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2010 Cinema Eye Awards Celebrate Documentaries

Nonfiction film’s finest came out for Cinema Eye's third annual bash, the Cinema Eye Honors, at Manhattan’s glass-curtained Times Center. In an award ceremony itself worthy of a trophy — for Outstanding Achievement in Unscripted Vamping — the organization saluted a dozen top achievements in documentary craft and innovation. Louie Psihoyos' stealth inquest into dolphin abuse, The Cove, swept three medals, including for Outstanding Nonfiction Feature, Outstanding Production and Outstanding Cinematography.

Director Lou Psihoyos and dolphin trainer Ric O’BarryAmong the presenters were "goddaddy of American documentary" Albert Maysles, cinematographer and long-incubating director Ellen Kuras, former Cinema Eye winning filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev and animator Bill Plympton. In an 11th-hour swap of rhyming last names, documentarian Doug Block replaced comedian/filmmaker Chris Rock on the presenters lineup.

Veteran doc director Barbara Kopple conferred the Cinema Eye Legacy Award on Ross McElwee, for his 1986 classic, Sherman’s March. That the two-time Oscar laureate is famed for her prodigious amount of coverage whereas McElwee’s feature shoot logged a monkish 25 hours of footage was a gentle irony not lost on the gathered insiders.

Thom Powers, chair of the Cinema Eye Honors Nominations Committee and documentary programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival, held down a chat with McElwee, adducing added evidence of Cinema Eye’s unorthodox take on award do's.

One of the most memorable quotes of the evening came from presenter Peter Davis, whose landmark film, Hearts and Minds, won an Academy Award in 1975. Remembering a time "when the air was clean and sex was dirty," Davis surveyed the past and ongoing importance of nonfiction production.

Cinema Eye co-chairs Esther Robinson and AJ Schnack emceed, entertaining the black velvet and denim crowd with Mad Libs, apologetically earnest quotes and tender disses. "We all know awards are bullshit," copped Schnack in a welcome flash of jovial snark following one especially lengthy ramble.

Agnès Varda took the Cinema Eye for Outstanding Direction. Accepting the statuette on The Beaches of Agnès filmmaker’s behalf was her veteran production designer, Franckie Diago.

Animator/Presenter Billy PlymptonAnders Østergaard's smuggled footage expose, Burma VJ, bagged two awards — Outstanding International Feature and Outstanding Achievement in Editing — as did Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher’s October Country, a portrait of an American family that was decorated Outstanding Debut and Original Music Score.

The Audience Choice prize went to September Issue, RJ Cutler's off-wings probe of Vogue magazine. Jessica Oreck's debut feature, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo, won Cinema Eye Spotlight Award. The newly created Spotlight Award is bestowed as a corrective, to give proper due to a film that has flown under the domestic radar.

Two categories, Original Music Score and the Spotlight Award, were determined by a special jury that included Laurie Anderson and Jason Kohn, respectively.

Nearly 100 feature-length nonfiction films contended for this year’s Cinema Eyes. Documentary programmers from 14 film festivals in North America and Europe picked the nominees.

Committee members included:

Meira Blaustein (Woodstock)
Tom Hall (Sarasota and Newport)
Doug Jones (Los Angeles)
David Kwok (Tribeca)
Caroline Libresco (Sundance)
Janet Pierson (SXSW)
Sky Sitney (Silverdocs)
Sadie Tillery (Full Frame)
Heather Croall (Sheffield)
Fowlie (Camden)
Sean Farnel (Hot Docs)
David Wilson (True/False)

2010 Cinema Eye Honorees:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking
The Cove
Directed by Louie Psihoyos
Produced by Paula DuPré Pesman and Fisher Stevens

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Agnès Varda
The Beaches of Agnès

Outstanding Achievement in International Feature Filmmaking
Burma VJ
Directed by Anders Østergaard
Produced by Lise-Lense Møller

Outstanding Achievement in Debut Feature Filmmaking
October Country
Directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher

Outstanding Achievement in Production
Paula DuPré Pesman and Fisher Stevens
The Cove

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Brook Aitken
The Cove

Outstanding Achievement in Editing
Janus Billeskov-Jansen and Thomas Papapetros
Burma VJ
Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score
Danny Grody, Donal Mosher, Michael Palmieri, Ted Savarese and Kenric Taylor

October Country

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation (tie)
Bigstar for
Food, Inc.
Francis Hanneman, Darren Pasemko, Kent Hugo, Omar Majeed, Brett Gaylor + The Open Source Cinema Community for
RIP: A Remix Manifesto

Spotlight Award
Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo

Directed by Jessica Oreck

Audience Choice Prize
The September Issue
Directed by RJ Cutler

Legacy Award
Sherman’s March
Directed by Ross McElwee

For more information on both the awards and Cinema Eye go to:

Rooftop Films Seeks Support

As the 2009 Summer Series winds down, a severe gap in the budget threatens to drastically shrink its future programming. The organization must raise $70,000 by October to ensure that Rooftop Films can continue without compromise in 2010. Donations from supporters – whether it’s $1,000 or $100 or $10 – is crucial to that effort.

Bringing independent film to the diverse communities of New York City is central to its mission, which is why the 2009 Summer Series has gone ahead as planned despite major budget cuts behind the scenes. In fact, this has been a banner year for Rooftop – more premieres than ever before, groundbreaking partnerships with organizations like International Film Festival Rotterdam and Reel 13, and record audiences. By the end of the season, it will have presented more than 40 nights of incredible films in incredible locations.

Understanding that the economic crisis has affected audiences as well, buying tickets to a Rooftop show probably seems harder than it did a year ago. At this critical moment, though, it must ask for additional contributions to ensure that it can continue with  programs in the coming years.

To read more about the programs donations will support, visit the website at

NYC Galleries Open for Extended Hours

Installation view of Tatiana Kronberg, “Dream Body” at 321 Gallery

For those of you looking for some night time gallery browsing, participants of New York Gallery Open will be open for extended hours from 6 to 8PM on Friday, March 8.


Participating galleries include:

  • 17ESSEX
    Alina Tenser
    17 Essex Street
  • 321 GALLERY
    Tatiana Kronberg
    321 Washington Ave
    Dominic Musa
    28 Elizabeth Street, 3rd Floor
    D'Ette Nogle
    167 Rivington Street
    Scooter LaForge
    6 East 1st Street
    “No Body To Talk To”
    89 Eldridge Street

And many more!

The New York Gallery Open is a new initiative organized by the New Art Dealers Alliance to bring visitors, collectors, curators, and critics into over 50 art galleries, non-profits and alternative spaces around New York City during the week of March 4–10, 2019. New York City is filled with art galleries that are open to the public year-round, and the New York Gallery Open is an opportunity to call attention to this great resource.


To learn more, go to:

91st Annual Oscars Telecast Live on ABC Sunday: Who Will Win & Who Will Host?


There’ll be no host with the mostest on Sunday’s live telecast of the 91st annual Oscars from Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre – that is, unless rumors of Whoopi Goldberg being a surprise host are true. Variety has listed her as appearing, which means she must be recovered from a very serious bout of pneumonia. The plan in place is to have a totally disorganized extravaganza with literally a zillion presenters from the ranks of celebs and near celebs.

The awards have a worldwide audience in over 225 countries. It officially, and not a moment too soon, ends the exhaustive 2018 movie season. The fun gets underway at 8 P.M./Eastern, but not before the glittering red carpeat arrivals of bejeweled fashionistas with plunging necklines and designer loaners an hour before.

OscarsActressPresenters gilding the statue include: Awkwafina, Javier Bardem, Angela Bassett, Chadwick Boseman, Dana Carvey, Emilia Clarke, Daniel Craig, Laura Dern, Chris Evans, Tina Fey, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Keaton, Keegan-Michael Key, Adam Lambert, Brie Larson, Queen Latifah, Congressman John Lewis, Jennifer Lopez, James McAvoy, Melissa McCarthy, Frances McDormand, Helen Mirren, John Mulaney, Mike Myers, Trevor Noah, Gary Oldman, Sarah Paulson, Tyler Perry, Amy Poehler, Sam Rockwell, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph, Amandla Stenberg, Charlize Theron, Pharrell Williams, Michelle Yeoh, Serena Williams, and Constance Wu.

Many of the non-cinema names will introduce and share their reflections on the Best Picture nominees. “Movies connect us all,” Oscar producers Donna Gigliotti and multiple Emmy winner Glenn Weiss [longtime producer of the  Tony Awards and Oscars] said in a joint statement. “They move us, and they create moments and memories that unite us. We’re thrilled to assemble such an array of film lovers to the telecast.”

An attempt by ABC to tighten the show to two hours by having some technical and craft awards presented during commercials and later briefly presented failed. The idea was sort of akin to what the Tony Awards do in the first untelecast hour. It was met with dismay by the unions and viewers like you. The deluge of letters included comments such as: “I’m shocked and disheartened to learn of your decision not to include cinematography, editing, live action short, and makeup/hair”; “Are you nuts? Editing is the heart of filmmaking -- second only to writing and directing”; “The Academy has had its dark days, but this is one of the darkest!”; “I’m disheartened and appalled! It’s hurtful to those who work in the industry and sends a terrible message to the public that these elements of filmmaking are not interesting”; “What are you thinking? You must be on glue or something!”; “Don't ruin the tradition of 91 years of Academy Awards! Cinematography, Editing, Live action short, and Makeup/Hair are just as important as Best Picture, Actor, Actress, etc. It’s just disrespectful!”

There’s no way to add more commercials, as there wouldn’t be time for handing out awards.

Among the Best Picture nominees, The Favourite and Roma scored 10 nods each. Many are of the opinion Roma, which was shot in Mexico City and save for a sentence of English is spoken in Spanish should have been in the Foreign Film category (and it also is). No foreign language film has yet won Best Picture. Nine have been nominees. These include Grand Illusion (France), Z (France/Algeria), Cries and Whispers (Sweden), Il Postino (Italy), Life Is Beautiful (Italy), and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Taiwan/China).

Best Picture candidates represent the highest-grossing group in nearly a decade. The eight films earned a combined $1.35-billion at the domestic box office alone — and are still raking it in.

Glenn Close picked up her seventh nod for Best Actress. Lady Gaga nabbed her first Best Actress nomination for her impressive screen debut. After several comedic flops, Melissa McCarthy decided to go dramatic and, lo and behold, is nominated for Best Actress. Yalitza Aparicio, in her film debut after getting a degree in childhood education, is the first Indigenous and the second Mexican – following Salma Hayek in 2002's Frida, to receive a Best Actress nod.

Oscars19ActorSam Elliott, with a career spanning 40 years, receives his first nomination. Dick Cheney is certainly rooting for  Christian Bale in the Best Actor category, as every dentist in America must be for Rami Malek as iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. Spike Lee has finally been recognized in the Directing category.

The nominating committees chose to blatantly ignore Robert Redford, in what he said will be his final film in front of the camera, The Old Man and the Gun, and his co-star Sissy Spacek. It would appear, with a snub to Bradley Cooper, that A Star Is Born directed itself. Diversity, diversity, diversity, but one of the most diverse films, and a whopping box office champ worldwide ($239-million), Crazy Rich Asians, received zero recognition.

The honorary Governors Awards have been received by actress Cicely Tyson, composer Lalo Schifrin, and publicist Marvin Levy. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award was presented to producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall  (Spielberg films, Star Wars franchise).

The production designer for the 91st Oscars is Tony nominee David Korins (Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Beetlejuice). Seven-time Emmy winner Rickey Minor (formerly, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno) is music director. Writers are Mike Reiss, Matt Roberts, and Beth Sherman.  

Have you voted?

Nomination Highlights:

Best Picture: Black Panther, BlacKkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favourite, Green Book, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice

Actor: Christian Bale, Vice; Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born; Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate; Rami Malek, Bohemian Rhapsody; Viggo Mortensen, Green Book

Actress: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma; Glenn Close, The Wife; Olivia Colman, The Favourite; Lady Gaga, A Star Is Born; Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, Green Book; Adam Driver, BlacKkKlansman; Sam Elliott, A Star Is Born; Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?; Sam Rockwell, Vice

Supporting Actress: Amy Adams, Vice; Marina de Tavira, Roma [in case you’re wondering, she portrays the mother Sofia]; Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk; Emma Stone, The Favourite; Rachel Weisz, The Favourite

Director: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman; Pawel Pawlikowski, Cold War; Yorgos Lanthimos, The Favourite; Alfonso Cuarón, Roma; Adam McKay,  Vice

Animated Feature: Incredibles 2, Brad Bird; Isle of Dogs, Wes Anderson; Mirai, Mamoru Hosoda; Ralph Breaks the Internet, Rich Moore; Phil Johnston; Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

Original Screenplay: The Favourite, Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, First Reformed, Paul Schrader; Green Book, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly; Roma, Alfonso Cuarón; Vice, Adam McKay

Adapted Screenplay: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen; BlacKkKlansman, Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee; Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Nicole Holofcener, Jeff Whitty; If Beale Street Could Talk, Barry Jenkins; A Star Is Born, Eric Roth, Bradley Cooper, Will Fetters

Best Foreign Language Film: Capernaum (Lebanon), Cold War (Poland), Never Look Away (Germany), Roma (Mexico), Shoplifters (Japan)

Original Score: BlacKkKlansman, Terence Blanchard; Black Panther,  Ludwig Goransson; If Beale Street Could Talk, Nicholas Britell; Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat; Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman

Original Song: “All the Stars,” Black Panther, Kendrick Lamar, SZA; “I’ll Fight,” RBG, Diane Warren, Jennifer Hudson; The Place Where Lost Things Go,” Mary Poppins Returns, Marc Shaiman, Scott Wittman;

“Shallow,” A Star Is Born, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando, Andrew Wyatt, Benjamin Rice; “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch

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