CDS Filmmaker Award

Still image from a film showing two young people lying down on a patterned textile with their arms supporting their heads.
Film still from “Faya Dayi” directed by Jessica Beshir, 2021 award winner

This $7,500 annual prize recognizes documentary films that combine originality and creativity with firsthand experience in examining central issues of contemporary life and culture. In keeping with the mission of the Center for Documentary Studies, the award was created to honor and support documentary artists whose works are potential catalysts for education and change.

The award goes to filmmakers who best connect the power of the documentary tradition with community life, who best lead viewers to understand and reflect on themselves and the world portrayed. Award winners are selected from among films in competition at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, held each spring in Durham, North Carolina.