John E. O'Connor Film Award Recipients
In recognition of his exceptional role as a pioneer in both teaching and research regarding film and history, the American Historical Association has established this award in honor of John E. O'Connor, New Jersey Institute of Technology. The honorific award seeks to recognize outstanding interpretations of history through the medium of film or video.
2016 O’Connor Film Award
Dramatic Feature: Son of Saul
László Nemes, director; Gábor Rajna and Gábor Sipos, producers (Laokoon Filmgroup)
Son of Saul is a powerful and visually arresting film that takes viewers inside the death camps of the Holocaust. While in their quest to be marketable filmmakers often clean up parts of this terrible history, Nemes’s film is brutal in its portrayal of brutality. In this way, the film stands apart from Hollywood treatments, favoring complexity over clarity.
Documentary: No Más Bebés
Renee Tajima-Peña, director; Virginia Espino, producer (Moon Canyon Films)
No Más Bebés is a provocative historical documentary about the involuntary sterilizations of Mexican immigrant women in the 1960s and 1970s. Filmmaker Renee Tajima-Peña uses historical footage, oral histories, and the written archive in order to tell and create this story before our very eyes. The film reveals how history is documented, but also how it is obscured, often at the expense of women, people of color, and American society as a whole.