The Alliance of Women Film Journalists announced seven nominees for a special EDA award, created to celebrate POV’s 25th anniversary. The winner will be announced at POV’s 26th-season launch party at its headquarters in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Thursday, June 6, 2013.
With this EDA award, the AWFJ will honor the best female-directed film from the curated program MoMA Selects: POV, a 25th Anniversary Retrospective, presented at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in February and March of 2013. A jury of five AWFJ members selected the nominees.
The nominees are Better This World (directors: Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway), Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter (director: Deborah Hoffmann), Dark Circle (directors: Judy Irving, Christopher Beaver), The Education of Shelby Knox (directors: Marion Lipschutz, Rose Rosenblatt), Granito: How to Nail a Dictator (director: Pamela Yates), Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (director: Freida Lee Mock) and Where Soldiers Come From (director: Heather Courtney).
AWFJ president Jennifer Merin noted, “For the AWFJ, and those of us on the jury, creating this special EDA award has been an extraordinary opportunity to revisit and recognize the women and films that POV has showcased. It is a reminder, too, of the importance of POV’s quarter-century dedication to airing compelling works at the highest level of documentary filmmaking.”
The jury includes Merin and AWFJ member film critics Leba Hertz (San Francisco Chronicle), Lisa Kennedy (The Denver Post), Sara Voorhees (NBC/KOB-TV, Albuquerque, N.M.) and Susan Wloszczyna (USA Today).
“It is exciting to have such an illustrious panel of journalists and critics reviewing POV films from our entire history,” said Cynthia López, co-executive producer, POV. “These female directors have not only told compelling personal stories, but have also created documentaries that have had a profound effect on the American and international political and social landscape. Jennifer Merin and the jury, through their long and varied careers, are real role models for women, wherever their paths may take them.”
Better This World – 2011. USA. Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway.
The story of Bradley Crowder and David McKay, accused of intending to firebomb the 2008 Republican National Convention, is a dramatic tale of idealism, loyalty, crime and betrayal. Better This World follows the radicalization of these boyhood friends from Midland, Texas, under the tutelage of a revolutionary activist. The results: eight homemade bombs, multiple domestic terrorism charges and a high-stakes entrapment defense. Winner, 2012 Writers Guild Award for Best Documentary Screenplay and Gotham Award for Best Documentary.
Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter – 1994. USA. Directed by Deborah Hoffmann.
This life-affirming exploration of family relations, aging and the meaning of memory and love chronicles the progression of a mother’s Alzheimer’s disease and the evolution of her daughter’s response to the illness. Deborah Hoffmann’s desire to cure the incurable—to assuage her mother’s confusion, forgetfulness and obsessiveness—gradually gives way to an acceptance that proves liberating for both daughter and mother. Nominee, 1995 Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature.
Dark Circle – 1989. USA. Directed by Judy Irving and Christopher Beaver.
This chilling, but ultimately hopeful, film explores how all of us have been affected by the nuclear age. Denounced by officials and shunned by broadcasters when it was first released, Dark Circle raised many issues that have gone on to become today’s front-page headlines.
The Education of Shelby Knox – 2005. USA. Directed by Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt.
A self-described “good Southern Baptist girl,” Shelby Knox pledged abstinence until marriage. But when she discovered that her town of Lubbock, Texas, had high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, she became an unlikely advocate for comprehensive sex education, and profoundly changed her political and spiritual views along the way. Winner, 2005 Sundance Film Festival Excellence in Cinematography Award: Documentary.
Granito: How to Nail a Dictator – 2011. USA/Guatemala. Directed by Pamela Yates.
In a stunning milestone for justice in Guatemala, former dictator Efraín Rios Montt is standing trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for his brutal war against the country’s Mayan people in the 1980s—and Pamela Yates’ 1983 documentary, When the Mountains Tremble, provided key evidence in bringing the indictment. Granito: How to Nail a Dictator tells the extraordinary story of how a film, aiding a new generation of human rights activists, became a granito—a tiny grain of sand—that helped tip the scales of justice.
Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision – 1994. USA. Directed by Freida Lee Mock.
This Academy Award-winning feature documentary captures a decade in the life of visionary artist Maya Lin, who was only 21 when her design for the Washington, D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial—polished black granite inscribed with the 57,661 names of those who died in Vietnam—was selected in 1981. The monument was attacked as “dishonorable” and “a scar,” but Lin remained committed to her vision, and her tribute to sacrifice and quiet heroism was built as planned. Since then, she has completed a succession of startlingly original monuments and sculptures that confront vital American social issues. Winner, 1995 Academy Award, Best Documentary Feature.
Where Soldiers Come From – 2011. USA. Directed by Heather Courtney.
From a small, snowy town in northern Michigan to the mountains of Afghanistan, Where Soldiers Come From follows the four-year journey of a close-knit group of childhood friends who join the National Guard after graduating high school. As the young men transform from restless teenagers to soldiers looking for roadside bombs to 23-year-old combat veterans, the film offers an intimate look at the Americans who fight our wars and the families and towns from which they come.
Leba Hertz reviews and writes features for the San Francisco Chronicle. She is editor of the publication’s movie section and serves as arts and entertainment editor for the newspaper’s Ovation and Sunday and daily Datebook sections. She earned her bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Michigan and a master’s in journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
After establishing a national reputation as a film critic at The Village Voice in New York, Lisa Kennedy returned to her native Denver in 2003 to become the film critic for The Denver Post. This past fall she was also named the daily newspaper’s theater critic. Kennedy writes reviews in print and for the Post’s blog Stage, Screen and In Between. She was voted into the National Society of Film Critics, a first for a Colorado reviewer, and has spoken on NPR’s All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. She has served on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism and has been a juror for Film Independent’s Someone to Watch Spirit Award, as well as being on the American Film Institute’s jury for selecting the best films of 2012. Her articles have appeared in a number of anthologies, including Rock She Wrote, The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock and Black Popular Culture. She is a graduate of Yale University.
Founder and president of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ), Jennifer Merin writes Documentaries.About.com, the nonfiction film section of one of the top 20 websites in the United States. She is the critic for the award-winning global news service Women’s eNews; edits Women On Film, the online magazine of the AWFJ; and contributes to Westwood One’s nationally syndicated radio show America In the Morning. She is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
Merin’s numerous freelance credits include USA Today, Us Weekly, The Christian Science Monitor, Ms., Daily News, New York Post and SoHo News. She has been a regular columnist for the Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, New York Press, Tribune Media and Creators syndicate. Merin has worked extensively in radio, serving as news writer and editor for ABC Radio Networks and an on-air reporter for NBC Radio and CBS Radio Networks.
Holder of an M.F.A. from the Tisch School of the Arts, Merin transitioned to journalism after a career in theater. As an actress, she performed at La MaMa, Long Wharf Theatre, the American Place Theatre, and with the Living Theater, Shirley Clarke’s Video Teepee and Shuji Terayama’s theater company in Tokyo. She was an O’Neill Theater Center National Critics Institute fellow, and the institute’s coordinator, and has taught theater and criticism at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Rhode Island.
Sara Voorhees has been a film critic on television and in print for 27 years. She currently writes reviews and makes special on-screen appearances for Albuquerque, New Mexico’s NBC-affiliate station, KOB-TV, where she began her career. She was nationally syndicated with Conus Communications until 2002, and wrote for the Albuquerque Tribune and Scripps Howard newspapers from 1990 to 2001. Voorhees is the membership director for the Broadcast Film Critics Association and serves on the board of directors of the Action Coalition for Media Education. Her novel, The Lumiere Affair, a mystery set at the Cannes Film Festival, was published by Simon & Schuster.
In almost 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her specialties include animation, musicals and comedies. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a film reporter, focusing on trends and profiles. Wloszczyna previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor’s degree in English at Canisius College and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
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The Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Inc. (AWFJ), a not-for-profit corporation, is an association of professional female movie critics, reporters and feature writers working in print, broadcast and online media, dedicated to supporting work by and about women—both in front of and behind the cameras—through intra-group promotional activities, outreach programs and by presenting the annual AWFJ EDA Awards in recognition of outstanding accomplishments (the best and worst) by and about women in the movies. In 2012, AWFJ launched a new program to present EDA Awards to women filmmakers in partnership with select film festivals and organizations, in addition to the annual year-end awards.
Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and beginning its 26th season on PBS in 2013, the award-winning POV is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. POV has brought more than 365 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. Visit www.pbs.org/pov.
POV has the honor of receiving a 2013 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the desJardins/Blachman Fund and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Special support provided by The Fledgling Fund and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KQED San Francisco, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.