Apollo 11, American Factory, Advocate, One Child Nation also earn recognition
Films with an international focus dominate the nominees for Outstanding Documentary at the Producers Guild of America Awards.
Seven films earned nominations today, six of them that are set in whole or in part abroad. Among them are two documentaries out of Syria -- For Sama, directed by Waad al-Kateab and Edward Watts and produced by al-Kateab, and The Cave, directed by Feras Fayyad and produced by Kirstine Barfod.
Honeyland, about a woman in North Macedonia who harvests honey from wild bees, also made the cut. The film, winner of three awards at Sundance, was directed by Ljubomir Stefanov and Tamara Kotevska and produced by Atanas Georgiev.
The Guild’s awards have been established as a bellwether for the Academy Awards, as PGA winners often predict the winners at the Oscars.
Nominee One Child Nation, directed by Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang, explores the brutal enforcement of China's one child policy, which was in effect from 1979-2015. Wang, Zhang, Julie Goldman and Carolyn Hepburn are among the producers of that film. The PGA notes it is in the process of vetting each film to determine the producers who will be credited as nominees.
Advocate joined the exclusive list of nominated docs. That film, directed by Philippe Bellaiche and Rachel Leah Jones and produced by Bellaiche among others, focuses on Israeli human rights lawyer Lea Tsemel who has triggered controversy by representing Palestinian political prisoners.
American Factory, though set largely in the Dayton, Ohio area, was shot partly in China. The film directed and produced by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert examines the cross-cultural challenges that emerged when a Chinese auto glass company set up shop in an abandoned General Motors plant.
The one PGA nominee with an arguably more domestic focus is Apollo 11, directed by Todd Douglas Miller and produced by Miller, Evan Krauss and Thomas Petersen. It's the dramatic telling of the NASA mission that landed the first men on the lunar surface, told in real time from the launch to the safe return of the astronauts.
The Producers Guild’s Awards ceremony will take place January 18 (2020) at the Hollywood Palladium.
Leading up to the ceremony, nominees in the Sports, Children’s and Short-Form Program nominees will be announced December 19. Nominations for Theatrical Motion Pictures, Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures, Television Series/Specials, Limited Series Television and Televised/Streamed Motion Pictures will be announced January 7 (2020).
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.