‘Apolonia, Apolonia,’ ‘The Mother Of All Lies,’ ‘Milisuthando’ Lead Way As IDA Documentary Awards Announces Nominees – Full List

Lea Glob’s documentary Apolonia, Apolonia earned a leading four nominations today as the IDA Documentary Awards revealed its nominees for the 39th edition of the prestigious event.

Following closely with three nominations apiece were The Mother of All Lies, directed by Asmae El Moudir, and Milisuthando, directed by Milisuthando Bongela.

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Apolonia, Apolonia, a personal exploration into the life and work of French artist Apolonia Sokol filmed over the course of 13 years, will compete for Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, Best Writing, and Best Editing. Glob’s film won the top prize at IDFA, where it debuted last November, going on to win awards at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the Sofia International Film Festival, among others. Despite its many laurels, the film has yet to land a U.S. distributor.

'The Mother of All Lies'
‘The Mother of All Lies’

The Mother of All Lies earned nominations as Best Documentary Feature, Best Director, and Best Writing. In the film, El Moudir and her father construct a model of their old neighborhood in Casablanca, Morocco, allowing the family to process trauma long kept buried by formidable matriarch Zahra, who dominates the household.


Milisuthando is a similarly personal story, the South African director’s exploration of growing up under apartheid, offering “a meditation on difficult questions about power, fear, intimacy and love as it relates to race,” as Bongela has written. It earned IDA nominations for Best Documentary Feature, Best Diretor, and Best Writing. [Scroll for full list of nominees in 18 categories].

Ten films compete for the marquee category of Best Documentary Feature. In addition to Apolonia, Apolonia, The Mother of All Lies, and Milisuthando, the contenders are:

  • Against the Tide 

  • ANHELL69

  • Bobi Wine: The People’s President

  • Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project

  • In the Rearview

  • Q

  • While We Watched

The nominees, for both Best Feature and Best Short, were culled from previously announced shortlists. The shortlists, as well as the nominees announced today, were determined by a vote of “independent committees of 280 documentary makers, curators, critics, and industry experts from 40 countries,” the IDA said.

In a typical year, the IDA Documentary Awards are held in a glittering ceremony in Los Angeles. The event will take place December 12, however it will happen virtually instead of in-person, a decision precipitated by the current moment of global conflict, the IDA said.

IDA Documentary Awards logo
IDA Documentary Awards logo

“In the wake of devastating events unfolding in the world and the grief our staff, board, community, and humanity at large are experiencing,” IDA Interim Executive Director Ken Ikeda wrote in a statement, “we have decided to forego an in-person party. We know that stories have the power to encourage compassion, understanding, and peace. We are committed to preserving space for stories to be shared. Our wish is to recognize and celebrate the nominees and winners together, as a global documentary community.”

A vote of IDA members will determine the winners in the Best Feature and Best Short categories. Members will have the opportunity to view each of the nominees and cast their ballots starting today and running through December 5.

These are the IDA Documentary Awards nominees in 18 categories:

Best Feature Documentary Nominees

Against the Tide (India | BBC Storyville | Director: Sarvnik Kaur | Producers: Koval Bhatia, Sarvnik Kaur)

ANHELL69 (Colombia | Square Eyes | Director: Theo Montoya | Producers: Bianca Oana, David Hurst, Theo Montoya, Juan Pablo Castrillon, Balthasar Busmann, Maximilian Haslberger)

Apolonia, Apolonia (Denmark | HBO Max | Director: Lea Glob | Producer: Sidsel Lønvig Siersted)

Bobi Wine: The People’s President (Uganda | National Geographic Documentary Films | Directors: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp | Producers: Christopher Sharp, John Battsek)

Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (United States | HBO Documentary Films | Directors: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster | Producers: Michèle Stephenson, Joe Brewster, Tommy Oliver)

In the Rearview (Poland | Cinephil | Director: Maciek Hamela | Producers: Maciek Hamela, Piotr Grawender)

Milisuthando (South Africa | Director: Milisuthando Bongela | Producers: Marion Isaacs, Viviana Gomez, Sonia Barrera, Milisuthando Bongela, Hankyeol Lee)

Q (United States | Chehab Films | Director: Jude Chehab | Producers: Jude Chehab, Fahd Ahmed)

The Mother of All Lies (Morocco | Arizona Distribution | Director/Producer: Asmae El Moudir)

While We Watched (United Kingdom, India | POV, BRITDOC Films | Director: Vinay Shukla | Producers: Vinay Shukla, Khushboo Ranka, Luke W Moody)

Best Short Documentary Nominees

How to Carry Water (United States | Multitude Films | Director: Sasha Wortzel | Producers: Colleen Cassingham, Jess Devaney, Anya Rous)

Incident (United States | Hypnotic Pictures | Director: Bill Morrison | Producers: Bill Morrison, Jamie Kalven)

Liturgy of Anti-Tank Obstacles (United States | The New Yorker, Condé Nast Entertainment | Director: Dmytro Sukholytkyy Sobchuk | Producer: Daniel Lombroso)

Marungka Tjalatjunu (Dipped in Black) (Australia | Other Pictures | Directors: Derik Lynch, Matthew Thorne | Producers: Matthew Thorne, Patrick Graham)

Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó (Grandma & Grandma) (United States | Director: Sean Wang | Producers: Sean Wang, Sam Davis)

Neighbour Abdi (The Netherlands | The New York Times Op-Docs | Director: Douwe Dijkstra | Producer: Richard Valk)

Raat: Night Time in Small Town India (India | The Third Eye Learning Lab | Directors: Arti Ahirwar, Ashraf Hussain, Rajkumari Ahirwar, Vikas Khatri, Tabassum Ansari, Kulsum Khatoon, Khushi Bano, Parmeshwar Mandrawaliya, Santra Chaurthiya, Rajkumari Prajapati, Manisha Chanda, Anita Sen, Rani Devi, Ajfarul Shaikh | Producers: Ruchika Negi, Dipta Bhog, Shabani Hassanwalia, Shivam Rastogi)

Suddenly TV (Sudan | Gisa Productions | Director/Producer: Roopa Gogineni)

The Unicorn in Snowpants Suddenly Ran Off (Germany | The New Yorker, Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg | Director: Philipp Schaeffer | Producer: Fabian Leonhardt)

The Veiled City (United Kingdom | JSH Films | Director: Natalie Cubides-Brady | Producer: Jacob Swan Hyam)

Best Director

Asmae El Moudir, The Mother of All Lies (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)

Milisuthando Bongela, Milisuthando (South Africa)

Sarvnik Kaur, Against the Tide (BBC Storyville | India)

Theo Montoya, ANHELL69 (Square Eyes | Colombia)

Lea Glob, Apolonia, Apolonia (HBO Max | Denmark, Poland, USA)

Best Cinematography

Andrew H. Brown, Between the Rains (Journeyman Pictures | Kenya, USA)

Ants Tammik, Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

Curren Sheldon, King Coal (Fourth Act Film | USA)

Franz Lustig, Anselm (Sideshow Pictures | Germany)

Lars Erlend Tubaas Oymo, Songs of Earth (SWC/Arte, BBC Storyville | Norway)

Best Editing

Andreas Bøggild Monies, Thor Ochsner, Apolonia, Apolonia (HBO Max | Denmark, Poland, USA)

Carolina Siraqyan, The Eternal Memory (MTV Documentary Films | Chile, USA)

Fahd Ahmed, Q (Chehab Films | USA, Lebanon)

Hendrik Mägar, Tushar Prakash, Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

Best Original Music Score

Jonathan Goldsmith, To Kill a Tiger (National Film Board of Canada | Canada, India)

Leonard Küssner, Anselm (Sideshow Pictures | Germany)

Rebekka Karijord, Songs of Earth (SWR/Arte, BBC Storyville | Norway)

Samora Pinderhughes, Chris Pattishall, Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project (HBO Documentary Films | USA)

Will Epstein, Nam June Paik: Moon is the Oldest TV (Greenwich Entertainment | USA)

Best Writing

Asmae El Moudir, The Mother of All Lies (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)

Kaouther Ben Hania, Four Daughters (Kino Lorber | France, Tunisia, Germany)

Lea Glob, Andreas Bøggild Monies, Apolonia, Apolonia (HBO Max | Denmark, Poland, USA)

Milisuthando Bongela, Milisuthando (South Africa)

Nisha Pahuja, To Kill a Tiger (National Film Board of Canada | Canada, India)

Best TV Feature or Mini-Series

Great Photo, Lovely Life (HBO Max | USA | Directors: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson | EP: Rachel Dretzin, Producers: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson, Luke Malone)

How to Come Alive with Norman Mailer (Showtime | USA | Director: Jeff Zimbalist | EP: Vinnie Malhotra, Stu Schreiberg, John Buffalo Mailer, Producers: Victoria Marquette, Jeff Zimbalist)

Mariupol: The People’s Story (BBC | UK | Director: Robin Barnwell | EP: Darren Kemp, Tom Stone | Producer: Hilary Andersson)

Reggie (Prime Video | USA | Director: Alexandria Stapleton | EP: Brenda Gilbert, Aaron L. Gilbert, Josh Miller, Kim Carsten, Zoë Morrison, Jason Cloth, Suraj Maraboyina, Producers: Alexandria Stapleton, Christopher Leggett, Rafael Marmor, Daniel Crown, Yoni Liebling)

The U.S. and the Holocaust (PBS | USA | Directors: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, Sarah Botstein | EP: Ken Burns, Producers: Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick, Mike Welt)

Best Curated Series

American Masters (PBS | USA | EP: Michael Kantor)

America ReFramed (American Documentary, Inc, WORLD Channel | USA | EP: Erika Dilday, Chris White, Christopher Hastings)

Independent Lens (PBS, Independent Lens | USA | EP: Sally Jo Fifer, Lois Vossen)

POV (PBS | USA, Denmark, Brazil | EP: Erika Dilday; Chris White)

Reel South (PBS, WORLD Channel | USA, South Korea, UK | EP: Rachel Raney, Don Godish, Donald Washington, Linda Midgett)

Best Episodic Series

Frozen Planet II (BBC America | USA | Producer: Mark Brownlow)

Our Planet II (Netflix | USA, UK | Producers: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey)

Telemarketers (HBO Max | USA | Producers: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Dani Bernfeld, David Gordon Green, Jody Hill, Danny McBride, Greg Stewart, Brandon James, Adam Bhala Lough, Sam Lipman-Stern, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller, Tina Nguyen)

The Hair Tales (Hulu | USA | Producers: Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis, Tara Duncan, Raeshem Nijhon, Carri Twigg, Kisah Imani Cameron, Kadine Anckle, Nicole Galovski)

VICE (Showtime | USA | Producers: Beverly Chase, Subrata De)

Best Music Documentary

Keeping the Music Alive (France, Singapore, UK | TVF International | Directors: Sarah El Younsi, Mandakini Gahlot | Producers: Bable Doc, CNA)

Little Richard: I Am Everything (Magnolia Pictures, CNN Film, HBO Max | USA, UK | Director: Lisa Cortés | Producers: Lisa Cortés, Robert Friedman, Liz Yale Marsh, Caryn Capotosto)

Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes (PBS, American Masters | USA | Directors/Producers: Ben Shapiro, Sam Pollard)

Milli Vanilli (USA | Paramount+ | Director: Luke Korem | Producers: Luke Korem, Bradley Jackson)

Pianoforte (Poland, Germany | Greenwich Entertainment | Director: Jakub Piâtek | Producer: Maciej Kubicki)

Best Multi-Part Documentary

Algiers, America (Hulu | USA | Director: Jackson Fager | Producers: Jackson Fager, Jeffrey Fager, David Rohde, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Raina Kelley, Joseph Langford, Durado Brookes)

Burden of Proof (HBO Max | USA | Director: Cynthia Hill | Producers: Charlotte Cook, Rahdi Taylor, Davis Guggenheim, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller)

Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court (Showtime | USA | Director: Dawn Porter | Producers: Vinnie Malhotra, Aaron Saidman, Eli Holzman, Dawn Porter)

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 Soseph, Ted Skillman, Allen Hughes, Steve Berman, Marc Cimino, Jody Gerson, John Nanick, Nicholas Ferrall, Nigel Sinclair)

Ladies First: The Story of Women in Hip-Hop (Netflix | USA | Directors: Hannah Beachler, Raeshem Nijhon, Dream Hampton | Producers: Dream Hampton, Troy Carter, Raeshem Nijhon, Carri Twigg, MC Lyte, Nicole Galovski, Justin Simien, Jennifer Ryan)

Best Short-Form Series

99: True Stories From Your Fellow Humans (99 | USA, India, UK | Producer: Jérôme Plan)

Couples Therapy (Showtime | USA | Producers: Eli Despres, Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg, Vinnie Malhotra)

Equals (Anahad Foundation | USA | Producers: Shuchi Roy, Mudit Chaturvedi)

POV Shorts (American Documentary | USA | Producers: Erika Dilday, Chris White)

Queer Futures (Multitude Films | USA | Producers: Jess Devaney, Anya Rous, J Wortham)

Best Standalone Audio Documentary

K-Pop Dreaming, Episode 3 – “Trot” (USA | LAist Studios | Host: Vivian Yoon | Producers: Fiona Ng, Antonia Cereijido)

Les gardiennes du temple (The Guardians of the Temple) (France | SMAC Le Florida, Théâtre des Quatre Saisons, RTBF, RTS Culture SRG SSR | Hosts: Aurélien Caillaux, Benoit Bores | Producers: Faïdos Sonore, Les Voix de Traverse, SMAC Le Florida, Théâtre des Quatre Saisons)

Melanie Speaks (USA | SiriusXM Podcast Network | Host: Sarah Esocoff | Producers: Kameel Stanley, Jen Derwin, Bill Crandal, Mike Spinella, Sarah Bentley, Sarah Esocoff)

NPR’s Invisibilia: Freedom Diving (USA | NPR | Host: Kia Miakka Natisse | Producers: Phoebe Wang, Ariana Gharib Lee)

This Coal Life (South Africa | Host: Lesedi Mogoatlhe | Reporter: Siyabonga Mokoena | Producer: Dhashen Moodley)

Toughie (USA | BBC’s Short Cuts | Host: Josie Long | Reporter/Producer: Sarah Craig)

Best Multi-Part Audio Documentary or Series

Foretold (USA | Los Angeles Times | Host: Faith E. Pinho | Producers: Asal Ehsanipour, Alex Higgins, Heba Elorbany, Jazmin Aguilera, Lauren Raab, Avery Trufelman, Sue Horton)

Into America presents: Street Disciples (USA | MSNBC | Host: Trymaine Lee | Producers: Aisha Turner, Isabel Angell, Max Jacobs, Allison Bailey, Mike Brown, Janmaris Perez)

Operation Morning Light (USA, Canada | Imperative Entertainment, Vespucci | Host: Dëneze Nakehk’o | Producers: Michael LaPointe, Aliya Pabani)

Scamanda (USA | Lionsgate Sound | Host: Charlie Webster | Producer: Jaxson McLennan | EP: Craig Piligian, Charlie Webster, Nancy Moscatiello)

The Greatest Menace: Inside The Gay Prison Experiment (Australia | Audible | Host/Producer: Patrick Abboud | Producer: Simon Cunich)

You Didn’t See Nothin (USA | The Invisible Institute, USG Audio | Host: Yohance Lacour | Producers: Bill Healy, Erisa Apantaku, Dana Brozost-Kelleher, Sarah Geis)

David L. Wolper Student Documentary

El Bastón (The City College of New York | USA, Colombia | Director: ​​Nemo Allen | Producers: Aditi Natasha Kini, Juan Blanco García)

Hungry for Freedom (National Film and Television School | UK, Thailand | Director/Producer: Rachata Thongruay | Producer: Athena Vlachos)

Lettre à Elie (Letter to Elie) (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Alexis Grigorieff)

PromisedLand™ (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Frank Eli Martin | Producer: Tal Elkayam)

With Woman (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Mia Harvey)

39th IDA Documentary Awards Key Dates

IDA Member Voting Begins: Tuesday, November 21, 2023.

IDA Member Voting Ends: Tuesday, December 5, 2023.

Virtual Awards Ceremony: December 12, 2023.

IDA Member Viewing Platform Closes: December 31, 2023.

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