The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize


On Her Shoulders

Alexandria Bombach follows Nadia Murad, a 23-year-old Yazidi woman who survived genocide and sexual slavery committed by ISIS. Read more



Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower

Filmmaker Joe Piscatella follows the story of a teenage activist who mobilized young people in Hong Kong to fight for autonomy for the territory. Read more



National Bird

Filmmaker Sonia Kennebeck follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war. Read more



The Look of Silence

The Look of Silence, directed by Joshua Oppenheimer, is the 2016 recipient of The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. Through Oppenheimer's footage of perpetrators of the 1965 Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered — and the identities of the killers. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.. Read more



CITIZENFOUR provides a first-hand account of Edward Snowden's disclosure of the NSA's mass surveillance program. The film documents the initial contact the former NSA contractor had with Poitras via anonymous, encrypted email messages, and the whistleblower's history-making disclosures that revealed chilling evidence of a worldwide web of mass surveillance. Poitras's film unfolds to show the headline-making events that followed as Snowden went public with his leaks and eventually settled into a life in exile in Moscow. Read more


Gideon's Army

Directed and produced by Dawn Porter, Gideon's Army, winner of the 2014 Film Prize, follows three young public defenders in the Deep South as they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours, and low pay, trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. "We are thrilled to have selected Gideon's Army which celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves," said the awards committee. Read more


The Invisible War

Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering have been awarded the 2013 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize for The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary into the troubling epidemic of rape in the US military. Focusing on the powerful stories of rape victims, The Invisible War is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes. It chronicles the women's struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice and reveals the devastating consequences of the reliance on chain of command in military life. Read more


Semper Fi: Always Faithful

Rachel Libert and Tony Hardmon have been awarded the 2012 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize for Semper Fi: Always Faithful, the chronicle of one determined Marine, Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, whose quest to understand the reasons for his daughter’s early death pitted him against the organization to which he had pledged to be semper fidelis, or “always faithful.” Read more



Budrus, the inaugural recipient of The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize, is honored for its moving account of a West Bank village, Budrus, that used nonviolent resistance to unite a divided people and alter the course of Israel's Separation Barrier. Refusing to allow the wall to destroy his village, Palestinian community organizer Ayed Morrar and his 15-year-old daughter Iltezam formed an unlikely coalition of local Fatah and Hamas members, Israeli supporters, and women and girls, to protest the barrier's route. As one New York Times review put it, "[Budrus] raises some of the most difficult and contested questions surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, notably the ability of each side to understand the other and the role of popular, nonviolent struggle in bringing it to an end." Read more