Monday, April 3, 2017

Documentaries and the Academy Awards

The short documentary Artists and Orphans: A True Drama follows a New York theater group that worked to improve the lives of orphaned children they encountered in the Republic of Georgia while attending an arts festival. Artists and Orphans: A True Drama screened at various film festivals throughout 2001 and 2002, and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Short Subject during the 74th Academy Awards. 

Academy Awards for documentary works fall under two categories: Documentary Feature for films with a running time of more than 40 minutes and Documentary Short Subject for films with a running time less than 40 minutes, credits included. Films must meet at least one of three criteria before they can become eligible for nomination. The criteria include a seven-day commercial run at a theatrical venue, receiving a documentary medal at the Student Academy Awards the year prior, or winning a qualifying documentary award at a competitive film festival. In addition, films must meet these criteria within the timeframe established by that year’s Academy Awards. 

Members of the Documentary Branch will view all works submitted for consideration and employ an average score system to create a shortlist of 10 films. A second round of balloting will select five documentaries from the shortlist for Academy Award nomination. Voting for the final selections are restricted to active and life Academy Award members who view all nominated documentaries.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Documentary Genre Gaining Popularity

Artists and Orphans: A True Drama is a story about humanitarian work undertaken by a group of American actors and dancers in the Republic of Georgia. Profiling an effort to aid an orphanage in need of repairs and supplies in the face of the oncoming winter, Artists and Orphans: A True Drama that earned an Academy Award nomination in 2002 for Best Documentary Short Subject.

In order to qualify as a documentary, a film must be a nonfiction piece that uses motion picture to capture some aspect of reality. Documentary films often take an unusual or unknown approach to a topic and craft a narrative that generates a desire in the audience to continue watching through to the end, even when the subject matter is emotionally difficult.

In recent years, the documentary film genre has experienced a significant boost in popularity. For example, the British Film Institute indicated that only four documentaries were released in British theaters in 2001, whereas just over a decade later 86 found their way into theaters. This can be attributed, in part, to a higher number of streaming platforms offering documentaries for rent or purchase.