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The People’s President’ Wins IDA’s Best Feature



Bobi Wine: The People’s President” took the top prize for best feature at the International Documentary Assn. Awards on Tuesday.

Directed by Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo, and produced by Sharp and Oscar-winner John Battsek, the docu follows the attempt by musician Bobi Wine to topple the repressive regime of Ugandan president Yoweri Museven. The film was acquired by National Geographic following its 2022 premiere at the Venice Film Festival.

In his acceptance speech, Bwayo said, “The awareness this film has brought to world audiences has arguably kept Bobi Wine alive and out of prison for now.”

The docu was one of 10 nominated in the best feature category.  

In the last five years IDA best feature winners “All That Breathes,” “Flee,” “Crip Camp,” “For Sam” and “Minding the Gap” each went on to garner Oscar nominations. The last two Oscar-winning documentaries — “Navalny” and “Summer of Soul” — were nominated in IDA’s best feature category.

During their opening remarks, Grace Lee and Chris Perez, co-presidents of the IDA Board of Directors, said, “While we are speaking from Los Angeles, our thoughts are with the people living in the midst of war around the globe. The loss of lives, friendships, and the inability to listen has been heartbreaking. And yet, as a community, we are storytellers of the world we live in and know that our work can not only capture history but change minds. To the thousands of IDA members who live in 76 countries and voted for the winners of the Best Feature and Best Short Documentary categories, thank you for investing your time and for your inspired choices.”

Moroccan director Asmae El Moudir garnered IDA’s best director prize for “The Mother of All Lies,” a hybrid documentary  about the lies that prevaded El Moudir’s childhood in Casablanca. The film made its world premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

Carolina Siraqyan took home the best editing award for her work on MTV Documentary Films’ “The Eternal Memory,” while Ants Tammik won the best cinematography award for “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood.” Both films debuted in 2023 at the Sundance Film Festival. Leonard Küssner garnerd the best original music score kudo for “Anselm,” the 3D documentary from the three-time Academy Award nominated director Wim Wenders. Additionally, Kaouther Ben Hania won the IDA award for best writing for her work on “Four Daughters,” a hybrid docu that tells the story of a Tunisian mother whose two elder daughters joined ISIS. “Anselm” and “Four Daughters” both made their world premieres at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

“Incident,” which reconstructs a Chicago police shooting in 2018, received the best short doc award. POV and POV Shorts received the best curated series and best short-form series awards respectively. This is the second year in a row that both PBS series have received the respective honors.

In all the IDA handed out awards in 18 categories. This year’s IDA Documentary Awards shortlists and nominees were selected by independent committees of 280 documentary makers, curators, critics, and industry experts from 40 countries. IDA received 669 total submissions in all categories from 48 countries.

Dominic Asmall Willsdon, IDA’s new executive director starting on January 8, 2024, delivered the closing remarks of the show and said, “In the coming years, across all that IDA does, our task is to become as international as we can be.”

The 39th annual event was hosted by comic-actor Jenny Yang and  live-streamed on IDA’s YouTube channel.

The winners are:

Feature: “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (Uganda | National Geographic Documentary Films | Directors: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp | Producers: Christopher Sharp, John Battsek

Director: Asmae El Moudir, “The Mother of All Lies” (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)

Short: “Incident” (United States | Hypnotic Pictures | Director: Bill Morrison | Producers: Bill Morrison, Jamie Kalven

TV Feature Documentary or Mini-Series: “Mariupol: The People’s Story” (BBC | UK | Director: Robin Barnwell | EP: Darren Kemp, Tom Stone | Producer: Hilary Andersson)

Curated Series: POV (PBS | USA | EP: Erika Dilday, Chris White)

Episodic Series: “Our Planet II” (Netflix | USA, UK | EP: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey)

Multi-Part Documentary: “Dear Mama” (FX | USA | Director: Allen Hughes | EP: Lasse Järvi, Quincy “QD3” Jones III, Staci Robinson, Nelson George, Charles King, Peter Nelson, Adel “Future” Nur, Jamal Joseph, Ted Skillman, Allen Hughes, Steve Berman, Marc Cimino, Jody Gerson, John Nanick, Nicholas Ferrall, Nigel Sinclair)

Short-Form Series: POV Shorts (PBS | USA | EP: Opal H. Bennett, Erika Dilday, Chris White)

Stand-Alone Audio Documentary: “This Coal Life” (South Africa | Host: Lesedi Mogoatlhe | Reporter: Siyabonga Mokoena | Producer: Dhashen Moodley)

Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series: “You Didn’t See Nothin” (USA | The Invisible Institute, USG Audio | Host: Yohance Lacour | Producers: Bill Healy, Erisa Apantaku, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Sarah Geis)

Music Documentary: “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes” (PBS, American Masters | USA | Directors/Producers: Ben Shapiro, Sam Pollard)

Cinematography: Ants Tammik, “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

Editing: Carolina Siraqyan, “The Eternal Memory” (MTV Documentary Films | Chile, USA)

Music Score: Leonard Küssner, “Anselm” (Sideshow and Janus Films | Germany)

Writing: Kaouther Ben Hania, “Four Daughters” (Kino Lorber | France, Tunisia, Germany)

ABC News VideoSource Award: “Storming Caesars Palace” (USA | Independent Lens, PBS | Director: Hazel Gurland-Pooler | Producers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Nazenet Habtezghi)

David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: “Lettre à Elie” (Letter to Elie) (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Alexis Grigorieff)

Pare Lorentz Award: Winner: “In the Rearview” (Poland | Cinephil | Director: Maciek Hamela | Producers: Maciek Hamela, Piotr Grawender)


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