Asif Kapadia film wins on both sides of the Atlantic
The honors continue to pile up for Asif Kapadia. The director of Amy saw his film win two awards on Sunday alone.
First came Documentary of the Year recognition from the London Film Critics Circle. A few hours later, in Santa Monica, Calif., Amy was named Best Documentary Feature at the Critics Choice Awards.
The victories serve to strengthen the case for Amy as the frontrunner in the Oscar race for Best Documentary. Amy is now far and away the most honored nonfiction film released in 2015, but it hasn't secured every available award. The International Documentary Association gave its top doc honor to Joshua Oppenheimer's film The Look of Silence, which has also claimed a significant number of critics awards.
Amy, The Look of Silence, Cartel Land, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom are the five films in contention for the Oscar. The Academy Awards will be held February 28.
Kapadia appeared on Saturday at an event in Galway, Ireland called "Talking Documentary," where he discussed his film with moderator Pat Collins.
My brother, who attended the talk, said Kapadia described his documentary "as a kind of Bollywood film, with the songs emerging from the drama." My brother also said Kapadia explained that "he did not have a signed release from Amy's first agent, who is key to the film, until a week before it debuted in Cannes."
The director is due at the Sundance Film Festival this week, where he will serve on the jury for the World Cinema Documentary category [he brought his acclaimed documentary Senna to Sundance in 2010].
Kapadia has another important reason to attend the festival. He will unveil his new narrative film, Ali & Nino, a drama set during World War I in Azerbaijan, which will screen out of competition in the Premieres section.
"A sweeping, politically charged love story, Ali & Nino captures a place and time rarely seen on screen," Sundance programmers wrote in the festival catalogue. And they hailed Kapadia for his work in both narrative and documentary film.
They wrote, "He is a master storyteller in any genre."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.