Director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees claim trophies in London ceremony
Amy regained some lost momentum Sunday night in its quest for the Academy Award, winning the EE British Academy Film Awards top prize for documentary.
Director Asif Kapadia and producer James Gay-Rees collected the trophies for their film on the late singer Amy Winehouse, besting a documentary field that included Listen to Me Marlon, Sherpa, He Named Me Malala and Cartel Land.
Last weekend in Los Angeles Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman upset the favored Kapadia to win the prestigious Directors Guild Award for documentary feature.
In their victory speech at the BAFTA's Kapadia and Gay-Rees delivered a pointed message to British journalists about the way they treated Winehouse when she was alive.
"Everyone here knows someone who has struggled with addiction," they said. "So to the media in this country, next time someone special comes along let's try to be a little more grown-up about it."
One of the central points of Amy, as Kapadia told Nonfictionfilm.com recently, is that the singer's death was not somehow a "tragic inevitably" but the result of brutal treatment by the media and exploitation by people around her. The film makes clear how someone of Winehouse's nature -- whose artistic gift was inseparable from her sensitivity -- could be devastated by the caricature of her created by journalists.
Some tabloid writers and paparazzi belatedly understood the effect of their reporting on Winehouse, Kapadia told NFF.
"[They say], 'We never questioned it, we never knew she was human. We just do it because the audience wants it," Kapadia said. "[They] pass the buck over to the audience. The most popular TV shows, websites, newspapers are the most tabloid-y, the ones that build up [stars] and tear them down."
Kapadia is likely on a plane as we write, heading to Los Angeles for the Grammy Awards, which take place Monday night at the Staples Center.
Amy is in the running for a Grammy for Best Music Film, alongside What Happened, Miss Simone?, the Liz Garbus documentary about the late Nina Simone; Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, directed by Alex Gibney and co-produced by Mick Jagger; Dave Grohl's documentary series Sonic Highways, and The Wall directed by Sean Evans and Roger Waters.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.