Limited series from embattled Weinstein Company earns recognition; so does Leah Remini's Scientology series
The International Documentary Association revealed the first batch of nominees in the running for the 33rd annual IDA Awards, widely considered among the most prestigious honors in the nonfiction film arena.
In the best limited series category, among the contenders are Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath from A&E Network, and Spike TV's TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, which explored the tragic case of Browder, a New York teenager who was arrested on a minor charge then imprisoned on Rikers Island for three years without trial.
The Browder series was produced by The Cinemart and The Weinstein Company -- currently teetering on the brink of collapse in the wake of a sexual harassment and assault scandal involving co-founder Harvey Weinstein. He was fired by the company eight days ago and on Saturday the Motion Picture Academy expelled him from the organization. But the IDA Awards nominations are just one indication of how difficult it will be -- at least in the short term -- for the entertainment industry to inoculate itself from traces of Weinstein.
The IDA initially recognized only two executive producers in its nomination for the Browder series -- Jenner Furst and Nick Sandow. After an inquiry from Nonfictionfilm.com, the IDA sent out a revised press release, adding five additional E.P.s: Shawn "Jay Z" Carter, Julia Willoughby Nason, Michael Gasparro, Sharon Levy, and Chichi Senior. Conspicuously absent from the list was Harvey Weinstein.
IMDB credits Weinstein among the series E.P.'s, but only for two of the series' six episodes. A number of the other nominated E.P.'s, including Furst, Nason and Jay Z, are similarly credited on IMDB for just two of the episodes. The embattled Weinstein Company has dropped Harvey Weinstein's name for all of its current shows, including Project Runway. Whether that explains his absence from the list of nominees for TIME is unclear at this point.
Weinstein and Jay Z appeared on the red carpet together for the premiere of TIME at the Sundance Film Festival last January, an event covered by Nonfictionfilm.com.
On the Sundance red carpet Weinstein spoke little and said nothing regarding the Browder series. Jay Z, however, expounded on its importance.
"I believe this young man, his story, will save a lot of lives. What was done to him was a huge injustice and people see his story and realize like, 'Man, this is going on,'" Jay Z told reporters.
Apart from TIME and the Leah Remini Scientology series, the other contenders for the IDA limited series honor are Daughters of Destiny, The Keepers, and Chef's Table -- all from Netflix; The Defiant Ones from HBO; The Vietnam War from Ken Burns and PBS; CNN's Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, and two series about our solar system: MARS from National Geographic and Planet Earth II from BBC America.
The IDA announced it will present its Pare Lorentz Award -- named for the pioneering American documentarian -- to Marcel Mettelsiefen, director of the Oscar-nominated short documentary Watani: My Homeland. His film captured the emotional journey of a Syrian family who lost a father to the civil war and sought refuge from the violence in Germany.
Joe Berlinger, director of the upcoming Armenian Genocide-themed documentary Intent to Destroy, earned a special mention in the Pare Lorentz category. The Academy Award-nominated filmmaker serves on the IDA board of directors.
The IDA will announce nominees for best feature and best short, along with additional categories on November 1. The awards ceremony will take place December 9 on the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood [for ticket information, click here]
These are the nominees in other categories announced Monday:
ABC News VideoSource Award (editor's note: this award recognizes outstanding use of archival material)
Blood On The Mountain
Directors: Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman
Directors: Tim Golden and Ross McDonnell
Gravitas Ventures, CNN Films
Director: Bryan Fogel
Directors: Dan Lindsay & TJ Martin
Director: Vanessa Gould
Best Curated Series Award
Executive Producer: Mark Samels
Executive Producer: Anders Bruus
Executive Producers: Lois Vossen and Sally Jo Fifer
Executive Producers: Justine Nagan and Chris White
Executive Producers: Rachel Raney and Amy Shumaker
UNC-TV, South Carolina ETV, NETA and WORLD
Best Short Form Series Award
Field of Vision
Executive Producers: Laura Poitras, AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook
Field of Vision
Shorts on Time
Executive Producers: Julie Parker Benello
The Guardian documentaries
Executive Producers: Charlie Phillips and Lindsay Poulton
The New York Times Op-Docs
Executive Producer: Kathleen Lingo
The New York Times
The Secret Life of Muslims
Executive Producers: Joshua Seftel and Reza Aslan
David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
Director: Ray Whitehouse
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Director: Maayan Arad
National Film and Television School (United Kingdom)
How To Make A Pearl
Director: Jason Hanasik
UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
Man on Fire
Director: Joel Fendelman
University of Texas, Austin
Director: Priscilla Gonzalez Sainz
Note: this piece has been updated with the list of additional E.P.'s for TIME: The Kalief Browder Story as indicted in a revised press release from the IDA.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.