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Best Short Documentary Award Nominees 2011

By IDA Editorial Staff

Poster Girl (*Winner)
Director: Sara Nesson
Producers: Mitchell Block, Sara Nesson
Consulting Producer: Ross Kauffman
Supervising Producer: Sara Bernstein
Executive Producer: Sheila Nevins
Portrayal Films, Inc. in association with HBO Documentary Films

Robynn Murray was a typical American teen from a family with a proud history of serving in the military. Her enthusiastic participation as a Civil Air Patrol cadet when she was growing up prepared her to be a gung-ho recruit when she joined the US Army in 2003. What she had not prepared for was the dehumanizing conditions she faced during the war. She returned home at age 20 a physical and emotional wreck. Poster Girl, a 2011 Academy Award nominee for best documentary short, is an intimate look at Murray's life as she endures the inner turmoil and external obstacles faced by thousands of returning veterans throughout the country.


Broken Doors
Director/Producer: Goro Toshima

Broken Doors follows a young homeless couple struggling to survive on the streets of Hollywood. In the midst of an unrelenting stream of obstacles, pitfalls and struggles--the constant search for food and a viable living space, looking for work as a homeless person in one of the worst economies of modern times, the struggle to maintain dignity--they confront one of the biggest challenges of their lives: an unexpected pregnancy. Broken Doors is about Rico and Starr's struggle to survive and attempt to rise above their circumstances.


Maya Deren's Sink
Director/Producer/Writer: Barbara Hammer
Barbara Hammer Productions

Maya Deren's Sink is an evocative tribute to the mother of avant-garde American film, as recounted by those who knew her. Teiji Ito's family, Carolee Schneemann and Judith Malvina float through the homes recalling in tiny bits and pieces words of Deren's architectural and personal interior space. Clips from Deren's films are projected back into the spaces where they were originally filmed, appearing on the floorboard, furniture and in the bowl of her former sink. Fluid light projections of intimate space provide an elusive agency for a filmmaker most of us will never know, as film with its imaginary nature evokes a former time and space.


Director: Davina Pardo
Producers: Davina Pardo, Andrew Blum
Birdling Films

Minka is a film about place and memory, a farmhouse in Japan, and the lives of the people who called it home.


The Warriors of Quigang
Director: Ruby Yang
Producers: Thomas Lennon, Ruby Yang
Writer:Thomas Lennon
Executive Producers:Walter and Shirley Wang
Thomas Lennon Films, Smiley Film Distribution & World Sales, The Cinema Guild

Zhang Gongli is a farmer who grew up in the village of Qiugang, in Anhui Province; his house and fields lie near the banks of the Huai River. In 2004, private chemical companies took over an old state-owned enterprise that had long produced pesticides and dyes in Qiugang. As production ramped up, black waters disgorged from the plants and flooded the fields of Qiugang. Fish died, crops failed, and villagers grew alarmed by the large numbers of their own succumbing to cancer. When his own fields could no longer be farmed, Zhang filed a lawsuit against the factory that adjoins his land. He lost. This marked the beginning of a stubborn and often dangerous campaign that spanned five years.