BBC, on charges including espionage and treason. Along with the ongoing house arrest of director Jafar Panahi and the prior arrest of actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who was later sentenced to one year in prison and 90 lashes, the arrests sparked outrage from filmmaking communities within Iran and around the world. Prior to the release of two of the filmmakers, all six were denied access to their lawyers and families, who were forced to remain silent.
The following entertainment industry organizations stand united in their support for the rights of these artists and call for their immediate release.
Statement from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
As an international organization representing over 6000 artists in 35 countries, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is deeply concerned whenever and wherever the rights of filmmakers are threatened. The recent arrest of six Iranian filmmakers, the sentence of “one year in jail and 90 lashes” to an actress just for playing a role in an acclaimed film, and the continued house arrest of Jafar Panahi, among others, is a situation that demands our serious attention. These filmmakers – and others – are artists, not political combatants. We join our colleagues around the world in calling unequivocally