The International Documentary Association (IDA) announced the winners in 18 categories at the 39th annual IDA Awards Show on December 12, 2023, which live premiered on IDA’s YouTube channel. A record number of IDA members cast votes for this year’s Best Feature Documentary and Best Short Documentary nominees. Independent judging committees selected winners in all other categories.

The Best Feature Documentary Award went to NatGeo’s “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” which follows Uganda’s 2021 presidential election and music star, activist, and opposition leader Bobi Wine. “The awareness this film has brought to world audiences,” said co-director Moses Bwayo, “has arguably kept Bobi Wine alive and out of prison for now.”

This year’s Best Director was Moroccan Asmae ElMoudir, who won for innovative hybrid documentary and Moroccan Oscar submission “The Mother of All Lies,” in which ElMoudir uses clay puppets fashioned by her father to recreate incidents from her family’s past in Casablanca.

“Incident” received the Best Short Documentary Award. The film reconstructs a Chicago police shooting in 2018, reassembling the event and its immediate aftermath from several points of view. POV and POV Shorts accepted the Best Curated Series and Best Short-Form Series Awards, both for the second year in a row.

All winners and nominees are listed below.

The 39th IDA Documentary Awards show, hosted by KCRW DJs Tyler Boudreaux and Raul Campos, kicked off with Grace Lee and Chris Perez, Co-Presidents of the IDA Board of Directors: “While we are speaking from Los Angeles, our thoughts are with the people living in the midst of war around the globe. The loss of lives, friendships and the inability to listen has been heartbreaking. And yet, as a community, we are storytellers of the world we live in and know that our work can not only capture history but change minds. To the thousands of IDA members who live in 76 countries and voted for the winners of the Best Feature and Best Short Documentary categories, thank you for investing your time and for your inspired choices!”

The hosts connected to winners in Warsaw, New York, London, Johannesburg, Berlin, Chicago, Santiago, Talinn, Jiddah, Bristol, Paris, Marrakech, and Los Angeles during the show, who gave acceptance speeches.

Dominic Asmall Willsdon, IDA’s new Executive Director who starts his duties on January 8, 2024, delivered the closing statement: “In the coming years, across all that IDA does, our task is to become as international as we can be. You see it already. Look at this year’s award nominees, who works at IDA, who’s on the board now, this year’s grant recipients, and who’s contributing to the magazine…”

IDA paid respect to 76 journalists killed on duty this year across the globe. It raised special attention to 52 journalists killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the last two months, with their names appearing on screen in red, white, and green. Documentary filmmakers and practitioners who passed away in 2023 were remembered in the show with a special tribute delivered to documentary filmmaker Nancy Buirski by Susan Margolin and to producer and doc Society director Jess Search by Anurima Bhargava.

This year, the IDA Documentary Awards shortlists and nominees were selected by independent committees of 280 documentary makers, curators, critics, and industry experts from 40 countries. IDA received 669 total submissions in all categories from 48 countries.

IDA members can stream shortlisted films for Best Short and Best Feature until December 31.


Best Feature Documentary
Winner: Bobi Wine: The People’s President (Uganda | National Geographic Documentary Films | Directors: Moses Bwayo, Christopher Sharp | Producers: Christopher Sharp, John Battsek)
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, Poland, France | 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
Winner: Incident (United States | Hypnotic Pictures | Director: Bill Morrison | Producers: Bill Morrison, Jamie Kalven)

How to Carry Water (United States | Multitude Films | Director: Sasha Wortzel | Producers: Colleen Cassingham, Jess Devaney, Anya Rous)
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 & Switch Productions | 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, Malcolm Pullinger)
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
Winner: Asmae ElMoudir, 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, France)

Best Cinematography
Winner: Ants Tammik, Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

"Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" cinematographer Ants Tammik operates a camera in low lighting.
Behind the scenes of “Smoke Sauna Sisterhood”courtesy of filmmaker

Andrew H. Brown, Between the Rains (Journeyman Pictures | Kenya, USA)
Curren Sheldon, King Coal (King Coal Productions LLC | USA)
Franz Lustig, Anselm (Sideshow and Janus Films | Germany)
Lars Erlend Tubaas Oymo, Songs of Earth (SWC/Arte, BBC Storyville | Norway)

Best Editing
Winner: Carolina Siraqyan, The Eternal Memory (MTV Documentary Films | Chile, USA)

Andreas Bøggild Monies, Thor Ochsner, Apolonia, Apolonia (HBO | Max | Denmark, Poland, France)
Fahd Ahmed, Q (Chehab Films | USA, Lebanon)
Hendrik Mägar, Tushar Prakash, Qutaiba Barhamji, Martin Männik, Anna Hints, Smoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

Best Original Music Score
Winner: Leonard Küssner, Anselm (Sideshow and Janus Films | Germany)

Jonathan Goldsmith, To Kill a Tiger (National Film Board of Canada | Canada, India)
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
Winner: Kaouther Ben Hania, Four Daughters (Kino Lorber | France, Tunisia, Germany)

Asmae El Moudir, The Mother of All Lies (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)
Lea Glob, Andreas Bøggild Monies, Apolonia, Apolonia (HBO | Max | Denmark, Poland, France)
Milisuthando Bongela, Milisuthando (South Africa)
Nisha Pahuja, To Kill a Tiger (National Film Board of Canada | Canada, India)

Best TV Feature Documentary or Mini-Series
Winner: Mariupol: The People’s Story (BBC | UK | Director: Robin Barnwell | EP: Darren Kemp, Tom Stone | Producer: Hilary Andersson)

Great Photo, Lovely Life (HBO | Max | USA | Directors: Amanda Mustard, Rachel Beth Anderson | EP: Rachel Dretzin, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller and Sara Rodriguez | 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)
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 | Producers: Sarah Botstein, Lynn Novick, Ken Burns, Mike Welt)

Best Curated Series
Winner: POV (PBS | USA | EP: Erika Dilday, Chris White)

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

Best Episodic Series
Winner: Our Planet II (Netflix | USA, UK | EP: Alastair Fothergill, Keith Scholey)

Frozen Planet II (BBC America | USA | EP: Mark Brownlow)
Telemarketers (HBO | Max | USA | EP: 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/OWN | USA | EP: Oprah Winfrey, Tracee Ellis Ross, Michaela Angela Davis, Tara Duncan, Raeshem Nijhon, Carri Twigg, Kisah Imani Cameron, Kadine Anckle, Nicole Galovski)
VICE (Showtime | USA | EP: Beverly Chase, Subrata De, Craig Thomson)

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

Keeping the Music Alive (France, Singapore, UK | TVF International | Directors: Sarah El Younsi, Mandakini Gahlot | Producers: Babel 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)
Milli Vanilli (Paramount+ | USA | Director: Luke Korem | Producers: Luke Korem, Bradley Jackson)
Pianoforte (Greenwich Entertainment | Poland, Germany | Director: Jakub Piatek | Producer: Maciej Kubicki)

Best Multi-Part Documentary
Winner: 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)

Algiers, America (Hulu | USA | Director: Jackson Fager | Producers: Jackson Fager, Jeffrey Fager, David Rohde, Connor Schell, Libby Geist, Raina Kelley, Joseph Langford, Durado Brookes, Raza Naqvi, Kristen Lappas)
Burden of Proof (HBO | Max | USA | Director: Cynthia Hill | EP: Charlotte Cook, Rahdi Taylor, Davis Guggenheim, Nancy Abraham, Lisa Heller | Producers: Christine Delp, Cynthia Hill, Andrea Weigl)
Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court (Showtime | USA | Director: Dawn Porter | Producers: Vinnie Malhotra, Aaron Saidman, Eli Holzman, Dawn Porter)
Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop (Netflix | USA | Directors: Hannah Beachler, Raeshem Nijhon, Dream Hampton, Giselle Bailey | EP: Dream Hampton, Troy Carter, Raeshem Nijhon, Carri Twigg, MC Lyte, Nicole Galovski, Justin Simien, Jennifer Ryan)

Best Short-Form Series
Winner: POV Shorts (PBS | USA | EP: Opal H. Bennett, Erika Dilday, Chris White)

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 | India | Producers: Abhinav Agrawal, Shuchi Roy, Mudit Chaturvedi)
Queer Futures (Multitude Films | USA | Producers: Jess Devaney, Anya Rous, J Wortham, Colleen Cassingham)

Best Standalone Audio Documentary
Winner: This Coal Life (South Africa | Host: Lesedi Mogoatlhe | Reporter: Siyabonga Mokoena | Producer: Dhashen Moodley)

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)
Sounds Gay: Melanie Speaks (USA | SiriusXM Podcast Network | Host/Producer: Sarah Esocoff | Producer: Cass Adair)
NPR’s Invisibilia: Freedom Diving (USA | NPR | Host: Kia Miakka Natisse | Producers: Phoebe Wang, Ariana Gharib Lee)
Toughie (USA | BBC’s Short Cuts | Host: Josie Long | Reporter/Producer: Sarah Craig)

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

Foretold (USA | Los Angeles Times | Host: Faith E. Pinho | Producers: Asal Ehsanipour, Alex Higgins, Lauren Raab, Sue Horton, Avery Trufelman, Jazmín Aguilera, Heba Elorbany, Ethel Brooks, Mike Heflin, Vadim Kolpakov, Alex PGSV)
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, Daniel Turcan, Johnny Galvin, Jason Hoch)
Scamanda (USA | Lionsgate Sound | Host: Charlie Webster | Producer: Charlie Webster, 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)

David L. Wolper Student Documentary
Winner: Lettre à Elie (Letter to Elie) (National Film and Television School | UK | Director/Producer: Alexis Grigorieff)

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)
The Paradise Park Will Close on Fridays at Three (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)

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

ABC News VideoSource Award
Storming Caesars Palace (USA | Independent Lens, PBS | Director: Hazel Gurland-Pooler | Producers: Hazel Gurland-Pooler, Nazenet Habtezghi)

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