Blindsight and Sisters-in-Law shortlisted
by Annika Pham
Two moving documentaries by female UK directors, Sisters-in-Law and Blindsight, have been shortlisted along with 13 US films for the nominations in the Best Documentary Film Category for this year’s Oscars race.
Blindsight has already screened at Toronto’s Real to Reel section and at the London Film Festival, where it received standing ovations. Lucy Walker, who also directed the award-winning documentary The Devil’s Playground, documented the amazing story of six blind Tibetan children who in 2004 attempted to climb a 23,000-foot peak near Mount Everest under the guidance of renowned, blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer. The resulting three-week journey of those heroic children was sensitively captured by the director, who is herself blind in one eye.
The film, which just won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the AFI Festival, was produced by Sybil Robson Orr for Robson Entertainment and US-based The Little Film Company handles world sales.
Co-directed by experienced documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto and Florence Ayisi, Sisters-in-Law was selected for the 2005 Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, where it won the AFCAE and CICAE awards as well as a Europa Cinemas Special Mention. It also won the 2005 IDFA Audience Award in Amsterdam.
The film, commissioned by FilmFour, is a portrayal of the human dramas that unfold in a small courthouse in south-west Cameroon, where cases of child abuse, wife-beating and rape are presided over by state prosecutors and crusading feminists Vera Ngassa and Beatrice Ntuba.
The nominees for the 79th Academy Awards will be announced on January 23, 2007.
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