The Departure, Motherland, Quest also contending for Film Independent's honors
If any more evidence were needed that it's a wide open awards season for documentaries, it came with the announcement of the nominations for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Of the five nominees for best documentary, only Faces Places (Visages Villages), directed by Agnès Varda and the artist JR, and Feras Fayyad's Last Men in Aleppo have factored widely in other awards show nominations announced so far.
Joining those two docs in contention for the Spirit Awards are The Departure, directed by Lana Wilson; Motherland, directed by Ramona S. Diaz, and Quest, directed by Jonathan Olshefski.
>The Departure tells the story of Ittetsu Nemoto, a Buddhist monk in Japan who has dedicated himself to convincing suicidal people they have a reason to live.
"But this work has come increasingly at the cost of his own family and health, as he refuses to draw lines between his patients and himself," the film's website states.
>Motherland focuses on "the busiest maternity ward on the planet," located in a medical center in the Philippines.
"In a hospital that is literally bursting with life, we witness the miracle and wonder of the human condition," notes the film's website.
>Quest is "a tender depiction of an American family whose journey is a profound testament to love, healing and hope," per the film's website. It has won awards at numerous festivals including Full Frame, Dallas, RiverRun and Hot Springs.
>Last Men in Aleppo tells the harrowing story of the White Helmets -- civil defense teams who rush to the aid of the wounded in the besieged Syrian city. The film won the grand jury prize for international documentary at Sundance last January.
>Faces Places offers a whimsical and touching journey through rural France, and a meditation on art and mortality from the 89-year-old Varda and her 34-year-old collaborator. The film won the top prize for documentary at the Cannes Film Festival in May.
The Film Independent Spirit Awards will be presented March 3, 2018 in Santa Monica, California, the day before the Academy Awards. The ceremony will air live on IFC.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.