“The Cove” (Roadside Attractions photo)
The Nominees for the 82nd Academy Awards were announced Tuesday. The “Oscars” will be awarded in Los Angeles on March 7, 2010, and will be aired live on ABC.
Although it won’ be considered a big year for Asian and Asian American nominees, there are three films about Asia that are worth noting.
“The Cove” (Roadside Attractions – Oceanic Preservation Society Production), is nominated as Best Documentary Feature, along with “Burma VJ” (WG Film/Mediamente/Kamoli Films).
Directed by Louie Psihoyos, The Cove (Roadside Attractions) is the name for a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Taiji, Japan, where risky covert filmmaking by an adventurous documentary crew reveals the shocking and well protected secret that is driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and dolphin meat.
Former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry seeks redemption after discovering for himself that dolphins were not meant to be subjected to human captivity. He and the Ocean Preservation Society use amazing high tech gear and some physically challenging and dangerous observation with local police and thugs on their tail.
The Cove is directed by Louie Psihoyos and produced by Paula DuPre Pesmen and Fisher Stevens. The film is written by Mark Monroe. The executive producer is Jim Clark and the co-producer is Olivia Ahnemann.
Director Anders Østergaard offered a clear glimpse of Myanmar’s violent protests of September 2007, when monks took the streets. He was able to do what mainstream media could not by putting small video cameras in the hands of locals who brought hem to undercover journalists where the video was smuggled out and broadcast via satellite.
Østergaard portrays the video journalists as courageous young citizens of Burma who risk torture and jail to keep the flow of news moving from the streets of Rangoon. The military crackdown begins to focus its efforts at the videographers but not before the volume of their short clips is put together to tell a much bigger story.
Also nominated for Best Documentary Feature are: “Food, Inc.”, “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers”, and “Which Way Home” Rebecca Cammisa.”
The HBO film “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province” is nominated in the Best Documentary Short Subject category.
From filmmakers, Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill, China’s Unnatural Disaster portrays the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake that struck Sichuan Province in rural China on May 12, 2008. The Mw 7.9 (using Moment Magnitude Scale – donated as Mw) Wenchuan quake killed approximately 70,000 people including 10,000 children, nearly 400,000 injured and 18,000 missing with 80 percent of all structures destroyed.
The film follows the survivors, town after town, including the parents of children killed in poorly constructed school buildings said they were met with a wall of incompetence, corruption and empty promises.
Also nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject are: “The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner”, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant”, “Music by Prudence”, and “Rabbit à la Berlin.”