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‘Look of Silence’ wins IDA Award for best documentary – SE Asia film finance still lacking maturity, development

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LOS ANGELES, Dec 6, (RTRS): “The Look of Silence,” Joshua Oppenheimer’s critically-acclaimed companion piece to “The Act of Killing,” won top honors at the International Documentary Association’s IDA Awards Saturday night. The film is one of 15 finalists squaring off for Oscar nominations this year.

Winning in the short category was Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman’s “Last Day of Freedom,” an animated account of Bill Babbitt’s decision to support and help his brother in the face of war, crime and capital execution, which is also on the shortlist of Academy contenders.

Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville’s “Best of Enemies,” about the 1968 televised debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley Jr., won a pair of awards: best editing and the ABC News VideoSource Award.

Actor and comedian Bob Odenkirk presented the org’s Pioneer Award to Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, while Danny Glover presented Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation with the Amicus Award in recognition of their work supporting the essential needs of the non-fiction media landscape. Filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow was also on hand to present “Cartel Land” director Matthew Heineman with the Courage Under Fire Award.

Full list of winners below.

* Best Feature Award: “The Look of Silence” — Director: Joshua Oppenheimer; Producer: Signe Byrge Sorensen, Drafthouse Films and Participant Media.

* Best Cinematography: “The Russian Woodpecker” — Cinematography by Artem Ryzhykov.

* Best Editing: “Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” — Edited by Joe Beshenkovsky and Brett Morgan.

* Best Writing: “Listen to Me Marlon”  — Written by Stevan Riley, Co-Writer Peter Ettedgui.

* Best Music: “Best of Enemies” — Original Score by Jonathan Kirkscey.

* ABC News VideoSource Award: “Best of Enemies” — Directors  Robert Gordon and Morgan NevilleMagnolia Pictures.

* Best Curated Series Award: “Independent Lens” — Executive Producers Sally Jo Fifer and Lois VossenITVS, PBS, “POV”  Executive Producers — Simon Kilmurry and Chris White POV, PBS.

* Best Limited Series Award: “The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst” — Executive Producer: Jason Blum Co-Executive Producer — Zac Stuart-Pontier Produced  Andrew Jarecki and Marc Smerling HBO.

* Best Episodic Series Award:  “Chef’s Table” — Executive Producers: David Gelb and Andrew FriedNetflix

* Best Short Form Series Award: “Do Not Track” — Executive Producer Hugues Sweeney National Film Board of Canada, Upian, Arte, and BR.

* David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: “The Archipelago” Director Benjamin Huguet The National Film and Television School.

* Best Short Award: “Last Day of Freedom” — Directors Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman.

* Pare Lorentz Award: “How to Change the World” — Director Jerry Rothwell.

* Career Achievement Award: Gordon Quinn

* Pioneer Award: Ted Sarandos

* Amicus Award: Tony Tabatznik and the Bertha Foundation

* Emerging Documentary Filmmaker Award: Lyric R. Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe

* Courage Under Fire Award: Matthew Heineman

Also:

LOS ANGELES: Multiple, different reforms are needed if film in South East Asia is to reach its potential as a business, delegates at ScreenSingapore were told.

After three days of conferences largely devoted to the small screen, Friday’s seminars within the Singapore Media Festival saw conversations turn to cinema.

The contrast of optimistic long term thinking and an obstacle-ridden near term reality was a frustrating pattern throughout a series of conversations that ranged from case studies to co-production and movie-marketing.

Problems include: a regional market that is currently too small to sustain commercial productions; an over-dependence on state subsidy and angel investors; and lack of structure and market discipline.

“We need to change mind sets that have been this way for 30 years,” said Kamil Othman, head of government film agency FINAS in Malaysia, a country where local movies had their peak in 2012, but have lost ground at the box office ever since. “When we tackled TV in 2009 Malaysia’s strategy was to first create an industry with small and medium enterprises and to let content to follow. In film we need to move to co-creation instead of subsidy.”

The disconnect between the industry and the marketplace in Malaysia may stem from a law which requires ‘compulsory screenings’ of local films, and a system where government broadcasters guarantee acquisitions.

“I have to go through due diligence to raise the money in the first place,” said Mohan Mulani, director at producer-financier Surya Ventures. “The industry needs to be much more disciplined once it has taken someone’s money,”

Chieko Murata, recently appointed by Sony Pictures to head a local film production initiative in South East Asia, said that the studio will necessarily proceed slowly as it seeks to find movie projects that are big enough and commercial enough to justify its involvement. “We will not be doing anything that is not suitable for the market,” she said.

Murata also identified auteur attitudes as a recurring problem. “Too often the director and the producer are the same person,” she said.

“Producers have been spoiled by non-professional investors, people who want tea with an actress or to get their daughter into the movies,” said Chan Gin Kai, a veteran producer-financier and executive producer of Silver Media Group.

“Hollywood has already developed a risk mitigation system model for film finance, there is no need for us to reinvent it,” said Leon Tan, producer, VFX provider and financier at DragonSlate Media. He suggested that more projects should be tested for commercial viability by the attachment of sales agents and distributors before going in to production.