Two Films by Columbia Filmmakers Win at Documentary and News Emmy Awards 2021

BY Felix van Kann, October 13, 2021

Two films by Columbia filmmakers received an Emmy at the 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards on September 29, 2021. Belly of the Beast, a feature documentary produced by alumna Angela Tucker '05, took home the Emmy in the Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary category while The Story of Plastic, a feature documentary produced by alumna Kyle Cadotte '17, won in the Outstanding Writing: Documentary category. 

Still from Belly of the Beast

Belly of the Beast follows an unlikely duo: Kelli Dillon, who was involuntarily sterilized at the age of 24 while incarcerated, and Cynthia Chandler, a human rights lawyer. Together, they discover a pattern of illegal sterilizations in women's prisons nearly forty years after they were banned, shielded by prison officials and doctors inside the correctional system. They wage a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. 


Tucker is an Emmy-nominated producer, writer, and director. Her directorial work includes Paper Chase, a teen comedy in pre-production with Gunpowder and Sky; All Styles, a dance movie available on Showtime; Black Folk Don’t, a four-season documentary web series featured in Time Magazine’s “10 Ideas That Are Changing Your Life,” and (A)sexual, a feature length documentary that streamed on Netflix and Hulu for four years. She is in her sixth year as Series Producer of the PBS strand, AfroPop and was Co-Producer on The New Black. Previously, she was Director of Production at Big Mouth Films, a social issue documentary production company. There, she worked on several award-winning documentaries, including Pushing the Elephant (Independent Lens). In 2006, she co-founded TuckerGurl LLC, a production company passionate about telling compelling and irreverent stories about underrepresented communities. Tucker was a Sundance Institute Women Filmmakers Initiative fellow and has recently been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Documentary branch

Still from The Story of Plastic

The Story of Plastic is a searing exposé revealing the ugly truth behind plastic pollution and the false solution of plastic recycling. Different from every other plastic documentary you’ve seen, the film presents a cohesive timeline of how we got to our current global plastic pollution crisis and how the oil and gas industry has successfully manipulated the narrative around it. From the extraction of fossil fuels and plastic disposal to the global resistance fighting back, The Story of Plastic is a life-changing film depicting one of the world’s most pressing environmental issues. The full film can be watched here


Kyle Cadotte is a female producer and alumna of Mill Valley, Tribeca, and Sundance Film Festivals. In addition to producing Discovery+'s The Story of Plastic, Cadotte in the past year has produced season 13 of the PBS docuseries Roadtrip Nation and she is currently the associate stage producer for Harry Potter: Tournament of the Houses (hosted by Helen Mirren), a competition series commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Warner Bros. film franchise’s launch with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.


The 42nd Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards honored programming content from more than 2200 submissions that originally premiered in calendar-year 2020, judged by a pool of 950 peer professionals from across the television and streaming/digital media News & Documentary industry.