December 1, 1996

1996 IDA Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards

From Jon Blair's <em>Anne Frank Remembered</em>

BREATHING LESSONS: THE LIFE AND WORK OF MARK O'BRIEN
Produced, directed and written by Jessica Yu
Director of Photography: Shana Hagan Music
Composed by Sandra Tsing Loh Edited by Jessica Yu
Sponsored by the International Documentary Association Distributed by Inscrutable Films
35 min.

BREATHING LESSONS explores the unique world of Mark O'Brien, the poet-journalist who has lived for four decades paralyzed in an iron lung. Incorporating the vivid imagery of O'Brien's poetry and his candid, wry and often profound reflections of work, sex, death and God, this provocative documentary asks: What is a life worth saving? By presenting O'Brien's life from his point of view, the film provides an intimate window into the reality of a life of severe disability, as well as a n illuminating portrait of a remarkable artist.

JESSICA YU is a filmmaker and writer based in Los Angeles, Yu's films include Sour Death Balls, The Conductor, HomeBase: A Chinatown Called Helenville and Men of Reenactment. She served as associate producer on Rose Kennedy: A Life to Remember and Maya Lin. A graduate of Yale University, she recently served on the Board of Directors for IDA and as an organizing committee member for the first International Documentary Congress.

 

ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED
Produced, Directed and Written by Jon Blair
Director of Photography: Barry Ackroyd
Edited by Karin Steininger
Music Composed and Conducted by Carl Davis
Distributed by Sony Pictures Classics
122 min.

With narration by Shakespearean actor Kenneth Branagh, and diary extracts read by Glenn Close, this 1996 Academy Award ®-winning documentary feature records the life and legacy of the young girl whose diary of her two years in hiding during World War II sold over 25 million copies in fifty-four languages since its publication in 1947. The documentary is the first film to be made in co-operation with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, allowing filmmakers access to the hiding place itself Eye-witnesses to Anne's early childhood through her days in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp return to the locales to recall their experience of this young woman. The film also traces her father's painful postwar journey as he searches for his family and learns their terrible fate. The story of Anne Frank has become a classic of tolerance and hope.

JON BLAIR is a producer-director-writer, Blair has worked in theatrical films, broadcast television and live theatre. His documentary Schindler won a British Academy Award. Other documentaries include Do You Mean There Are Still Real Cowboys?, The Art of Tripping and gnar vs. gnar. He has covered domestic and foreign stories for British television as current affairs producer/director.

 

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH'S THE PRIVATE LIFE OF PLANTS: THE BIRDS & THE BEES
Written and Hosted by Sir David Attenborough
Executive Producers: Mike Salisbury and Pat Mitchell
Supervising Producer: Vivian Schiller
Photography: Tim Shepherd, Richard Kirby, Richard Ganniclifft, Neil Bramhall, Trevor DeKock, Michael Pitts, John Waters
Film Editor: Jo Payne
Music: Richard Grassby-Lewis
A co-production of the BBC and Turner Original Productions, Inc.
54 min.

World-renowned naturalist David Attenborough reveals in The Private Life of Plants the compelling mysteries of our gardens. In "The Birds & The Bees" we learn that reproduction in plants is much more exciting and colorful than the term "pollination" might imply: the most reliable method is the use of animal messengers, and each plant has a strategy to attract and guide its chosen courier. The latest advances in film/video technology are employed: large working models and computer animation; fiber optics; and time-lapse photography.

MIKE SALISBURY has been at the BBC Natural History Unit for more than twenty years. He has worked with David Attenborough on Life on Earth and was executive producer of Lost Worlds—Vanished Lives. He co-produced The Discovery of Animal Behavior and has produced many films for Wildlife on One and The Natural World.

PAT MITCHELL is Trustee of the IDA and President of Turner Original Productions. She supervises all non-fiction development, production and original programming for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. She joined TBS in 1992, having previously worked with WBZ-TV (Boston), Pat Mitchell Productions and VU Productions, the non-fiction division of Gary David Goldberg's UBU Productions.

VIVIAN SCHILLER is senior vice president and general manager of Turner Original Productions, where she has supervised more than 100 hours of original programming, including Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream and The Native Americans. Prior to her current position, she served TBS as vice president for development; she joined the company during Turner's expansion into co-production with the former USSR.

 

TROUBLESOME CREEK: A MIDWESTERN
Produced, Directed and Written by Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher
Cinematography: Steven Ascher Editing: Jeanne Jordan
Music: Sheldon Mirowitz Distributed by West City Films
88 min.

In the Spring of 1990, when Jeanne Jordan's father Russ called to say that his Iowa farm—in the family for 125 years—was threatened with foreclosure, the couple was in shock. Having survived the dust bowl, the Depression and two world wars, the family farm now faced an insurmountable crisis in the form of the nationwide recession of the 1990s. The unscripted film accumulated 27 hours of footage, and in the editing process emerged the themes of family, marriage, aging, loss and survival. The resulting Academy Award®-nominated feature documentary illustrates the fragile nature of rural communities today.

JEANNE JORDAN and STEVEN ASCHER. For more than 15 years, Jordan has made documentary and fiction films for PBS and HBO; her editing credits include Eyes on the Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, American Playhouse and The American Experience. Steven Ascher has been making fiction and documentary films since the late 1970s; his work includes Life and Other Anxieties (with Ed Pincus) and Accounts from the Life of George Wilkins (with Claude Chelli). He is also co­-author of The Filmmaker s Handbook.

 

THE WAR WITHIN: A PORTRAIT OF VIRGINIA WOOLF
Produced by Morren Bruus and John Fuegi
Directed by John Fuegi and Jo Francis
Written by John Fuegi
Director of Photography: Morten Bruus
Edited and Music by Niels Pagh Andersen
Narrated by Ian Redford, with voices by Anna Massey and Juliet Nicolson Distributed by Mette Hoffman, TV2 Denmark
52 min.

THE WAR WITHIN explores the life and work of British novelist and critic Virginia Woolf, seen in context of the momentous events of her time, with particular attention to her experiences and insights about the roots of violence and oppression. With archival footage, paintings, interviews with relatives and others, and haunting family photos of a Victorian childhood of both beauty and abuse, the film interweaves the subject's life and loves with the events of her turbulent times.

JOHN FUEGI and MORTEN BRUUS. The War Within is a co-production of two small not-for-profit companies, one in Copenhagen and the other in the state of Maryland in the U.S. Earlier documentary work by John Fuegi includes Genesis, Red Ruth: That Deadly Longing, recipient of the Best Film Award in the 1993 Danish "TV Oscars" and the Silver Diploma at Berlin's Prix Futura competition; and Beckett Directs Beckett. Cinematographer/producer Morten Bruus has shot more than fifty films throughout the world, including The Earth is Our Mother and The Journey Back, he was responsible for the cinematography on Bo Widerberg's All Things Fair, nominated for an Academy Award ® for Best Foreign Film in 1996.

 

Feature Length Nominees

 

AMAZON JOURNAL
Produced and Directed by Geoffrey O'Connor

ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED
Produced and Directed by Jon Blair

BLUE EYED
Produced by Claus Strigel; Directed by Benram Verhaag

BONTOC EULOGY
Produced and Directed by Marlon E. Fuenres

CALLING THE GHOSTS: A Story A Story of Rape, War a and Women
Produced by Mandy Jacobson
Directed by Mandy Jacobson and Karmen Jelincic

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH'S THE PRIVATE LIFE OF PLANTS: The Birds & The Bees
Produced by Mike Salisbury, Park Mitchell and Vivian Schiller

THE GATE OF HEAVENLY PEACE
Produced by C. Hinton, R. Gordon, P. Kovler
Directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon

HOLDING GROUND: The Rebirth Of Dudley Street
Produced and Directed by Leah Mahan And Mark Lipman

KIDS OF SURVIVAL : The Art and Life of Tim Rollins & K.O.S.
Produced and Directed by Danya Goldfine and Dan Geller

A PERFECT CANDIDATE
Produced and Directed by R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor

A PERSONAL JOURNEY WITH MARTIN SCORSESE THROUGH AMERICAN MOVIES
Produced by Florence Dauman
Directed by Martin Scorsese and Michael Henry Wilson

PROCEDURE 769
Produced by Ruu Monster and Jan Helps
Directed by Jaap Van Hoewijk

THE SAN PATRICIOS
Produced and Directed by Mark R. Day

SYNTHETIC PLEASURES
Produced by George Gund; Directed by Iara Lee

TROUBLESOME CREEK : A Midwestern
Produced and Directed by Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher

THE WAR WITHIN: A Portrait Of Virginia Woolf
Produced by Morten Bruus and John Füegi
Directed by John Füegi and Jo Francis

UNDER NEW YORK
Produced by Michael Halslund-Christensen
Directed by Jacob Thuesen

 

Short Length Nominees

 

BREATHING LESSONS: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien
Produced and Directed by Jessica Yu

IN HARM'S WAY
Produced and Directed by Jan Krawitz

LISTENING AT THE LUNCHEONETTE, Episode 5: Running on Indian Time
Produced and Directed by Carole Lucia Satrina and Eugene Marner

SNAKEHEADS: The Chinese Mafia & The New Slave Trade
Produced and Directed by Jon Alpert, Ying Chan, Peter Kwong

UNITED STATES OF POETRY: The Land and The People
Produced by Joshua Blum and Bob Holman
Directed by Mark Pellington

 

1996 IDA/David L. Wolper Student Achievement Award Merit Winners

 

INDEPENDENT LITTLE CUSS
Jeff Patterson—Loyola Marymount University

JUST FOR THE RIDE
Amanda Micheli—Harvard University

MEMOIRS OF A FRUSTRATED HEDONIST
Claas Danielsen—Munich Film Academy, Germany

OLLIE'S ARMY
Brett Morgen—New York University

RECONSTRUCTION
Laurence Green—Concordia University, Canada

SPIRITS RISING
Ramona S. Diaz—Stanford University

SUBWAY TRACKS
Jon Osman—New York University

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