Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience (2007) - News Poster

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Oscars: How Has Race Been Featured in the Best Documentary Category Since 2000?

Ava DuVernay (Courtesy: Kevork Djansezian/Reuters)

By: Carson Blackwelder

Managing Editor

Let’s talk about race in this year’s Oscar race, shall we? Three of the top films up for best documentary feature this year — 13th (Netflix), I Am Not Your Negro (Magnolia), and O.J.: Made in America (Espn) — all deal with the black experience in the United States through various lenses. These movies, all favorites to make the official list of five nominees that will battle it out for the big win, drive home the fact that this is still a very important and is one of the Academy’s favorite topics to highlight — but has that always been the case?

First, let’s take a more in-depth look at what these three leading docs deal center around. Ava DuVernay’s 13th provides an in-depth look at the prison system and how the nation’s history of racial
See full article at Scott Feinberg »

Staggering True Iraq War Story Animatic - Men In Black

This may not be a sci-fi or comic book/superhero short film, but it is still staggeringly badass! This is a 7-minute long beautifully illustrated animatic that tells the true story of an experience Colby Buzzell had while serving his country in Iraq. The short is called "Men in Black," and it's just part of a feature-length documentary called Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience. I believe Buzzell is also the narrator of this short. It was grippingly illustrated by Christopher Koelle, and it really does a great job of driving your emotions. I was hooked right away, and I really hope you like this one.
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CNN Moves Into Filmmaking

At the beginning of this week, Cable News Network (CNN) announced that they have created a division entitled CNN Films. The organization intends to secure feature-length documentaries for air on CNN and CNN International, alongside theatrical distribution. The move is part of a wider strategy to acquire original non-fiction content to complement CNN’s award-winning news programs.

The strategy was announced by CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker.

Girl Rising, the first documentary acquired by CNN Films — which you can watch below — will air in spring 2013. The film, which inspired a global action campaign to promote girls’ education called 10×10, tells the extraordinary stories of several girls from around the globe fighting to overcome impossible odds to realize their dreams. The film includes voice performances by Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep, Academy Award Nominee Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez. Girl Rising is directed by Academy Award Nominee Richard E. Robbins
See full article at CinemaSpy »

Girl Rising Trailer from CNN Films

Cable news channel CNN announced the formation of CNN Films today, a new division that will secure documentary films to air on the network. Girl Rising is the first project to debut under this new banner, featuring narration by actresses Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and Selena Gomez. The studio has released the first trailer for Girl Rising, airing on CNN in the spring of 2013. Take a look at the trailer, then read the official press release for more information regarding CNN Films.

Girl Rising - Trailer

CNN, the worldwide leader in news, today announced the creation of CNN Films to secure feature-length documentaries for air on CNN and CNN International, alongside theatrical distribution. The move is part of a wider strategy to acquire original non-fiction content to complement CNN's award-winning news programs; it was announced by CNN Worldwide Managing Editor Mark Whitaker.

Girl Rising the first documentary acquired by CNN Films,
See full article at MovieWeb »

CNN Announces CNN Films; First Documentary Features Streep, Hathaway (Video)

  • The Wrap
CNN announced the creation of CNN Films, which will develop documentaries with top filmmakers and secure films to release theatrically and air on CNN and CNN International. Creating and airing feature-length films will help CNN distinguish itelf from rivals MSNBC and Fox News as it struggles to improve primetime ratings. The company's first acquisition is "Girl Rising," a look girls' education worldwide directed by Academy Award Nominee Richard E. Robbins ("Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience"). It includes voice performances by Academy Award Winner Meryl Streep, Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway, Kerry Washington, and
See full article at The Wrap »

Shortlist for docu Oscar unveiled

NEW YORK -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday unveiled the 15 films on its 2007 documentary feature Oscar shortlist.

Four ThinkFilm releases made the cut, a record for the company and one of the biggest lineups ever for any distributor. They are Tony Kaye's abortion epic Lake of Fire, Bill Guttentag and Dan Sturman's World War II expose Nanking, Alex Gibney's Iraq War study Taxi to the Dark Side and Sean Fine and Andrea Nix's look at a Ugandan musical competition War/Dance.

The biggest boxoffice hit among the bunch by far is Michael Moore's health-care expose Sicko, from the Weinstein Co., but other high-profile releases were left off the list. Jonathan Demme's Jimmy Carter: Man From Plains and Amir Bar-Lev's child prodigy study My Kid Could Paint That from Sony Pictures Classics were expected to make the cut but didn't. Other notable absentees were Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg's look at Darfur, The Devil Came on Horseback; Picturehouse's gamers study The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters; and ThinkFilm's space-themed In the Shadow of the Moon.

Aside from Taxi, other films covering the Iraq War that made the list included Phil Donahue and Ellen Spiro's Body of War, Charles Ferguson's No End in Sight and Richard Robbins' Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience.

Features about other wars made the cut, too, including Steven Okazaki's White Light/Black Rain: The Destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and Richard Berge, Bonni Cohen and Nicole Newnham's World War II art study The Rape of Europa.

Virtually all films on the list were topical, including Tricia Regan's look at special-needs children, Autism: The Musical

'Sicko' among nominees for IDA honors

The five nominated features in the 23rd annual International Documentary Assn. Distinguished Documentary Achievement Awards competition were announced Thursday, and Crazy Love, Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Sicko, Taxi to the Dark Side and A Walk to Beautiful made the cut.

Winners will be announced at the IDA Awards gala benefit Dec. 7 at the DGA Theatre in Los Angeles.

Nominees in the short-film category are Black and White, "Body & Soul: Diana & Kathy," The Fighting Cholitas, Freeheld, and A Son's Sacrifice. Nominated programs in the continuing series competition are 30 Days (FX), American Experience (PBS), American Masters (PBS), This American Life (Showtime) and Wide Angle: Season Five (PBS). Limited-series category noms are Addiction (HBO), Coming Out Stories (Logo), The Hill (Sundance Channel) and The Supreme Court (PBS).

The IDA also will present the ABCNews VideoSource Award for the best utilization of television news footage as an integral component of the work; the Pare Lorentz Award to the filmmaker whose documentary best represents the activist spirit and lyrical vision of Pare Lorentz, who was the first recipient of the IDA Career Achievement Award; and the David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award.

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