Landfall, Sing Me a Lullaby Lead DOC NYC Winners

Wendy Tan in Sing Me a Lullaby
Photo by Jason Lee Wong


By Pat Mullen

Cecilia Aldarondo’s Landfall and Tiffany Hsiung’s Sing Me a Lullaby lead the winners from this year’s DOC NYC. The festival announced itsaward winners today with those films taking the Grand Jury prizes in the Viewfinders feature competition and Shorts competition, respectively. Landfall offers a community-based portrait of Puerto Ricans working together to repair their community in the aftermath of 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Sing Me a Lullaby is Hsiung’s personal account of finding her mother’s birth mother and restoring family ties. Sing Me a Lullably also had the distinction of being one of three Canadian films in DOC NYC’s prestigious Short List section. As the winner of the Shorts competition, Sing Me a Lullaby is now eligible in the Academy Awards race for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

Other winners among the DOC NYC films include Five Years North, directed by Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple, in the Metropolis section devoted to New York stories. Several award season contenders advanced their leads in the Short List competition awards with Garrett Bradley’s acclaimed Time winning the directing award and the courageous Welcome to Chechnya netting the producers’ award.

DOC NYC also announced today that its virtual festival would enjoy an encore run through Nov. 29. Many of the winners are available in the extended viewing window.

The full list of DOC NYC winners is as follows:

Competition

Viewfinders competition – Grand Jury Prize: Landfall, directed/produced by Cecilia Aldarondo and produced by Ines Hofmann Kanna

Jurors’ statement: “For its piercing yet poetic observational gaze, rigorous control in illuminating complex issues and the logics of disaster capitalism, and collaborative production with local activists, Landfall is the Grand Jury Winner of the Viewfinders Competition. The ambitious scope of this film transcends humanitarian narratives in weaving together present, past, and future visions of solidarity and resistance.”

Special Jury Recognition for Ethics of Care: Through the Night, directed/produced by Loira Limbal and produced by Jameka Autry
Jurors’ statement: “For its exceptional attention to the lived experience of caregivers, intimate narrativization with dignity, and fully inclusive approach to concretely uplifting the stories of its protagonists, Through the Night receives the Special Jury Recognition for its exemplary Ethics of Care.”

Jurors: Simon Kilmurry, Executive Director, International Documentary Association; Jolene Pinder, former Executive Director, Kartemquin Films; Abby Sun, Curator, The DocYard.

Metropolis Competition – Grand Jury Prize: Five Years North, directed by Zach Ingrasci and Chris Temple and produced by Jenna Kelly

Jurors’ statement: “For its use of a keen empathetic eye to capture individual stories and its ability to blend them to create a multi-dimensional, far-reaching portrait of a pressing issue, we recognize Five Years North with the Grand Jury Prize. The prolonged filming period not only shows the patience and dedication of its filmmakers, but reveals the nuance and complexities of the participants’ lives and stories.”

Special Jury Recognition for Best Use of Archival Material: Wojnarowicz, directed and produced by Chris McKim and produced by Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato

Jurors’ statement: “For its meticulous use of archival elements to enliven a life and its work, we recognize Wojnarowicz with a special jury recognition. The craft of the film beautifully mirrors the melding of life, art, politics, and the culture of New York City that defined its subject.”

Jurors: Clayton Davis, Film Awards Editor, Variety; Rachel Rosen, Selection Committee, New York Film Festival; Sky Sitney, Co-Creator/Co-Director, Double Exposure Film Festival/Director, Film and Media Studies Program at Georgetown University

Shorts Competition – Grand Jury Prize: Sing Me a Lullaby, directed/produced by Tiffany Hsiung

Jurors’ statement: “For its ability to evoke an emotional depth that takes you on an intimate journey that is both poignant and packs a punch, we give the Shorts Grand Jury Prize to Sing Me a Lullaby. In a brisk half hour, director Tiffany Hsiung navigates several complex lifetimes, honoring the relationships of mothers, daughters, and family.”

Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography: The Seeker, directed by Lance Edmands and produced by Kyle Martin and Sarah Tihany

Jurors’ statement: “For beautifully capturing its richly textured landscapes, transporting us to a seldom-seen experience, and propelling the storytelling in an impactful way, we present the Special Jury Recognition for Cinematography to The Seeker.”

Jurors: Jackie Glover, Head of Documentary, ABC News; Liliana Rodriguez, Artistic Director, Palm Springs International Film Society; Angela Tucker, filmmaker

Short List: Features:

Directing Award: Time, directed by Garrett Bradley
Jurors’ statement: “The jurors were moved by this stunning, longitudinal portrait of a family through time. Bradley’s direction and lens infuses this film with dignity, art, intimacy, memory, and meaning. Documentary filmmaking at its best!”
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Producing Award: Welcome to Chechnya, produced by Alice Henty, Joy A. Tomchin, Askold Kurov, and David France
Jurors’ statement: “The jury is proud to acknowledge the delicate touch, human care and creative gymnastics necessary to produce this powerful film. The filmmakers gained access to this dangerous world in which the film’s subjects took great risks, and then used innovative technology to protect them, allowing these men and women to share their heartbreaking stories and inspirational acts of bravery with the world. Hats off.”

Editing Award: Boys State, edited by Jeff Gilbert
Jurors’ statement: “The jury recognizes Jeff Gilbert for delivering an expertly crafted story that is both infused with great momentum and intimacy. Jeff has masterfully shaped an engaging and well-paced film that sneaks up on the audience and reveals a metaphor for the world of American politics on the big stage.”

Cinematography Award: 76 Days, cinematography by Weixi Chen and Anonymous
Jurors’ statement: “The jurors wish to shine a light on Anonymous and Weixi Chen for risking their lives to make this film in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, China. In harrowing circumstances, these two brave and determined individuals achieve beautifully executed verite footage and moving compositions, bringing this hospital and its unforgettable staff into stark relief.”

Special Jury Recognition for Truth to Power: Collective, directed/produced by Alexander Nanau and produced by Bianca Oana, Bernard Michaux, and Hanka Kastelicová
Jurors’ statement: “Kudos to the vision and tenacity of the film team that was able to elegantly realize this powerful portrait of a newspaper as it exposes a corrupt healthcare system and the influence of politics on the lives of Romanians. We deeply admire the formidable structure, attention to detail, remarkable access, and the fearlessness and determination of the filmmakers and their protagonists toward speaking truth to rotten power.”

Jurors: Heidi Ewing, filmmaker; Carla Gutierrez, film editor; Beth Levison, filmmaker

Short List: Shorts:

Directing Award: A Love Song for Latasha, directed by Sophia Nahli Allison
Jurors’ statement: “Director Sophia Nahli Allison implements a remarkable marriage of distinct vision and personal narrative. The jury is deeply moved by the bold and imaginative employment of elements to make visible to the world what so many forces have connived to make disappear. The place of one young woman in her community, her family, her friends – to make a personal story emotionally rich, relatable, and resonant for all audiences. Sophia Nahli Allison showed a director’s determination to use every element to bring her vision, her passion, and her community to the screen.”

Special Jury Recognition for Courage under Fire: Do Not Split, directed/produced by Andres Hammer and produced by Charlotte Cook
Jurors’ statement: “The jury could not ignore the tremendous tenacity and courage it took to turn such perilous events into a greater political narrative. We recognize the courage to capture the chaos as great events unfold in the individual and collective acts of resistance. We give this award for both the courage in production and the bravery of its final form and applaud the success of this endeavor.”

Jurors: Carol Dysinger, filmmaker; Chiemi Karasawa, filmmaker; Bernardo Ruiz, filmmaker

Visit the POV DOC NYC Hub for more coverage from this year’s festival.