IDA Awards 2023 Nominees: ‘The Mother of All Lies,’ ‘Pianoforte,’ and ‘Going to Mars’ Among Contenders

The 2023 IDA Documentary Awards has officially unveiled its list of nominees.

The 39th annual awards ceremony for the International Documentary Association will take place virtually on December 12, streaming on, as well as the IDA YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram channels. The awards recognize the top films and projects in the documentary genre.

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Nominees include “Bobi Wine: The People’s President,” about how a Ugandan pop star disrupted the national political landscape; “Pianoforte,” following the prestigious international piano competition; and HBO documentary “Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project.” The shortlist for the nominees was announced earlier this year

The decision to hold the 2023 IDA Documentary Awards virtually was in part due to the current geopolitical landscape, according to IDA Interim Executive Director Ken Ikeda.

“In the wake of devastating events unfolding in the world and the grief our staff, board, community, and humanity at large are experiencing, we have decided to forego an in-person party,” Ikeda said in a press statement. “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.”

IDA member voting begins today, November 21 and concludes December 5, one week before the ceremony. 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.

See the full list of nominees below.

Best Feature Documentary

  • 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)

  • (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

  • 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 MoudirThe Mother of All Lies (Arizona Distribution | Morocco)

  • Milisuthando BongelaMilisuthando (South Africa)

  • Sarvnik KaurAgainst the Tide (BBC Storyville | India)

  • Theo MontoyaANHELL69 (Square Eyes | Colombia)

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

Best Cinematography

  • Andrew H. BrownBetween the Rains (Journeyman Pictures | Kenya, USA)

  • Ants TammikSmoke Sauna Sisterhood (Greenwich Entertainment | Estonia, France, Iceland)

  • Curren SheldonKing Coal (Fourth Act Film | USA)

  • Franz LustigAnselm (Sideshow and Janus FIlms | Germany)

  • Lars Erlend Tubaas OymoSongs 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 Johnson, 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 Piatek | 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)

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