Skip to main content

71st Annual Academy Award Winners

By IDA Editorial Staff

A woman from Matthew Diamond's 'Dancemaker' poses with her arm extended towards the ceiling.

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

Executive Producer: Walter Scheuer, with the Four Oaks Foundation
Produced by Jeny Kupfer and Matthew Diamond
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Director of Photography, Tom Hurwitz
Edited by Pam Wise Distributed by Artistic License
98 min.

Dancemaker is the tale of the extraordinary, peculiarly American phenomenon, the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Hailed as "the world's greatest living choreographer," Taylor's life is traced from solitary child to star dancer to master choreographer. Interviews with current and past members of the company offer glimpses of the pain, joy, obsession and love that motivate these artists. The film travels with Taylor and Company from rehearsal studio, to an embassy-sponsored tour of India, through a strike-threatened Broad way season, finally concentrating on Taylor's struggle to make a new dance that will be the centerpiece of his company's season.

Matthew Diamond has choreographed for many dance companies, including The Washington Ballet, Batsheva Dance Company and Bat­ Dor Dance Company of Israel. As a director, he has won two Emmys®, the Directors Guild Award, and the Humanitas Award.

Jerry Kupfer began producing live music and comedy programs for the Apollo Theatre and BET. He won an Emmy® for TV Nation and was co­-producer of the PBS documentary New School Order. He currently is producing with Jim Henson Television the 20-episode Nickelodeon series The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss.

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

THE FARM:Angola, U.S.A.

A Gabriel Films Production
Produced by Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus
Directed by Jonathan Stack, Liz Garbus and Wilbert Rideau
Directors of Photography: Samuel Henriques & Bob Perrin
Edited by Mona Davis and Mary Mandardt
Music by Curtis Lundy Distributed by Seventh Art Releasing
91 min.

Set in America's most infamous maximum security prison, The Farm refracts the spectrum of life's somber passages for a population facing life imprisonment. Focusing on the rites of passage of six men over the course of one year, the film articulates each man's struggle to sustain hope and achieve ever-elusive freedom. In their mirrored circumstances, each arrival, departure and defeat becomes a chilling confirmation of life's bitter inevitability.

Jonathan Stack's documentary career began with One Generation More (1990), a 60 min. film about the resurgence of Jewish culture in Estonia. Since then, he and Gabriel Films have produced more than 20 documentaries. His latest, Voices of Light: The Girls Choir of Harlem, will air on HBO in June.

Liz Garbus made her directorial debut with Final Judgment: The Execution of Antonio James for Discovery Channel, on which she worked with Wilburt Rideau (The Farm). Her prodigious career includes her own company, Firecracker Films, and forthcoming work with Rory Kennedy (Different Moms, Lifetime).

Nominated for Best Documemary Feature

Produced by June Beallor and Ken Lipper
Directed and Edited by James Moll
Presented by Steven Spielberg, in association with The Kenneth and Evelyn Lipper Foundation, and Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation
Director of Photography: Harris Done
Music by Hans Zimmer
Distributed by October Films
87 min.

The Last Days chronicles five Hungarians who fell victim to Adolf Hitler's final genocidal push at the end of World War II. From the villages of Carpathia to the cosmopolitan city of Budapest, the Nazis ravaged Hungary and filled the Auschwitz death camp beyond capacity. In The Last Days, survivors journey back to their hometowns and to the places where they faced the Holocaust. Their eyewitness testimony and rare archival footage reveal the harrowing journey that meant death for millions—and survival for a precious few.

June Beallor and James Moll have teamed together for over 10 years­ for Beallor, the emphasis has been on producing; Moll's has been on writing and directing. In 1994, they spearheaded Steven Spielberg's Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation; and in 1996, they produced the two-time Emmy®, Cable ACE and Peabody award-winning documentary Survivors of the Holocaust. Moll/Beallor Productions has a "first look" deal with DreamWorks SKG with a variety of film and television projects in development.

Ken Lipper's novels involved him in the film business (Wall Street and City Hall), along with his successful career in law and investment management.

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

LENNY BRUCE: Swear to Tell the Truth
An HBO Documentary
Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer
Produced, Written and Directed by Robert B. Weide
Edited by Geof Bartz and Robert B. Weide
Camera by Peter Jensen, Chuck Levey, Joel Sucher, Kenny Gioseffi, Biff Bracht and Mickey Freeman
Narrated by Robert DeNiro
Distributed by HBO & Whyaduck Productions
94 min.

Lenny Bruce: Swear to Tell the Truth documents the rise and struggles of one of the most influential humorists of our time. Through interviews with Lenny's mother, wife, daughter, buddies, lawyers, manager and club owners, the film follows Lenny's evolution from just another tuxedo-clad impressionist to a biting social satirist whose words landed him in jail and engendered lengthy trials that effectively ended his career—and, according to some, his life.

In 1982, at the age of 22, and having been rejected by the USC School of Cinema three times, Robert B. Weide produced The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell, a documentary tribute to Weide's heroes that became one of the highest-rated programs in PBS' s history. He went on to produce award­ winning specials on famed comedians for American Masters, Showtime and HBO. His first feature as writer-producer is Mother Night.

Nominated for Best Documentary Feature

A Sun Fountain Production
Produced by Janet Cole and Barbara Sonneborn
Directed by Barbara Sonneborn
Principal Photography by Emiko Omori
Edited by Ken Schneider and Lucy Massie Phenix
70 min .

Fifteen American and Vietnamese women meet, share memories and reflect on the impact that the Vietnam War has had on their lives. Shared experiences of loss collide with the vast differences between those lives within the war and those from a great distance. As the American women try to read between the lines of their husbands' letters, the Vietnamese recount the moment-to-moment uncertainties of life in a country at war.

Barbara Sonneborn, born in 1944 in Chicago, has been a working artist for 22 years. Twenty years after losing her husband Jeff to the Vietnam War, she realized that she had never completely gotten over that loss. Regret to Inform is her way of coming to terms with Jeff 's death.

Janet Cole is currently producing Pink Triangle with directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman for Channel Four and HBO/Cinemax. She has been producing films since 1987. For the past three years, she has served as president of the Film Arts Foundation board in San Francisco.

Nominated for Best Documentary Short

THE PERSONALS: Improvisations on Romance in the Golden Years
An HBO Documentary
Sheila Nevins, Executive Producer
Produced and Directed by Keiko Ibi
Director of Photography: Greg Pak
Music by John Califra
Edited by Milton Ginsberg and Keiko Ibi
Distributed by Home Box Office
37 min.

A drama group for senior citizens performs an original play at a community theater on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Drawn from the comedy and drama of their lives, the play features elderly people looking for dates through the personal ads. As the rehearsals progress, the camera turns to the individual members of the group at their homes in an attempt to uncover both the joys and sorrows of getting old in America.

Keiko Ibi was born in Tokyo and studied Japanese literature at Japan Women's University. At the age of 19, she was crowned "Miss Japan Grand Prix" in a beauty contest. She studied screenwriting and moved to the U.S. where she attended graduate film school at New York University (M.F.A., 1996).

Nominated for Best Documentary Short

A Guggenheim Production
Grace Guggenheim, Executive Producer
A Film by Charles Guggenheim
Field Director: Judith Dwan Hallett
Director of Photography: Erich Roland
Edited by Cathy Shields and Greg Henry
Distributed by The Woodstock Foundation, Vermont
33 min.

A Place in the Land tells the story of George Marsh, Frederick Billings and Laurance Rockefeller, three seminal figures in the history of the conservation movement in America. Though they were born generations apart, the trio was connected by a common vision and a common place: all three occupied the same home and surrounding land in Woodstock, Vermont, a place that instilled in each of them a determination to preserve America's natural resources and to teach their fellow man to live in harm ony with nature.

Charles Guggenheim has received twelve Academy Award® nominations, four Oscars®, the Peabody Award and top awards from every major film competition in the world. His Oscar films include: Nine from Little Rock (1964); RFK Remembered (1968); The Johnstown Flood (1989); and A Time for Justice (1994).

Nominated for Best Documentary Short

Executive Producers: David Yen-all and Barrie Angus McLean
Produced by Donald McWilliams and Barrie Angus McLean
Direction and Artwork by Shui-Bo Wang
Original Music by Melissa Hui
Animation Camera: Pierre Landry and Lynda Pelley
Distributed by the National Film Board of Canada
29 min.

Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square offers a personal perspective on the events that led up to June 4, 1989, when Chinese government troops opened fire on student demonstrators in Beijing. Through a collage of original artwork and family and archival photographs, this visual autobiography traces Shui-Bo Wang's transformation from loyal Communist to anti-government activist willing to risk his life to uphold the first stirrings of democracy.

Shui-Bo Wang, born in Shandong Province of China, in 1960, grew up during the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao. He entered Beijing's Central Academy of Fine Arts, in 1981, and soon found himself questioning the effectiveness of Communism. In 1989, after the Tiananmen Square massacre, he emigrated to Canada.

Donald McWilliams joined the NFBC in 1981 to work on Norman McLaren's last film, Narcissus. Since then, McWillians's films have won prizes in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, and have been invited to more than 50 of the world's most prestigious film festivals.