The Academy Award Shortlist Has Been Announced and ITVS Couldn’t Be Happier!

What a week for ITVS! First the Sundance Film Festival announced the lineup for 2013, then Time Magazine showed Invisible War some love in their “Top Movies of 2012”, the National Board of Review listed three ITVS funded films in their “Top 5 Documentaries”, and now the Academy Award shortlist is out!

Before anyone walks down any red carpets or starts penning acceptance speeches, the Academy names a number of films (15 to be exact!) to advance in order to help narrow down the voting process for Best Documentary Feature. With over 126 films in contention for the Oscar, ITVS is more than a little excited to see some very familiar titles on the Academy Award shortlist:

The field will be narrowed to five titles when the Oscar nominations are announced in early January.

Independent Lens Presents: A Social Screening of Hell and Back Again

The Academy Award-nominated documentary by Danfung Dennis will stream here on Tuesday, May 29 at 8pm ET / 5pm PT — following its Monday night premiere on PBS.

The documentary follows then 25 year-old Sgt. Nathan Harris’s experience fighting the war in Afghanistan and recovering from a serious injury back in the U.S.

In his gripping feature length doc, filmmaker Danfung Dennis skillfully inter-cuts both worlds to show the intense battle scenes alongside the grinding routine of life at home.

Sgt. Harris has been invited to participate in Tuesday’s social screening as a panelist.
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Late Night Oscar Diaries from Independent Lens

Independent Lens Series Producer Lois Vossen attended Sunday night’s Academy Awards in Los Angeles. She was there to support two nominated films for Best Documentary feature: Independent Lens’ Hell and Back Again and the ITVS-funded If a Tree Falls (which aired on POV). The documentary Undefeated wound up taking the prize. Still, Lois had a blast and as the evening came to a close, she phoned in (literally) this recap via the BTB hotline. Here are the highlights….

Hi there! Well it was a great night. The debate is on whether or not Billy Crystal was funny and whether or not the show was well paced.

As we were leaving, I ran into Wim Wenders who made Pina and I went over and spoke with him and he said “I’m very, very sorry that Hell and Back Again lost because it was a magnificent film and I would have been honored to have lost to Hell and Back Again, honored!” So I introduced him to Fiona Otway who edited the film.
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Live Chat with Filmmaker Marshall Curry

POV invites you to join filmmaker Marshall Curry (If a Tree Falls, Racing Dreams) for a live chat today at 11AM PT / 2PM ET.  Follow this link to participate in the live chat.

Participating in the live chat will be Marshall Curry, director of Racing Dreams and the Oscar-nominated film If a Tree Falls, along with a special guest, driver Annabeth Barnes, who was featured in Curry’s POV documentary Racing Dreams. Join the chat TODAY for a chance to ask both Marshall and Annabeth your questions at 11AM PT / 2PM ET!

Oscar Nominated Filmmakers Visit Talk of The Nation

Filmmakers Danfung Dennis (Hell and Back Again) and Marshall Curry (If A Tree Falls) appeared separately on NPR this week to discuss their respective films — both of which have been nominated for an Academy Award. Listen to the interviews with host Neal Conan, below:

Hell and Back Again
“After so many years of war, society’s become numb to pictures of conflict, and so I felt like I had to move into a new medium to try to shake people from their indifference.” — Danfung Dennis on Hell and Back Again (the documentary will premiere on Independent Lens on May 24 and nationwide on Memorial Day). LISTEN TO FULL INTERVIEW HERE.


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“If a Tree Falls” Filmmaker Reacts to Oscar Nomination

By Steve Goldbloom, Reporting for PBS and BTB at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Sam Cullman, co-director and cinematographer of If a Tree Falls reacts to his Oscar Nomination, which he learned about on Tuesday at Sundance.

The movie takes a behind-the-scenes look at Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls the “number one domestic terrorism threat” in America. If a Tree Falls aired on POV this past fall.

“Hell and Back Again” Filmmaker Danfung Dennis Reacts to Oscar Nomination

By Steve Goldbloom, Reporting for PBS and BTB at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Danfung Dennis woke up this morning in Park City as an Academy Award nominated filmmaker for his documentary Hell and Back Again. The film weaves together two overlapping narratives of a Marine at war on the front and in recovery at home. BTB caught up with the filmmaker earlier today on Main St at the Sundance Film Festival.

Hell and Back Again will air on May 24 on Independent Lens.

Oscar Nominees for Best Doc Include: Hell and Back Again & If a Tree Falls

Early Tuesday morning the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominees. Among the films selected for best documentary were two ITVS programs: Hell and Back Again by Danfung Dennis (coming to Independent Lens on May 24) and If a Tree Falls by filmmakers Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman (broadcast last September on POV). BTB will be speaking with filmmakers Dennis and Cullman later today in Park City at the Sundance Film Festival to get their reaction on the nomination. Until then, join us in congratulating the filmmakers and watch the trailers below:

Find the complete list of nominated film here.

Oscar-Nominated Waste Land Heads to Independent Lens

Director Lucy Walker attended Sunday night’s academy awards as one of five films nominated for Best Documentary Feature

Lucy Walker and the Waste Land crew were on hand for last night’s 83rd Annual Academy Award ceremony in Los Angeles. The award for Best Documentary Feature was eventually dealt out to Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs for Inside Job.

As we said on BTB last Friday, it is a HUGE honor to be nominated and we congratulate Lucy and the entire Waste Land team on the recognition.
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Seriously, It’s an Honor to Be Nominated

ITVS has picked up a dozen Academy Award nominations over the years, including this year’s nod to Lucy Walker’s Waste Land

Waste Land filmmaker Lucy Walker will be on display this Sunday night as the 83rd Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The film, featuring Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’ portraits of garbage, is one of five films nominated in the category for Best Documentary Feature.

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