At least eight film-makers were notified yesterday that theirdocumentary features had been shortlisted for the 2004 Best Documentary FeatureOscar. Although there is no fixed number of films which make the semi-finalshortlist, last year's tally of 12 is thought to be standard.
ScreenDaily.com established the identity of eight films which have been voted into the next round but, since the Academy does notpublish the list, no final number has yet been determined.
The films are: Born Into Brothels, Home OfThe Brave, In The Realms Of The Unreal, Riding Giants, Super Size Me, Tell ThemWho You Are, Touching The Void and Twist Of Faith.
So far, no political documentaries seem to have made the cut- Fahrenheit 9/11 was not submitted in this category while others suchas Bush's Brain, Uncovered, Outfoxed and Control Room wereineligible having appeared on broadcast TV in or outside the US. Likewise TheCorporation, which appeared on TV in Canada.
Nevertheless, among the semi-finalists are some of thebiggest hits of the year in this medium - Roadside Attractions/Samuel GoldwynFilms' Super Size Me, which grossed $11.6m, IFC Films' Touching TheVoid which took $4.6m and Sony Classics' Riding Giants which grossed$2.3m.
Wellspring has just picked up worldwide rights to JessicaYu's In The Realms Of The Unreal, about visionary artist Henry Darger.Yu won an Oscar for best documentary short in 1996 for Breathing Lessons:The Life And Work Of Mark O'Brien.
THINKFilm has yet to release its two semi-finalists - MarkWexler's Tell Them Who You Are about the director's relationship withhis legendary father Haskell Wexler and Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's BornInto Brothels which follows children of prostitutes in the red lightdistrict of Calcutta.
Directed by Paola di Florio, Home Of The Brave is thestory of the death of a Detroit teamster's wife killed by the Ku Klux Klan atthe height of the Civil Rights movement in 1965. It played in competition atthe Sundance Film Festival this year alongside Born Into Brothels, In TheRealms Of The Unreal and Super Size Me.
Home Of The Brave is being released theatrically in the US by Ira Deutchman's Emerging Pictures and has been following an unusual release pattern. Starting out in theatres in Detroit and Montgomery, two cities that are important historical settings in the film, Home Of The Brave then became the premiere attraction at Emerging's brand new New York digital venue, Emerging Cinemas at Theatre Row.
Rounding out the known list so far is Twist Of Faith, directed by Kirby Dick (Derrida,Sick). Twist Of Faith follows a man in Toledo, Ohio, dealing with the repercussions ofchildhood abuse at the hands of a priest.