The 2023 International Documentary Awards (IDA) were a breathtaking display of skill, story complexity, and cinematic genius in the glittering field of documentary filmmaking. In the face of global crises, this esteemed event—virtually presented by KCRW DJs Tyler Boudreaux and Raul Campos—proved the enduring and life-altering potential of storytelling.

The evening’s highlight was undoubtedly Bobi Wine: The People’s President, an appealing exploration directed by Christopher Sharp and Moses Bwayo. Bobi Wine, a musician, activist, and opposition leader in Uganda’s 2021 presidential race, was the subject of this masterwork, which not only won the prize for best feature documentary but also sparked a worldwide movement.

Also, Asmae El Moudir won best director for her work on The Mother of All Lies. This Moroccan treasure allowed El Moudir to reestablish a connection with her heritage by transporting spectators to a faithfully replicated Casablanca neighborhood. The complex relationship between one’s past and creative expression was on full display throughout the film.

The themes, genres, and storytelling styles showcased by the IDA Documentary Award winners are truly remarkable. All of the documentaries that were nominated were works of multi-faceted genius, from Incident — an intensive reconstruction of a police shooting in Chicago — to Smoke Sauna Sisterhood, Ants Tammik’s stunningly breathtaking film.

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Winners of the 2023 International Documentary Awards (IDA):

  • Best Feature Documentary: “Bobi Wine: The People’s President” (Directors: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp | Producers: Christopher Sharp, John Battsek)
  • Best Director: Asmae El Moudir for “The Mother of All Lies” (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)
  • Best Short Documentary: “Incident” (Director: Bill Morrison | Producers: Bill Morrison, Jamie Kalven)
  • Best Cinematography: Ants Tammik for “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)
  • Best Curated Series: “POV” (PBS | USA | EP: Erika Dilday, Chris White)
  • Best Episodic Series: “Our Planet II” (Netflix | USA, UK | EP: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey)
  • Best Multi-Part Documentary: “Dear Mama” (FX | USA | Director: Allen Hughes | EP: Lasse Järvi, Quincy “QD3” Jones III, Staci Robinson, Nelson George, Charles King, Peter Nelson, Adel “Future” Nur, Jamal Joseph, Ted Skillman, Allen Hughes, Steve Berman, Marc Cimino, Jody Gerson, John Nanick, Nicholas Ferrall, Nigel Sinclair)
  • Best Short-Form Series: “POV Shorts” (PBS | USA | EP: Opal H. Bennett, Erika Dilday, Chris White)
  • Stand-Alone Audio Documentary: “This Coal Life” (South Africa | Host: Lesedi Mogoatlhe | Reporter: Siyabonga Mokoena | Producer: Dhashen Moodley)
  • Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series: “You Didn’t See Nothin” (USA | The Invisible Institute, USG Audio | Host: Yohance Lacour | Producers: Bill Healy, Erisa Apantaku, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Sarah Geis)
  • Music Documentary: “Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes” (PBS, American Masters | USA | Directors/Producers: Ben Shapiro, Sam Pollard)
  • Cinematography: Ants Tammik, “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood” (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)
  • Editing: Carolina Siraqyan, “The Eternal Memory” (MTV Documentary Films | Chile, USA)
  • Music Score: Leonard Küssner, “Anselm” (Sideshow and Janus Films | Germany)
  • Writing: Kaouther Ben Hania, “Four Daughters” (Kino Lorber | France, Tunisia, Germany)
  • ABC News VideoSource Award: “Storming Caesars Palace” (USA | Independent Lens, PBS | Director: Hazel Gurland-Pooler | Producers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Nazenet Habtezghi)
  • David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award: “Lettre à Elie” (Letter to Elie) (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Alexis Grigorieff)
  • Pare Lorentz Award: “In the Rearview” (Poland | Cinephil | Director: Maciek Hamela | Producers: Maciek Hamela, Piotr Grawender)

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