The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize

2014

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

2013

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

2012

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

2011

Budrus

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