Realscreen »Archive» DOC NYC Reveals 2021 Visionaries Tribute Award Winners

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DOC NYC unveiled the winners of its annual Tribute to Visionaries on Thursday, September 23.

The festival will award honors for lifetime achievement to Joan Churchill and Raoul Peck; the Robert and Anne Drew Award for Documentary Excellence will be presented to Peter Nicks; and the Leading Light Award will go to Chi-hui Yang, Senior Program Manager for the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative.

The annual Tribute to Visionaries will take place as a private in-person event on November 10 at Gotham Hall.

Churchill (photo, left) will be honored by DOC NYC for her distinguished documentary career as a director, cameraman and cinematographer. His directing credits include Aileen: The Life and Death of a Serial Killer, Soldier Girls and Juvenile Bond. She is also the first director of documentary-focused photography accepted by the American Society of Cinematographers.

Meanwhile, Peck (pictured, right) is being honored for his achievement with credits including Oscar-nominated I Am Not Your Negro, the four-part series from HBO Documentary Films Exterminate all the bullies, as good as Lumumba, Death of a prophet and Fatal assistance. Peck also spent 18 months as Haiti’s Minister of Culture, two years teaching at NYU and nine years as president of the French national cinema school La Fémis in Paris.

“When we began to share our thoughts on honoring Joan Churchill and Raoul Peck with some members of the documentary community, we heard passionate support for the two filmmakers,” said DOC NYC artistic director Thom Powers, in a statement.

“They are inspiring personalities not only for what they put on the screen, but also for innovating their careers for others to follow.”

Emmy-winning director, producer and cinematographer Peter Nicks will receive the Documentary Excellence Award, which recognizes a mid-career filmmaker or partner who excels in making observational films. Nicks is known for his immersive documentaries like The waiting room, Strength and Reception room, who explore healthcare, criminal justice, and education in Oakland, California. Nicks also recently co-founded Proximity Media with fellow Oakland-based filmmaker Ryan Coogler.

“Peter Nicks uses the best of observational cinema to tell large, complex, interconnected stories that are rooted in place and character,” said Jill Drew, CEO of Drew Associates, who created the award. “Bob Drew said he couldn’t make a film about a subject; a movie needs a memorable story and characters. Peter’s work honors this tradition.

The Leading Light Award from DOC NYC honors Chi-hui Yang, for her critical contribution to documentary in a role other than that of filmmaker. The Ford Foundation’s Senior Program Manager for the JustFilms Initiative provides grants globally in the areas of documentary film, new media and visual storytelling. At Ford, he helped found innovative fundraising initiatives such as Critical Minded, which supports and builds the capacity of cultural critics of color. strengthen the power of organizations and individuals rooted in communities of color and countries of the South.

DOC NYC’s Lifetime Achievement Award has honored individuals with a substantial body of documentary films including Martin Scorsese, Sam Pollard, Wim Wenders, Errol Morris, DA Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, Jonathan Demme and more.

Following its fully online edition in 2020, the DOC NYC Festival will run this year as a hybrid event both in person and online from November 10-18 at traditional festival venues in New York City: the IFC Center, the SVA Theater and Cinepolis Chelsea. DOC NYC’s online presentations will run through November 28 with online screenings available to viewers across the United States


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