'Flannery' Wins First-Ever Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize Ahead of World Premiere at Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
Prize comes with $200,000 finishing grant for film on writer Flannery O'Connor, directed by Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco
Flannery, the documentary about Southern "gothic" writer Flannery O'Connor, has been named the winner of the inaugural Library of Congress Lavine/Ken Burns Prize for Film, two days before its world premiere at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival in Arkansas.
The award will be presented to directors Elizabeth Coffman and Mark Bosco at a gala event at the Library of Congress Thursday night. The prize, which comes with a $200,000 finishing grant, "recognizes a filmmaker whose documentary uses original research and compelling narrative to tell stories that touch on some aspect of American history," according to a news release announcing the award.
The prize, the richest I'm aware of in documentary film, will be presented annually. It is funded by philanthropists Jeannie and Jonathan Lavine, in concert with The Better Angels Society and the Crimson Lion/Lavine Family Foundation.
Flannery is an extraordinary documentary that allows us to follow the creative process of one of our country’s greatest writers.
"[Flannery] is a beautiful and thoughtful reflection about the power of words and contemplation as well as the satisfaction that comes from a commitment to art and craft," Dr. Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, said in a statement.
Dr. Hayden selected the winning film from a half-dozen finalists, "in consultation with Ken Burns," according to the news release. The announcement marked the culmination of a multi-step process that began with 80 films submitted for consideration. The initial submissions were whittled to 10, which "were then reviewed by an internal committee consisting of filmmakers from Florentine Films [Ken Burns' production company] and expert staff from the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, the Library’s state-of-the-art moving image and recorded sound preservation facility."
The six finalists "were then reviewed by a National Jury consisting of: Edward Ayers, Tucker-Boatwright Professor of the Humanities and President emeritus at the University of Richmond; Andrew Delbanco, the Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies at Columbia University and President of the Teagle Foundation; Rachel Dretzin, co-founder of Brooklyn-based Ark Media and a principal producer, director, and writer with the Company; and Dawn Porter, an American documentary filmmaker and the founder of production company Trilogy Films."
Flannery kicks off the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival Friday evening, with the filmmakers expected to be on hand. Watch the trailer for the film here:
Flannery Trailer from Elizabeth Coffman on Vimeo.
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.