Alanis Obomsawin Among Academy’s New Documentary Members


By Pat Mullen

Canada’s prolific and barrier-breaking filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (And it’s about time, too!) The director of Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance and We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice is among the fifty new names added to the Academy’s documentary branch. Now all she needs is an Oscar proper.

Other new members include John Akomfrah, Jonas Mekas (profiled in the current POV), Penny Lane, and Oscar winners Ezra Edelman and Eva Orner. This year’s class of Academy members displays the organization’s ongoing commitment to increase representation for women and filmmakers of colour.

Other Canadians on the list include Mongrel Media’s Hussain Amarshi (Executives Branch), Blind Vaysha nominee Theodore Ushev (Short Films and Feature Animation), Maliglutit and Atanarjuat director Zacharias Kunuk (Directors Branch), and Mommy DP Andre Turpin (Cinematographers Branch). Get the full list here.

The full list of new members for the documentary branch is as follows:

Ricardo Acosta – “Sembene!,” “Marmato”
John Akomfrah – “The Stuart Hall Project,” “The Nine Muses”
Natalia Almada – “The Night Watchman (El Velador),” “The General”
Mirra Bank – “The Only Real Game,” “LastDance”
Geof Bartz – A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”
Diane Becker – “We Are X,” “Jujitsu-ing Reality”
Edet Belzberg – “Watchers of the Sky,” “Children Underground”
Don Bernier – “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” Audrie & Daisy
Ruby Chen – “Plastic China,” “The Rocking Sky”
S. Leo Chiang – “Out Run,” “Mr. Cao Goes to Washington”
John Davey – In Jackson Heights, National Gallery
Keiko Deguchi * – God Knows Where I Am, Captivated The Trials of Pamela Smart
Abigail E. Disney – “The Armor of Light, “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”
Ezra Edelman – “O.J.: Made in America,” “Cutie and the Boxer”
Bob Eisenhardt – “Meru,” “Shut Up & Sing”
Diana El Jeiroudi – “The Mulberry House,” “Dolls – A Woman from Damascus”
Jihan El-Tahri – “Nasser,” “Cuba: An African Odyssey”
Geeta Gandbhir – Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington, “Music by Prudence”
Lina Gopaul – “The Stuart Hall Project,” “The Nine Muses”
Nadia Hallgren – “Motherland,” “Trapped”
Nick Higgins – The Crash Reel, “First Position”
John Hoffman – “Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman,” “LaLee’s Kin: The Legacy of Cotton”
Tabitha Jackson – “20,000 Days on Earth,” “The Imposter”
Kristi Jacobson – “Solitary,” “A Place at the Table”
Janus Billeskov Jansen * – “The Act of Killing,” “Burma VJ”
Judy Kibinge – “Wagalla – The Story of a Massacre,” “Headlines in History”
Brian Knappenberger – Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press, “The Internet’s Own Boy”
Dan Krauss – Extremis, “The Death of Kevin Carter: Casualty of the Bang Bang Club”
Penny Lane – Nuts!, “Our Nixon”
Grace Lee – “American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs,” “The Grace Lee Project”
Lisa Leeman – “Awake: The Life of Yogananda,” “One Lucky Elephant”
Audrey Marrs – “Inside Job,” “No End in Sight”
Hilla Medalia – “Dancing in Jaffa,” “Web Junkie”
Jonas Mekas – “Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania,” “The Brig”
Justine Nagan – Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, “Life Itself”
Joanna Natasegara – The White Helmets, “Virunga”
Marilyn Ness – Cameraperson, “Trapped”
Peter Nicks – The Force, “The Waiting Room”
Orwa Nyrabia – “Return to Homs,” “Dolls – A Woman from Damascus”
Alanis Obomsawin – “Hi-Ho Mistahey!,” “Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance”
Eva Orner – Chasing Asylum, “Taxi to the Dark Side”
Heloísa Passos – “Manda Bala (Send a Bullet),” “Viva Volta”
Anand Patwardhan – “Jai Bhim Comrade,” “Pitra, Putra Aur Dharamyuddha (Father, Son and Holy War)”
Leanne Pooley – “Beyond the Edge,” “The Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls”
Gianfranco Rosi – Fire at Sea, Sacro Gra
AJ Schnack – “Speaking Is Difficult,” “We Always Lie to Strangers”
Fisher Stevens – Before the Flood, “The Cove”
Jean-Marie Téno – “Lieux Saints (Sacred Places),” “Chef! (Chief!)”
Ben Tsiang – “The Chinese Mayor,” “Go Grandriders”
Orlando von Einsiedel – The White Helmets, “Virunga”
Aaron Wickenden – Best of Enemies, “Finding Vivian Maier”
Marina Zenovich – “Water & Power: A California Heist,” “Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired”