Bing Liu's Minding the Gap takes runner-up honor
More evidence of how unpredictable this awards has proven for documentary film.
Sandi Tan's film Shirkers earned Best Documentary from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Sunday, at least the fifth nonfiction film to claim a major prize leading up to the Oscars.
Shirkers tells the disturbing story of a theft committed against Tan when she was a teenager living in Singapore -- what might be called the theft of her innocence. In 1992 Tan and two friends set about making an ambitious feature film in a country with very little cinematic tradition, a slasher movie that Tan wrote and starred in. A mysterious man named Georges Cardona, an adult who had become Tan's mentor, directed the horror project. Then once it was finished he absconded with all the footage.
What happened to us was stranger than fiction.
"What happened to us was stranger than fiction. You could not make this up," Tan told Nonfictionfilm.com. Referring to Carbona she added, "He steals part of your soul. He was a vampire of cinema."
Bing Liu's Minding the Gap was named runner-up by the LA film critics group. It also won Best Editing honors, all the more impressive because it was up against fiction and nonfiction films in that category. Runner-up for the editing award went to Alfonso Cuaron's Roma.
On Saturday, Minding the Gap won Best Feature Documentary at the IDA Awards, underscoring a lack of consensus among critics and the doc community over what constitutes the foremost documentary film of the year. Previous awards have gone to Morgan Neville's Won't You Be My Neighbor? (Critics Choice Documentary Awards), RBG by Betsy West and Julie Cohen (National Board of Review winner), and Hale County This Morning, This Evening by RaMell Ross (IFP Gotham Awards).
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.