Legacy Award

From the very first frames of film that ran through the very first cameras, filmmakers have been documenting the real world around them. And over the next century, nonfiction film artists would experiment with tools and aesthetics and find subjects that filled their frame in a way that was immediate and timeless. Sometimes, magic would happen, and the resulting film would go on to influence other filmmakers for years or decades. For these most memorable and influential films, we created our Legacy Award, our opportunity to jump to our feet, tip our cap and salute those films that define documentary for all of us. Previous Legacy Award honorees have been Sherman's March (2010), Grey Gardens (2011), Titicut Follies (2012), The War Room (2013) and Harlan County, USA (2014)

  • Legacy Award Winner  Paris is Burning (Directed and Produced by Jennie Livingston)

Paris is Burning credits:
Directed by: Jennie Livingston
Produced by: Jennie Livingston
Edited by: Jonathan Oppenheim
Cinematography by: Paul Gibson

Paris is Burning depicts a New York fashion subculture. Shot in the late 1980s, the film examines how a community of Black and Latino gay and transgender New Yorkers build sustenance, creativity, and family. Exploring ballroom culture – and defining and re-defining words like “house,” “mother,” “shade” “voguing” and “fierce” – Paris is Burning draws a series of incisive character portraits. The movie writes a complex essay on class, race, identity, and the transformative powers of dance and performance.

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