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1995 Academy Award Nominees: Best Documentary Short Subject

By IDA Editorial Staff


Producers: Vince DiPersio and Bill Guttentag
Directors: Vince DiPersio and Bill Guttentag
Writers: Vince DiPersio and Bill Guttentag
Associate Producer: Amy Bucher
Sound: Albee Gordon
Editor: Jason Rosenfield
Narrator: Alfre Woodard
Distributor: National Geographic Society

Blues Highway interweaves blues performances with the stories of some of the millions of African-Americans who migrated from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago and oth­er northern cities in the 1930s and '40s. Life in the delta for African-American sharecroppers was a constant struggle against virulent racism and extreme poverty. One thing that helped with the pain was the blues people would play and hear.

When migrants arrived in Chicago they brought their music, which is still part of the cultural life of that city. But by the 1950s the factories that had built up Chicago's African-American community started to close. When the jobs went, so did the neighborhoods, and the hopes and dreams of millions of people faded.

Vince DiPersio (Producer/Director/Writer) has been nominated for Academy Awards twice previously: in 1992 for the HBO special Death on the fob (which also won a CableACE Award) and in 1990 for HBO's Crack USA—County Under Siege (which he made with partner Bill Guttentag). DiPersio other credits include Five American Handguns—Five American Kids, which premiered on HBO in March, and Flying Blind, his first feature film, a co-production of NBC under Brandon Tartikoff and David Putnamat Columbia Pictures.

Bill Guttentag (Producer/Director/Writer) won an Academy Award for HBO's You Don't Have to Die in 1989. The following year he was again nominated for an Oscar, for Crack USA—Country Under Siege (made with partner Vince DiPersio).

He and DiPersio also produced and directed the 1992 ABC News/Peter Jennings special The Cocaine War: Lost in Bolivia and Five American Handguns—Five American Kids, which premiered on HBO in March.


Producers: Janusz Ska tkowski and Wojciech Szczudio
Director: Marcel Lozinski
Writer: Marcel Lozinski
Cinematography: Jacek Petrycki and Arthur Reinhart
Sound: Maigorzata Jaworska
Editor: Katarzyna Maciejko-Kowalczyk
Distributor: Studio Filmowe Kalejdoskop

At Brest-Litovsk, the border between Poland and the former Soviet Union, European railway tracks (which are 1435 mm wide) end, and Russian tracks (which are 1524 mm wide) begin. Because of this difference of 89 mm, every day workers have to change several thousand train car wheels so that international trains can pass through. This work is observed from the train windows by passengers from France, Germany, Holland, and elsewhere, becoming a metaphor for the relations between two related but different worlds.

Janusz Skatkowski and Wojcieh Szczudio (Producers) have been executive producers in the State Documentary Film Studio in Warsaw since 1978. They have produced more than 50 films for Polish TV, including works by Marcel Lozinski (Di­rector), Tadeusz Palka, and Marek Piwowski. In 1988, together with producers Zbigniew Domagalski and Piotr Sliwinski, they established the first independent private film studio in Poland, Studio Filmowe Kalejdoskop, to work with the top filmmakers in Poland.


Producer: Robert Richter
Cinematography: Rick Miranda
Sound: John Fitzpatrick and Charles Dixon
Editor: Bruce Follmer
Music: Bill Montvilo
Narrator: Susan Sarandon
Distributor: Maryknoll World Communications

School of (the Americas) Assassins is a hard-hitting documen­tary about the United States Army School of the Americas, some of its graduates, and continuing efforts by human rights activists to shut it down. Critics call this military training facility a "School of Assassins."

Heart-wrenching accounts of a few of the thousands of victims of actions by school graduates are intercut with footage of school training in commando operations and psychological warfare. Interviews include exclusives with Congressmen Joseph Kennedy and Joseph Moakley as well as talks with Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois, who established SOA Watch, Vicky Imerman of SOA Watch, and Rufina Amaya, a survivor of the El Mozote massacre.

Robert Richter (Producer) is a producer, director, and writer whose credits include Benjamin pock: Baby Doctor, The Money Lenders, Can Tropical Rainforests Be Saved?, the IDA Award-winning Who Shot President Kennedy?, the Academy Award-nominated Gods of Metal, Vietnam: An American Journey, A Plague on Our Chil­dren, Linus Pauling: Crusading Scientist, and Incident at Brown's Ferry.


Producers: Dee Mosbacher and Frances Reid
Directors: Dee Mosbacher and Frances Reid
Writer: Sharon Woods
Editor: Deborah Hoffmann
Sound: Lauretta Molitor
Music: Mary Watkins
Narrator: Dr. Robert McAfee Brown
Distributor: Women Make Movies

Straight from the Heart attempts to deal with the difficulties many families encounter when they discover that one of their members is gay or lesbian. It presents simple stories about real people: a police chief who talks about how proud he is of his lesbian daughter, a Mormon family whose son is believed to be the first gay man in Idaho to have died from AIDS­ related causes, and a black woman and her two lesbian daughters who have been accused of "catching" their lesbian predilections from white people. Perhaps one of the most moving segments revolves around Dr. Roscoe Thorne and his son Tracy, the naval aviator who was drummed out of the military in 1993 after admitting that he is homosexual.

Dee Mosbacher (Co-Producer/Co-Director), MD, PhD, is the outgoing medical director of the Mental Health Department of San Mateo County, California. Mosbacher founded and is president of Woman Vision Productions, a nonprofit educational media production company. She produced and directed Out for a Change: Addressing Homophobia in Women's Sports.

Frances Reid (Co Producer/Co-Director/Cinematographer) is an award-winning San Francisco filmmaker. Her produc tion and direction credits include The Face of AIDS (first prize at the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame) and Greetings from Washington, D.C. (San Francisco Cable Car Award for outstanding documentary). Her cinematography credits include Reno's Kids, Breaking Silence, and Academy Award winners Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt, In the Shadow of the Stars, and The Times of Harvey Milk.


Producer and Director: Charles Guggenheim
Associate Producer: Dan Sturman
Editor: Cathy Shields
Music: Michael Bacon
Distributor: Southern Poverty Law Center

Time for Justice compellingly recounts the story of the American Civil Rights Movement through the experi­ences of those who fought the battle for the right to vote during the 1950s and '60s.

Charles Guggenheim (Producer/Director), a Washington, D.C., based filmmaker, has achieved an international reputa­tion in the area of documentary films. His nonfiction films for television and theatrical release have covered architecture, his­tory, and social issues. Described by the Saturday Review's film critic, Hollis Alpert, as "probably the most accomplished maker of documentary films in the country," Guggenheim has won top awards in every major international film competition. He has received the George Foster Peabody Award in broadcasting, eight Academy Award nominations, and three Academy Awards.