Critics’ Choice Association to Honor Acclaimed Documentarian R.J. Cutler At ‘Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards’

The Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards gala will take place on Sunday, November 14, 2021 at BRIC in Brooklyn, New York. The Critics Choice Association (CCA) will once again be honoring the finest achievements in documentaries, released in theaters, on TV and on major digital platforms, as determined by the voting of qualified CCA members.

In addition to the 14 award categories and one honor listed below, a most prestigious honor – The Pennebaker Award (formerly known as the Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award) – will be presented to esteemed documentarian R.J. Cutler. This award is named for Critics Choice Lifetime Achievement Award winner D A Pennebaker, who passed away in 2019. The award will be presented to Cutler by Pennebaker’s producing partner and wife, Chris Hegedus.

R.J. Cutler is the award-winning producer/director whose work includes some of the most acclaimed documentaries of the last thirty years. His most recent film, the Apple Original Film cinema verité documentary Billie Eilish: The World’s A Little Blurry, which tells the coming-of-age story of the singer-songwriter and her rise to global superstardom, was released to critical acclaim (96% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes), recently nominated for four Emmy Awards and is currently eligible for honors in this film awards season. Additional credits include the three-time Critics Choice-nominated BELUSHI, the Oscar-nominated The War Room, the Emmy-nominated A Perfect Candidate, the Sundance Award-winning The September Issue, the Peabody Award-winning Listen to Me Marlon, the Grierson Award-winning Thin, and The World According to Dick Cheney. Cutler has also been a pioneer in the area of non-fiction television, having created such landmark programs as American High (winner of the first Emmy Award for Outstanding Non-Fiction Television Series), Freshman Diaries, 30 Days, and Dear…, which is currently in production on its second season for AppleTV+. Cutler’s scripted work includes conceiving and directing the Emmy-nominated television series Nashville, directing the People’s Choice Award-winning feature film If I Stay, and creating, writing, directing and producing the Webby Award-winning podcast The Oval Office Tapes. Cutler recently launched This Machine, a production company focused on developing and producing documentary projects for film and television.

Critics Choice Association CEO Joey Berlin states, “Throughout his distinguished career, R.J. Cutler has created category-defining films and television series, and we are honored to have him as our recipient of this prestigious award. With his work as a documentarian beginning as a producer of D A Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus’ landmark 1993 film, The War Room, that collaboration serves as a link between generations, and R.J. has continued to honor Penny’s pioneering legacy in the arena of observational cinema, from his directorial debut, A Perfect Candidate, and his docuseries American High through to his latest feature, the coming-of-age portrait of teenage global superstar, Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry. He also continues to explore other directions in documentary, as with the unique archival films Listen to Me Marlon, which he produced, and last year’s BELUSHI, which he produced and directed.”

He added, “For the sixth year in a row, we look forward to shining the spotlight on the outstanding documentary filmmaking of the year. We continue to highlight the importance and cultural value of documentaries and are thrilled to give the creative filmmakers the recognition and acknowledgment that they deserve.”

Stand-alone and two-part documentaries are eligible for awards consideration. To qualify for consideration, documentaries must have a theatrical or television/streaming premiere between

November 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021.

This year, the Critics Choice Documentary Awards proudly has its first Presenting Sponsor, National Geographic Documentary Films.

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