April 1, 2000

2000 Academy Award Nominees

From Wim Wnders' <em>Buena Vista Social Club</em>

Nominees: Best Documentary Feature

One Day in September (*Winner)

Produced by Arthur Cohn and John Battsck
Directed by Kevin MacDonald
Executive Producer: Lillian Birnbaum
Cinematography by Alwin Kulcher and Neve Cunningham
Edited by Justine Wright
Narration by Michael Douglas
An Arthur Cohn Production, 91 min

Few events have brought home to the world the realities of modern terrorism quite so dramatically as the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich by a Palestinian group known as the Black September. The global media, there to cover the great sporting symbol of international brotherhood, instead was given a grandstand view of inter-racial hatred ending in horrific bloodshed. But 27 tears on, it is still not clear exactly what took place. One Day in September combines dramatic archival footage with detailed eye-witness testimony and the first and only interview with the sole surviving terrorist who actually took part in the operation.

Kevin MacDonald has directed numerous documentaries, including The Making og an Englishman, about his grandfather, screenwriter Emeric Pressburger; Digging Your Own Grave, chronicling his brother Andrew's experiences producing the movie Shallow Grave; Chaplin's Goliath: In Search of Scotland's Forgotten Film Star, a look at his homeland's first movie star, Eric Campbell; Donald Cammell: The Ultimate Performance, a study of the late film director; and the self-explanatory Howard Hawks: American Artist.

Arthur Cohn has produced such films as Sky Above, Mud Below, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, Black ad White in Colour, Dangerous Moves and American Dream, all of which won him Academy Awards. His other films include Sunflowers with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni, Women Times Seven with Shirley MacLaine and the internationally acclaimed documentary drama The Final Solution. He is the recipient of the titles 'Doctor honoris causa' from Boston University and "Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres" from the French Ministry of Culture.

 

Buena Vista Social Club

Produced by Ry Cooder, Jerry Boys, Ulrich Felsberg and Deepak Nayar
Directed by Wim Wenders
Executive Producers: Nick Gold, Ulrich Felsberg
Production Sound: Martin Müller
Edited by Brian Johnson
Director of Photography & Steadicam: Jörg Widmer
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment. 101 min.

Cuba is a land of sensuality, passion, determination and pride. It is also a land filled with stunningly dramatic music created by some of the world's greatest (and least recognized) musicians, many of whom can be seen and heard in Buena Vista Social Club. The film follows the musicians into the hot, dusty streets of their youth, where their recollections lead to touching—and often humorous—stories, which in turn serve as fuel for some of the most remarkable and heartfelt musical performances ever captured on screen. Buena Vista Social Club also covers the remarkable musical and spiritual journey of these unforgettable souls—from downtrodden, poor barrios to a celebrated venue in Amsterdam to the center stage of New York City's illustrious Carnegie Hall.

Wim Wenders is known worldwide for his artistic and critically acclaimed films, from shorts to features, including both documentaries and fiction. His work has garnered him a reputation as one of the most celebrated international directors. Wenders' many award-winning films include Wings of Desire, Until the End of the World, The American Friend and Paris, Texas. In 1991 he was appointed Chairman of the European Film Academy, and in 1996 was elected President of the organization. His latest film is the soon-to-be-released feature The Million Dollar Hotel.

Ulrich Felsberg began his producing career as an independent producer in 1983. Since running Wim Wenders' Road Movies Film-produktion company in 1986, he has produced over 40 films with Wenders, including Notebook on Cities and Clothes, Until the End of the World, Faraway So Close, Lisbon Story and the Wenders and Michaelangelo Antonioni film Beyond the Clouds. His other production credits include Carla's Song, My Name is Joe, Airbag and Vigo Passion for Life.

 

Genghis Blues

Produced and Photographed by Roko and Adrian Belic
Written, Directed and Edited by Roko Belic
Sound Recorded by Lemon DeGeorge
Technical DIrector/Online Editor: Ian M. Williamson
Distributed by Roxie Releasing. 88 min.

Paul Pena, a blind American blues legend, journeys to the distant Republic of Tuva, located in the heart of Asia between Siberia and Mongolia to compete in a "khoomei," or "throatsinging" competition. Geographically, politically and culturally isolated for centuries, Tuvans have learned to produce multiple tones simultaneously while singing. Tuvan Kongar-al Ondar, who won the 1992 throatsinging competition, invited his friend Pena to participate in the 1995 event.

Roko and Adrian Belic began their filmmaking life in grade school when a friend of theirs borrowed a Super-8 movie camera from his parents. Later, because the knob was broken off on the family's single television, and their mother used a wrench to lock the set to the local PBS station, Roko became enchanted with documentary films. In 1989, he enrolled at the University of Santa Barbara and majored in Studio Art, while studying Russian, Swahili and Arabic languages. Adrian went to the University of Southern California in 1988, majoring in Political Science with a minor in International Relations. He also took film classes and worked on student productions. Genghis Blues is Roko and Eric Belic's first professional effort.

 

On the Ropes

Produced and Directed by Nanette Burnstein and Brett Morgen
Director of Photography: Brett Morgen
Edited by: Nancy Baker and Nanette Burnstein
Orginal Music by Theodore Shapiro
Executive Producers: Jennifer Fox and Jonathan Cohen
Distributed by WinStar Cinema. 94 min.

At the New Bed-Stuy Boxing Center in Brooklyn, three young boxers—two men and a woman—train hard for a shot at winning the Golden Gloves amateur boxing tournament. But defeating other boxers is only half the battler. Faced with obstacles ranging from drug abuse and poverty in the inner city to their own self-doubts, these three individuals—George Walton, Tyrene Manson and Noel Santiago—will fight their toughest opponents without gloves. Their trusted trainer Harvey Keitt—part coach, part mentor—is the main motivational force in each of their lives, someone who dares each of them to stand tall both in and out of the ring, and to never give up on their dreams. On The Ropes follows the struggles of these boxers and their trainer at New Bed-Stuy from 1996 to 1998.

Nanette Burnstein has produced, written and edited several award-winning documentaries, including HBO's Emmy Award-winner Before You Go and the theatrically released In the Name of the Emperor. In 1996, Burnstein received a CableAce Award for Writing and in 1997, received an Emmy for producing a PBS special n theater auteur Richard Foreman.

Brett Morgn is the producer and director of several acclaimed documentaries, including the CINE Eagle Award-winning Blessings of Liberty, a film about small-town America; and the IDA and Emmy-honored Ollie's Army, about Oliver North's 1994 Virginia Senate campaign. Morgen also directed the 26-art music series On Tour for PBS.

 

Speaking in Strings

Produced by Paola di Flori and Lilibet Foster
Directed by Paola di Florio
Director of Photography: Peter Radar
Edited by Ellen Goldwasser
Original Score by Karen Childs
Distributed by Seventh Art Releasing
An IDA Fiscal Sponsorship Film. 73 min.

Spaking in Strings profiles the controversial world-renowned violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, whose unorthodox, passionate deliver, swagger and unconventional attire earned her the nickname "the bad girl of the violin." A funny, fearless and irreverent individual, Nadja has played on every major stage and with every major orchestra in the world. This intimate character study spotlights Nadaja's fascinating life as soloist and recording artist. While unveiling the truth about how the violin saved her life. A moving and often humorous story about one of the most unique and gifted classical musicians in the world, Speaking in Strings is also a tale of the struggle and determination of one individual—part genius and part maverick—to overcome her inner turmoil and succeed in a world bound by convention.

Paola di Florio is a Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker who has produced the TV series Director on Direcctors for Telepiu' /Canal Plus. di Florio began her documentary career producing news shorts for RAI (Italian National Television) on social and political issues in America. She has operated as a freelancer for CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, TBS and A&E and is currently working on a character study of a celebrity drag queen.

Lilibet Foster, an independent filmmaker working in New York City, produces and directs feature-length films as well as television programs, commercials and industrials. Her credits include the Independent Spirit Award-winning Soul in the Hole about street basketball; profiles of Muhammed Ali, Joe DiMaggio and Ronald Reagan for A&A; and Film in the Television Age,  about the rivalry between the media, for the BBC/PBS co-production American Cinema.

 

Nominees: Best Documentary Short Subject

King Gimp (*Winner)

Produced by Susan Hannah Hadary and William A. Whiteford
Directed and Photographed by William A. Whiteford
Written by Daniel Keplinger
Edited by Geof Bartz
Music by Michael Bacon
Distributed by Tapestry International Ltd. and Home Box Office. 39 min.

Dan Keplinger pushes the button to open the door. The door opens and closes before he gets tto it. Dan kicks the door open. This is his life. For 13 years, the filmmakers o King Gimp followed Dan with their camera, presenting the images and experiences of his childhood, ten years and early 20s. Dan writes or speaks his own words—words the world has never heard. From a child being thrown over his mother's shoulder or pushed in a wheelchair to a college graduate at his commencement ceremony crossing the field house stage to pick up his diploma, Dan's journey has been a difficult one. His is a lifetime struggle.

Susan Hannah Hadary and William A. Whiteford have been co-producing documentaries since 1980. Their two-decade collaboration has brought to the screen the portraits of many "ordinary people" who have had exceptional life circumstances. Joining the lives of others, they find themselves unable to pull away, and on several occasions have continued filming for over a decade to observe the life experience. Their many award-winning films include Bong and Donnell, a 10-year portrait of two inner city boys, and Grace, which follows the life of an Alzheimer's patient from diagnosis to death. Whiteford and Hadary are the recipients of 10 CINE Golden Eagles, six regional Emmy Awards for Best Documentary and Achievement in Directing and Cinematography.

 

Eyewitness

Produced and Directed by Bert Van Bork
Co-Produced by Ulf Bäckström
Written by Michael Harvey
Director of Photography: Bert Van Bork
​Edited by Bert Van Bork and Ulf Bäckström
Music Composed by Sheldon Elias
Executive Producer: Granvil Specks
Narrated by Bill Kurtis
Distributed by Marbert Art Foundation. 38 min.

Eyewitness: The Legacy of Death Camp Art examines a unique genre of art—sketches and painting done secretely by men and women who lived and died inside the walls of the Nazi death camps. This body of work, much of it unearthed for the first time from the death camp's archives, provides chilling testimony to Auschwitz's daily routine of torture and execution. Eyewitness documents the life and work of three artists—Jon Komski, Dina Gottliebova and Felix Nussbaum, who witnessed and painted the horror over 50 years ago.

Bert Van Bork is a multi-award-winning producer, director, cinematographer and still photographer. He has been honored with 50 Golden Eagle Awards from CINE. His work includes two films about Hawaii's Kilauea Volcano eruption, Fire Mountain and Birth of a Mountain. Early in his career, Van Bork was Encyclopedia Britannica's distinguished producer/cinematographer-in-residence.

 

The Wildest Show in the South: The Angola Prison Rodeo

Produced by Jonathan Stack and Simeon Soffer
Directed by Simeon Soffer
Cinematograph by Michael Cohen, Simeon Soffer, Ramzy Telley
Edited by Simeon Soffer
Distributed by Gabriel Films. 24 min.

Each Sunday in October, the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola hosts one of America's most unusual events. Over 6,000 free people line up to enter the gates of America's largest maximum security prison and pack themselves into a rodeo arena encircled with razor wire and surrounded by guard towers. Amateur inmate cowboys who have been on their best behavior all year can participate in one of the last remaining prison rodeos in the country. Called "The Wildest Show in the South,"the Angola Prison Rodeo is a dangerous as well as entertaining spectacle. Is it a modern-day Roman circus, or the one chance all year that these men have a chance to prove their courage?

Simeon Soffer is a New York filmmaker whose credits include I, Rodeo Bullfigther, a documentary on rodeo clowns, and Deep Sea, Deep Secrets, a film on hydrothermal vents, both of which have been broadcast on the Discovery channel. A graduate of Disney's California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, Calif., Soffer ran his own music video and commercial production company in New Yok before directing documentaries for Gabriel Films.

Jonathan Stack formed Gabriel Films in 1991 and began making documentaries with filmmakers and international television partners. His first effort, produced with the support of the BBC, was One Generation More, a film about the resurgence of Jewish culture in Estonia after 50 years of Soviet domination. He has gone on to produce over 20 films, all of which have been broadcast on major TV networks around the world. His most recent film, The Farm: Angola, USA, won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, two Emmys and several other awards.

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