The Producers Guild of America announced their nominees for Best Documentary Feature with a list of seven contenders. Among the list was awarded darling “All That Breathes,” which just won the International Documentary Association’s top honor a few days ago. “Fire of Love” and “Navalny” are also major Oscar contenders that the PGA named, while “Descendant,” “Nothing Compares,” and “The Territory” are all names we’ve seen before too.
The critically awarded “All The Beauty and the Bloodshed” is missing, which has already won several critics’ awards. Music documentaries “Louis Armstrong’s Black & Blues” and “Moonage Daydream” also missed the list. And rounding out the snubs was “Last Flight Home” and “Good Night Oppy,” both of which could easily get recognized by the Academy.
The Producers Guild will announce the rest of their Motion Picture and Television nominations on Thursday, January 12, 2023. The awards get handed out on Saturday, February 25, 2023.
All That Breathes
Directed by Shaunak Sen
Produced by Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann, and Teddy Leifer
A Submarine Deluxe and Sideshow Release in association with HBO Documentary Films
Synopsis: In one of the world’s most populated cities, cows, rats, monkeys, frogs, and hogs jostle cheek-by-jowl with people. Here, two brothers fall in love with a bird — the black kite. From their makeshift bird hospital in their tiny basement, the “kite brothers” care for thousands of these mesmeric creatures that drop daily from New Delhi’s smog-choked skies. As environmental toxicity and civil unrest escalate, the relationship between this Muslim family and the neglected kite forms a poetic chronicle of the city’s collapsing ecology and rising social tensions.
Directed by Margaret Brown
Produced by Margaret Brown, Essie Chambers, and Kyle Martin
Synopsis: Documentary filmmaker Margaret Brown (“The Order of Myths”, “The Great Invisible”) returns to her hometown of Mobile, Alabama to document the search for and historic discovery of The Clotilda, the last known ship to arrive in the United States, illegally carrying enslaved Africans. After a century of secrecy and speculation, the 2019 discovery of the ship turns attention toward the descendant community of Africatown and presents a moving portrait of a community actively grappling with and fighting to preserve their heritage while examining what justice looks like today.
Fire of Love
Directed by Sara Dosa
Produced by Shane Boris, Ina Fichman, and Sara Dosa
Neon + National Geographic Documentary Films
Synopsis: Fire of Love tells the story of two French lovers, Katia and Maurice Krafft, who died in a volcanic explosion doing the very thing that brought them together: unraveling the mysteries of our planet, while simultaneously capturing the most explosive volcano imagery ever recorded. Along the way, they changed our understanding of the natural world, and saved tens of thousands of lives. Previously unseen hours of pristine 16-millimeter film and thousands of photographs reveal the birth of modern volcanology through an unlikely lens — the love of its two pioneers.
Directed by Daniel Roher
Produced by Diane Becker, Shane Boris, Melanie Miller, and Odessa Rae
Warner Bros Pictures, CNN Films, HBO Max
Synopsis: Shot as the story unfolded, NAVALNY is a fly-on-the-wall documentary thriller about anti-authoritarian Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Recovering in Berlin after nearly being poisoned to death with the nerve agent Novichok, he makes shocking discoveries about his assassination attempt and bravely decides to return home–whatever the consequences.
Directed by Kathryn Ferguson
Produced by Eleanor Emptage and Michael Mallie
SHOWTIME Documentary Films
Synopsis: NOTHING COMPARES is the story of Sinéad O’Connor’s phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and how her iconoclastic personality resulted in her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on her prophetic words and deeds from 1987-1993, the film reflects on the legacy of this fearless artist through a contemporary feminist lens.
Directed by Matthew Heineman
Produced by Matthew Heineman and Caitlin McNally
National Geographic Documentary Films
Synopsis: RETROGRADE captures the final nine months of America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan from multiple perspectives: one of the last U.S. Special Forces units deployed there, a young Afghan general and his corps fighting to defend their homeland against all odds, and the civilians desperately attempting to flee as the country collapses and the Taliban take over. From rarely seen operational control rooms to the frontlines of battle to the chaotic Kabul airport during the final U.S. withdrawal, Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew Heineman’s latest film offers a cinematic and historic window onto the end of America’s longest war, and the costs endured for those most intimately involved.
Directed by Alex Pritz
Produced by Will N. Miller, Sigrid Jonsson Dyekjær, Lizzie Gillett, Darren Aronofsky and Gabriel Uchida
National Geographic Documentary Films
Synopsis: THE TERRITORY provides an immersive on-the-ground look at the tireless fight of the Indigenous Uru-eu-wau-wau people against the encroaching deforestation brought by illegal settlers and an association of nonnative farmers in the Brazilian Amazon. With awe-inspiring cinematography showcasing the titular landscape and richly textured sound design, the film takes audiences deep into the Uru-eu-wau-wau community and provides unprecedented access to the settlers illegitimately burning and clearing land along with a network of farmers fighting to legitimize their illegal land grab. Partially shot by the Uru-eu-wau-wau people, the film relies on vérité footage captured over three years as the community risks their lives to set up their own news media team in the hopes of exposing the truth.