April 3, 2012

Humanitas Documentary Award Nominees 2011

This award is given to a film that strives to unify the human family by exploring the stories of human beings who are different in culture, race, lifestyle, political loyalties and religious beliefs.

Position Among the Stars (Stand Van de Sterren) (*Winner)
Director/Writer: Leonard Retel Helmrich
Producer/Writer: Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich
Scarabeefilms, Films Transit International

For 12 years, filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich followed an Indonesian family from the slums of Jakarta. Just as in the first two multiple award-winning films in his trilogy, Eye of the Day and Shape of the Moon, Retel Helmrich continues to show us the underlying patterns of life in Indonesia in Position Among the Stars. He presents that both literally and metaphorically with his revolutionary camerawork. His intimate access to the Indonesian Sjamsuddin family provides viewers a microcosm depicting the most important issues of life in Indonesia today: corruption, conflict between religions, gambling addiction, the generation gap and the growing difference between poor and rich.

 

The Carrier
Director/Writer: Maggie Betts
Producers: Maggie Betts, Ben Selkow, Joedan Okun, Benjamin Prager
Executive Producer: Roland Betts
Tent Full of Birds Productions

Told through the eyes of an increasingly empowered heroine, The Carrier is a powerful and moving portrait of an unconventional family, set against the backdrop of the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zambia. This lyrical film follows Mutinta Mweemba, a 28-year-old subsistence farmer living in a polygamous marriage. After learning she is HIV-positive and pregnant, Mutinta sets out to keep her unborn child virus-free and break the cycle of transmission.

 

How To Die in Oregon
Director/Producer: Peter D. Richardson
Executive Producers: Melody Korenbrot, Sheila Nevins/HBO
Supervising Producer: Jacqueline Glover/HBO
Clearcut Productions in association with HBO Documentary Films

In 1994, Oregon became the first state in the US to legalize physician aid-in-dying. At the time, only two countries (Switzerland and the Netherlands) permitted the practice, but more than 500 Oregonians have since ended their life using the law. The intimate Sundance Award-winning documentary How To Die in Oregon is a powerful, compassionate exploration of Oregon's historic and controversial Death with Dignity Act, which legalizes physician aid-in-dying for some terminally ill patients. The film tells the stories of people who died under the act, and follows the crusade of one woman who honors her husband by fighting for similar choices in the state of Washington.

 

The Learning
Director/Producer/Writer: Ramona S. Diaz
Executive Producers: Tony Gloria/Unitel, Sally Jo Fifer/ITVS, Simon Kilmurry/American Documentary/POV
CineDiaz, POV, Women Make Movies

The Learning chronicles an emotionally charged year in the lives of four Filipino women as they leave their homeland to teach in Baltimore's inner-city schools. With their increased salaries, they hope to transform their families' impoverished lives back home. But the women also bring idealistic visions of the teacher's craft and of life in America, which soon collide with Baltimore's tough realities.

 

The Tiniest Place (El Lugar Más Pequeño)
Director:Tatiana Huezo
Producer:Nicolás Celis
Executive Producers:Liliana Pardo, Henner Hofmann
Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica/Foprocine

This is a story about mankind's ability to arise, rebuild and reinvent itself after surviving a tragedy. It is also a story of a people who have learned to live with their sorrow; of an annihilated town that re-emerges through the strength and deep love of its inhabitants for the land and the people; of a tiny place nestled in the mountains amidst the humid Salvadoran jungle.

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