Edward Snowden in Laura Poitras's nominated CITIZENFOUR

Recent New York Film Festival World Premiere CITIZENFOURby Laura Poitras, topped the Cinema Eye Honors list of nominations, receiving six nods including Best Picture and Best Director. The third installment of a trilogy of nonfiction films that look at the post-9/11 America, CITIZENFOUR is set amid the revelation by Edward Snowden of a labyrinth of secret surveillance by the National Security Administration (NSA) within the U.S. and beyond. Poitras said of the film during NYFF: “It's not about finding resolution. These actions will have reverberations into the future and we don't know what those are yet. We wanted to push beyond the frame. It's about Snowden but also not, more about people who come forward and take risks… As a documentarian, the very least I could make a historical record.” Listen to the Film Society's The Close-Up podcast series here featuring a full interview with Poitras from NYFF.

Roger Ebert in Steve James's Life Itself

Steve James’s documentary about the late film critic Roger Ebert, Life Itself, received five Cinema Eye nominations including Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking and Direction. Life Itself played at the Film Society last summer. The film chronicles Ebert’s early story, with passages taken directly from his 2011 best-selling memoir from which the film gets its title, and is intercut with material shot at the hospital during the final four months of his life. It is these scenes, intimate and unflinching, that provide context for a life most wonderfully lived. Have a look at James's interview with Film Comment here.

Of note, Poitras, won the 2011 Directing Award for The Oath, while James won in 2012 for The Interrupters. Both are now the most nominated filmmakers at the awards, with Poitras receiving nine in the Cinema Eye's eight years, and James following with eight. 

Ryan White and Ben Cotner's The Case Against 8

Other films that received multiple nominations include Ben Cotner and Ryan White The Case Against 8 (three nominations), Robert Greene's Actress (two). The Case Against 8 chronicles two California couples who spearheaded the fight to overturn California's controversial Proposition 8, which reinstated the state's ban against same-sex marriage. The film had a special advance screening last year at the Film Society prior to its theatrical release. FilmLinc spoke with the filmmakers, and that conversation can be found here

Actress, meanwhile, profiles Brandy Burre who once had a recurring role on HBO’s The Wire but put her career on hold to start a family. After a few years she decided to return to acting, and her effort to return to work turns into varying shades of drama. Actress screened last year as part the Film Society's Art of the Real series and returned to the Film Society for an exclusive one-week run that ends today. Greene speaks to FilmLinc about performance, transition, and breaking rules here.

Brandy Burre in Robert Greene's Actress

Nick Broomfield is nominated in the Outstanding Direction category for Tales of the Grim Sleeper, a different perspective on the arrest of Lonnie Franklin Jr., who police lauded as the culmination of 20 years of investigations into the mysterious murders of young black women in L.A.'s South Central area. It screened as part of the New York Film Festival this year. Chiemi Karasawa’s Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me was also nominated for an Audience Choice Award. FilmLinc interviews Stritch on the experience of making the film here.

Full List of Cinema Eye's 8th Annual Nonfiction Film Award Nominations follow:

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Feature Filmmaking

20,000 Days on Earth, Directed by Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard; Produced by Dan Bowen and James Wilson

CITIZENFOUR, Directed by Laura Poitras; Produced by Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky

Life Itself, Directed by Steve James; Produced by Zak Piper and Steve James

The Overnighters, Directed by Jesse Moss; Produced by Jesse Moss and Amanda McBaine

Virunga, Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel; Produced by Joanna Natesegara and Orlando von Einsiedel

Outstanding Achievement in Direction

Robert Greene, Actress

Laura Poitras, CITIZENFOUR

Steve James, Life Itself

Jesse Moss, The Overnighters

Nick Broomfield, Tales of the Grim Sleeper

Outstanding Achievement in Editing

Robert Greene, Actress

Kate Amend, The Case Against 8

Mathilde Bonnefoy, CITIZENFOUR

Steve James and David E. Simpson, Life Itself

Sabine Lubbe Bakker and Niels van Koevorden, Ne Me Quitte Pas

Marshall Curry, Point and Shoot

Outstanding Achievement in Production

Ben Cotner and Ryan White, The Case Against 8

Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, and Dirk Wilutzky, CITIZENFOUR

Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman, and Marilyn Ness, The E-Team

Orwa Nyrabia and Hans Robert Eisenhauer, Return to Homs

Joanna Natesegara and Orlando von Einsiedel, Virunga

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography

Erik Wilson, 20,000 Days on Earth

Laura Poitras, Kirsten Johnson, Katy Scoggin & Trevor Paglen, CITIZENFOUR

Ross Kauffman and Rachel Beth Anderson, The E-Team

Niels van Koevorden, Ne Me Quitte Pas

Andrew Droz Palermo, Rich Hill

Franklin Dow and Orlando von Einsiedel, Virunga

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Films Made for Television

American Masters: Jimi Hendrix – Here My Train a Comin’, Directed by Bob Smeaton; Produced by John McDermott for PBS/American Masters: Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks, Junko Tsunashima, Lesley Norman

The Education of Muhammad Hussein, Directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady; Produced by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady for HBO Documentary Films: Sheila Nevins, Sara Bernstein

Hillsborough, Directed by Daniel Gordon; Produced by Daniel Gordon, Deirdre Fenton, Erin Leyden, Libby Geist for ESPN/30 for 30 Soccor Stories: Connor Schell, John Dahl, Bill Simmons

The Price of Gold, Directed by Nanette Burstein; Produced by Libby Geist for ESPN/30 for 30: John Dahl, Connor Schell, Bill Simmons

Six by Sondheim, Directed by James Lapine; Produced by Frank Rich, Liz Stanton

Audience Choice Prize

20,000 Days on Earth, Directed by Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard

The Case Against 8, Directed by Ben Cotner and Ryan White

CITIZENFOUR, Directed by Laura Poitras

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Directed by Chiemi Karasawa

Finding Vivian Maier, Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Jodorowsky’s Dune, Directed by Frank Pavich

Keep on Keepin’ On, Directed by Alan Hicks

Life Itself, </em>Directed by Steve James

Mistaken for Strangers, Directed by Tom Berninger

Particle Fever, Directed by Mark Levinson

Outstanding Achievement in a Debut Feature Film

20,000 Days on Earth, Directed by Iain Forsythe and Jane Pollard

Approaching the Elephant, Directed by Amanda Rose Wilder

Evolution of a Criminal, Directed by Darius Clark Monroe

Finding Vivian Maier, Directed by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel

Return to Homs, Directed by Talal Derki

Outstanding Achievement in Original Music Score

Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, 20,000 Days on Earth

David Wingo, The Great Invisible

Joshua Abrams, Life Itself

David Perlick-Molinari, Mateo

Edwyn Collins, The Possibilities Are Endless

Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design or Animation

Kyle McKeveny and Matt St. Leger, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart

Syd Garon, Jodorowsky’s Dune

MK12 – Nominees to be Determined, Particle Fever

Philippe Gariepy and Benoit St. Jean, Red Army

Steven Do, The Unknown Known

Spotlight Award

1971, Directed by Johanna Hamilton

Evaporating Borders, Directed by Iva Radivojevic

An Honest Liar, Directed by Justin Weinstein and Tyler Measom

Living Stars, Directed by Gaston Duprat and Mariano Cohn

My Name is Salt, Directed by Farida Pacha

Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

Hacked Circuit, Directed by Deborah Stratman

Joanna, Directed by Aneta Kopacz

The Lion’s Mouth Opens, Directed by Lucy Walker

Notes on Blindness, Directed by Peter Middleton and James Spinney

One Year Lease, Directed by Brian Bolster