2020 Award Winners

    Sponsored by The Reva and David Logan Foundation

    The Reva and David Logan Grand Jury Award was presented to Mayor, directed by David Osit.

    2020 Jurors: Alexandria Bombach, Steve James, and Dawn Porter

    Jury Statement:

    “It was a great pleasure to immerse ourselves in these thought provoking films. We are so heartened at this difficult time to see filmmakers expansive exploration of the documentary form. So our first note is a thank you to all of the filmmakers for providing us with a delightful distraction. Of all the films, we found one stood apart. Beautifully shot and edited, with a charismatic character made for film, the film Mayor has the virtue of being funny, gripping, and sobering all at once. Along with the portrait of a man, it is a portrait of the city of Ramallah. In showing the audience what it takes to be Mayor of this city, the film very effectively plunges us into the day-to-day reality of the city at a significant political moment.  And the grand opening of new water fountain becomes something of a symbol for the contradictions within this vibrant modern city attempting to prosper in the midst of Israeli occupation and subjugation. Does the fountain represent a kind of genuine hope in defiance, or a delusion that things appear better than they really are? Ultimately we loved this film’s central message of the optimism born of love of place.”


    Provided by Drs. Barbra and Andrew Rothschild

    The Full Frame Jury Award for Best Short was presented to Then Comes the Evening, directed by Maja Novaković.

    2020 Jurors: Mike Maggiore, Pilar Timpane, and Michael T. Workman 

    Jury Statement:

    “The jury for Best Short awards its prize to Then Comes the Evening, a breathtaking, tactile immersion into the lives and environs of two elderly women living in the hills of Eastern Bosnia. Director Maja Novaković demonstrates a masterful control of location, the elements, and the quotidian rhythms of pastoral life. In a film filled with imagery reminiscent of realist paintings, she gives audiences a visceral experience of the beauty and hardship of lives lived close to the earth.”


    Provided by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

    The Center for Documentary Studies Filmmaker Award was presented to Time, directed by Garrett Bradley.

    The CDS Filmmaker Award recognizes documentary films that combine originality and creativity with firsthand experience in examining central issues of contemporary life and culture. In keeping with the Center’s mission, the award was created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change.

    For the Center for Documentary Studies: Eric Barstow, Alexa Dilworth, Dorian Gomez, Wesley Hogan, Rhon S. Manigault-Bryant, Lynn McKnight, and Elena Rue

    Jury Statement:

    “This thoughtful, candid film pushes stylistically into new and magical realms with masterful pacing and a carefully constructed narrative and poetic portrayal of the deep, persistent damages that mass incarceration visits on black families in America. Weaving eighteen years of archival video diaries made by Sibil Fox Richardson for her incarcerated husband, Robert, together with present-day footage of the family, all in deftly crafted black and white, filmmaker Garrett Bradley has achieved a timeless meditation on time itself—marked by memory, beauty, transition, void, and gravity.”


    Provided by the Charles E. Guggenheim Family

    The Charles E. Guggenheim Emerging Artist Award was presented to Time, directed by Garrett Bradley.

    This prize is awarded to a first-time documentary feature filmmaker as a way to foster the work of new directors, young and old. It recognizes the extraordinary care that Charles Guggenheim took with the filmmakers whom he mentored and counseled throughout the filmmaking process.

    2020 Jurors: Juan Pablo González, Jacqueline Olive, and Lana Wilson

    Jury Statement:

    “We present the Charles E. Guggenheim Award to Time, a philosophical, luminous film that intersects the political, the social, and the familial. The title refers not only to time served in incarceration—but also to how we capture and represent time in cinema. It flips between literal and metaphorical uses of time, and embodies the uniquely nonlinear sense of time that exists in the Big Easy, which permeates every aspect of the film. Urgent in the context of a system of mass incarceration that incessantly denies their humanity, Time’s power is in the story of a family who insists on moving forward.”


    Sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University

     The Franklin Humanities Institute Award was presented to Riafn, directed by Hannes Lang.

    This award is presented to a short film that highlights documentary as a formally inventive artistic medium. The prize recognizes significant innovation and excellence in areas including cinematography, sound design, style, structure, and other aesthetic dimensions.

    For the Franklin Humanities Institute: Eric Barstow, Josh Gibson, Shambhavi Kaul, Ranjana Khanna, Negar Mottahedeh, and Jennifer Zhou

    Jury Statement:

    “The jury of the Franklin Humanities Institute Award is delighted to select Riafn for its inaugural prize for cinematic excellence in a short documentary. The jury commented on the film’s technical accomplishment. The film was inspiring in this time of social distancing in presenting the potential of editing to consider creativity across distance. The angles of the camera, the quality of sound, and the synthesis of images and sounds—their call and response—is affecting and rigorous. We experience a theatrical construction that describes, with precision, a cultural practice, without overstatement of context or narrative. The film’s integrity rests on its artistic quality rather than a narrative, and its accomplishment in nonetheless documenting a cultural practice was commended by everyone.”


    Sponsored by Duke University

    The Full Frame President’s Award is presented to Saudade, directed by Denize Galiao.

    The President’s Award recognizes up-and-coming filmmakers; the prize is awarded to the best student film.

    Selected by representatives on behalf of the President’s office at Duke University

    Jury Statement:

    “This visually rich and poignant essay considers a family’s relationship across time and distance. Combining personal reflection with footage from past and present, the film’s intimate depiction of love also relays a profound sense of loss. For its deftly crafted exploration of the deep ties to home, the 2020 President’s Award is presented to Saudade directed by Denize Galiao.”

    Sponsored by the Julian Price Family Foundation in memory of Melanie Taylor

    The Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights is presented to Us Kids, directed by Kim Snyder.

    This award is presented to a film that addresses a significant human rights issue in the United States. By inspiring advocacy, increasing awareness, and promoting equity and justice, the winning film will honor the legacy of Kathleen Bryan Edwards’s passion and activism for human rights.

    For the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Family: Anne Arwood, Laura Edwards, Clay Farland, Margaret Griffin, and Pricey Harrison

    Jury Statement:

    “It was our honor to have the opportunity to watch nine terrific films about so many important issues. While we were inspired by the content and storytelling of all of the films, we chose Us Kids for the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award because it was a compelling portrait of kids who turned a horrific personal tragedy into a global movement that sparked change. The gun violence epidemic in our country seems at times to be insurmountable but the high school students who were the subject of the film channeled their sorrow and loss into an impressive political movement that not only influenced major political campaigns, but, conversation by conversation, changed the hearts and minds of many Americans in the process. The message of hope, and the energy these students brought to such an important and emotional cause was uplifting and inspirational.

    Congratulations to Ms. Snyder for another great film on these senseless tragedies. We hope she will not have to make another film about gun violence because the young people depicted in her documentary will have forced the change we so desperately need.”