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Awards Buzz: Best Documentary Film

‘Tis the season for year-end awards honors, both here at the Festival with our annual Awards Gala, and in the film world at large, where the annual Golden Globes and Oscars® are among the most prestigious of a seasonal deluge that includes a vast number of guild and critic’s groups awards of every persuasion.

We are once again highlighting the “short listed” documentary features chosen to vie for the five nominations available in this Oscar® category. PSIFF presents a comprehensive overview of the chosen films in this category available for viewing prior to the nomination announcements that will be made in the coming weeks.


The Devil and Daniel Johnston   

The Devil and Daniel Johnston
USA, 2005, 110 min.
Winner of the Best Director of a Documentary award at Sundance, this remarkable film looks at the life of indie music icon Daniel Johnston, an exquisite talent who continues to struggle with mental illness. Compelling, sad and uplifting at the same time, this is a serious look at one of America's mu... more



Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room   

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
USA, 2005, 111 min.
Alex Gibney's soberly entertaining documentary is an excellent example of how reality so often trumps fiction. The film exposes the voracious culture of greed, the web of corporate collusion, and the blatant loopholes of government's corporate policy that enabled the America's largest bankruptcy.... more



Favela Rising   

Favela Rising
USA, 2005, 79 min.
This lively musical documentary charts the transformational effects of AfroReggae music in one favela shantytown in Rio de Janeiro, offering a portrait of the power of music to remake a troubled community into a place of celebration and hope.... more



Mad Hot Ballroom   

Mad Hot Ballroom
USA, 2005, 111 min.
Follow New York City's 5th graders as they learn to rumba, tango, foxtrot and swing dance. Emphasizing that special age between childhood and adolescence, and the cultural diversity of NYC, this documentary grips us with tension, triumph and heartbreak as the kids compete in a citywide competition.... more



The March of the Penguins   

The March of the Penguins
France, 2005, 85 min.
Capturing the magnificent environment of a penguin's life, this has all the classic elements of an epic: insurmountable odds, conquering heroes, loving couples, and radiant beauty. Enduring the Antarctic winter for 13 months, with never-before shot underwater footage, Luc Jacquet triumphantly convey... more



Murderball   

Murderball
USA, 2005, 86 min.
Quad rugby, aka "murderball," is played by quadriplegics in customized wheelchairs that resemble something out of Mad Max. It's a full-contact sport, played with manic intensity by super-competitive jocks. Murderball looks on-court and off at the indomitable spirit of true athletes. ... more



Occupation: Dreamland   

Occupation: Dreamland
USA, 2005, 79 min.
This melancholy portrait of a squad of American soldiers deployed in the doomed Iraqi city of Falluja during the winter of 2004 offers a revealing look at Army life, operations and the complexity of American war in the 21st century.... more



Street Fight   

Street Fight
USA, 2005, 84 min.
A political documentary of the first order, Marshall Curry's feature debut chronicles the down-and-dirty 2002 race for mayor of Newark, New Jersey, fought between incumbent Sharpe James and rising-star city councilman Cory Booker. Audience members will shake their heads in disbelief at the tactics o... more



Unknown White Male   

Unknown White Male
United Kingdom, 2005, 89 min.
A young man with a British accent turns up one rainy day in Coney Island, frightened and alone, with no clue to his identity. The process of re-establishing his family ties and life story forms a fascinating portrait of a man who, as far as he knows, doesn't have a past.... more



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