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Doc10 to Honor Leading Documentary Filmmakers at Annual Festival May 19-22, 2022

Updated: Jun 7, 2022

N. Bird Runningwater and Jessica Devaney Receive First-Ever Doc10 Luminary and Vanguard Awards

CHICAGO, Illinois – Doc10 today announced its first-ever awards program, which this year will honor N. Bird Runningwater and Jessica Devaney, two documentary filmmakers who are leading the art of nonfiction storytelling. The 7th Doc10 documentary film festival runs May 19 - 22, 2022 at the Davis Theatre and the Gene Siskel Film Center; more information and tickets are available at

The Luminary Award celebrates members of the documentary film community who help to make powerful films that shine a light on vital social issues. The inaugural Luminary Award will be presented to N. Bird Runningwater, who has supported such films as Billy Luther’s MISS NAVAJO and Heather Rae’s TRUDELL, and helped shepherd the work of countless filmmakers from development through to funding, festival strategy, and acquisition.

The Vanguard Award, created to honor documentary producers and filmmakers who are at the forefront of creating and cultivating innovative and important documentary filmmaking, will be presented to Jessica Devaney, producer of some 17 shorts and features, including 2021 Doc10 selection PRAY AWAY. For over 10 years, Devaney has supported the work of such auspicious diverse new voices in nonfiction as Assia Boundaoui, Geeta Gandbhir, and Jacqueline Olive.

“The inaugural Luminary and Vanguard Awards were born to celebrate and promote the power of independent filmmaking,” said Doc10 co-founders Steve Cohen and Paula Froehle. “Jess and Bird represent the now and the future of great, cinematic documentary producing and how independent, fearless storytelling can promote real change in our world.”

About N. Bird Runningwater N. Bird Runningwater belongs to the Cheyenne and Mescalero Apache Peoples, and was raised on the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico. He is a Producer and Executive Producer for film and television and recently signed a first look deal with Amazon Studios. He is currently serving as a Co-Executive Producer on the TV show "Sovereign" with Ava DuVernay, Warner Brothers Television, and Array Filmworks. Prior to launching his producing career, Runningwater guided the Sundance Institute’s commitment to Indigenous Filmmakers for 20 years nurturing new generations of filmmakers through the Institute’s Labs and Sundance Film Festival. Prior to departing Sundance Institute, Runningwater served as the Director of Sundance Institute’s Indigenous Program; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Artist Programs. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and serves on the boards of directors of Illuminative and the Arctic Indigenous Film Fund. He was recently appointed to serve on the Library of Congress’ National Film Preservation Board, and is a past member of the Board of Jurors for the George Foster Peabody Awards. In Time Magazine’s 2019 Optimist Issue, Runningwater was listed among “12 Leaders Who Are Shaping the Next Generation of Artists''. Last year he was honored by the Los Angeles City/County Native American Indian Commission as the Spirit of Creativity Honoree for Native American Heritage month for his outstanding contributions to Los Angeles’ American Indian and Alaska Native Community and the Los Angeles community at large. Runningwater began his career in media 26 years ago as a Program Associate for the Media, Arts and Culture Program at the Ford Foundation in New York where he helped fund non-commercial radio, tv and film work across the US and around the world in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Russia. He is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with degrees in Journalism and Native American Studies, and he received his Master of Public Affairs degree from the University of Texas at Austin.

About Jessica Devaney Jessica Devaney is a Brooklyn-based producer and the Founder and President of Multitude Films. Her latest film AFTER SELMA: THE LOWNDES COUNTY FREEDOM PARTY, produced with Participant, will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival in June 2022. Recent films include Netflix Original PRAY AWAY in partnership with Ryan Murphy and Blumhouse, Oscar-shortlisted CALL CENTER BLUES (TOPIC), and APART, an episode of the Sesame Workshop NAACP-nominated series THROUGH OUR EYES (HBO Max). She also produced Sundance award-winning and IDA-nominated ALWAYS IN SEASON (Independent Lens 2020), Livingston Reporting award-winning THE FEELING OF BEING WATCHED (POV 2019) dubbed “a real-world conspiracy thriller” by Variety, and Peabody-nominated ROLL RED ROLL (POV, Netflix 2019). Additional credits include Critic’s Choice-nominated SPEED SISTERS (Netflix) and CALL HER GANDA (POV), among others. Her films have screened at top festivals including Sundance, SXSW, Tribeca, BlackStar, and Telluride. Jessica founded QueerDoc and was a Sundance Edit and Story Lab fellow, Women at Sundance fellow, and Sundance Creative Producing Lab advisor. She received DOC NYC and TOPIC’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Award and the 2019 Cinereach Producers Award.

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