CHICAGO – If you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between a director and a producer, let “47 Ronin” explain how the hierarchy of creativity hinders the evolution of even the most straightforward-sounding pitches. “47 Ronin” is the type of samurai movie set in Japan that features native actors speaking only English, while Keanu Reeves stars as an outsider clearly plunked into the picture for stateside star power.
Film News: Academy Announces Short List for Best Documentary Contenders
CHICAGO – The short list for Academy Award contenders in the Best Documentary category have been announced. 15 potential nominees were selected with the utilization of new rules spearheaded by Academy Governor Michael Moore. Each entry was required to have screened for at least one week in Los Angeles and New York, and had to be reviewed by at least one newspaper.
Making the cut this year is Alison Klayman’s inspiring profile of the titular Chinese artist, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” Lee Hirsch’s Weinstein-distributed doc, “Bully,” Jeff Orlowski’s chilling account of global warming, “Chasing Ice,” Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s timely exploration of Detroit’s manufacturing collapse, “Detropia,” Rory Kennedy’s intimate ode to her mother, “Ethel,” Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi’s look at a Palestinian farmer’s nonviolent resistance, “5 Broken Cameras,” Dror Moreh’s discussions with the former heads of Israel’s Secret Service agency, “The Gatekeepers,” Eugene Jarecki’s muckraking critique of America’s criminal justice system, “The House I Live In,” David France’s hugely acclaimed chronicle of the efforts made by anti-AIDS activists, “How to Survive a Plague,” Bart Layton’s astonishing account of a young Frenchman who posed as the missing son of a Texas family, “The Imposter,” Kirby Dick’s shattering exposé on the epidemic of rape in the military, “The Invisible War,” Alex Gibney’s study of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” Malik Bendjelloul’s Sundance prize-winner, “Searching for Sugar Man,” co-director Mojtaba Mirtahmasb’s vital portrait of Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker silenced by the government, “This Is Not a Film,” and Peter Nicks’ incisive look at the plight of American hospitals, “The Waiting Room.”
Ai Weiwei in Alison Klayman’s Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Photo credit: Never Sorry LLC/A Sundance Selects Release
Notable snubs included Amy Berg’s epic account of the West Memphis Three, “West of Memphis,” Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon’s winner of the Chicago International Film Festival’s Audience Choice Award, “The Central Park Five,” and Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Bent-Jorgan Perlmutt and Frédéric Tcheng’s portrait of the titular fashion editor, “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel.”
The official nominees for the 85th Academy Awards are set to be announced Tuesday, January 15th, 2013, with the ceremony taking place Sunday, February 24th.