Oscar statuettes
Statuettes backstage during the live ABC Telecast of The 92nd Oscars® at the Dolby® Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 9, 2020. | Richard Harbaugh / AMPAS

Academy Doc Branch Invites Include Moore, Proudfoot, Story

International Oscars invitee list represents 53 countries

7 mins read

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has invited 38 filmmakers to join the Documentary branch. Names on the list of prospective new Oscar voters include Bob Moore of EyeSteelFilm, acclaimed director Brett Story, and this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, Short Subject, Ben Proudfoot. Moore’s credits as a producer include this year’s Sundance award winner Midwives, along with 2016 Hot Docs Audience Award winner Angry Inuk and 2009’s Last Train Home, which won the Canadian Genie Award and two News and Documentary Emmys. Story is the director of acclaimed essay works like The Prison in Twelves Landscapes and The Hottest August, which sparked attention for interrogating the state of America in boundary-pushing formats. Proudfoot, meanwhile, won the Oscar for The Queen of Basketball, a portrait of Luisa Harris who broke the glass ceiling for women in sports. He was previously nominated for the short A Concerto Is a Conversation and just released his latest film, Mink!, with New York Times Op-Docs last week.

Also on the list of invitees are the directors of this year’s feature nominees: Jessica Kingdon (Ascension), Traci A. Curry (Attica), Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Flee), and Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas (Writing with Fire). Rasmussen, who made history with three nominations this year for documentary, animated feature, and international feature, also received an invitation to the Directors’ branch. (Invitees must choose one branch if they accept.) This year’s winner, Summer of Soul director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, was invited to the Music branch in 2018 and Attica nominee Stanley Nelson was invited years ago. Documentary talents invited elsewhere include Joshua L. Pearson (Summer of Soul) and Aljernon Tunsil (Attica) in the Film Editors’ branch, Charlotte De La Gournerie (Flee) in the Short Films and Animation branch, and Nalin Pan (Samsara) in the Directors’ branch.

The Academy invited 397 new members, which is down considerably from recent years. Previous pushes to diversify the ranks saw AMPAS invite over 900 candidates. (44% of this year’s invitees are women, while 37% are racialized artists.) However, this year’s invitee list is notably global in scope with 50% of candidates hailing from outside the USA. 53 countries are represented on the list. Other Canadians on the ticket include actor Michael Greyeyes and producers Kim McCraw and Luc Déry, who led Canada to back-to-back Oscar nominations for Incendies and Monsieur Lazhar.


The list of invitees to the Documentary branch is below. Get the complete list here.


Julie Anderson – “God Is the Bigger Elvis,” “Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World”
Susan Bedusa – “Procession,” “Bisbee ’17”
Opal H. Bennett – “A Broken House,” “Águilas”
Shane Boris – “Stray,” “The Edge of Democracy”
Joe Cephus Brewster – “American Promise,” “Slaying Goliath”
Ellen Bruno – “Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy,” “Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia”
Traci A. Curry – “Attica,” “Boss: The Black Experience in Business”
Jason DaSilva – “When We Walk,” “When I Walk”
Emílio Domingos – “Favela Is Fashion,” “L.A.P.A.”
Sushmit Ghosh – “Writing with Fire,” “Timbaktu”
Lyn Goldfarb – “Eddy’s World,” “With Babies and Banners: Story of the Women’s Emergency Brigade”
Susanne Guggenberger – “Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes,” “The Beekeeper and His Son”
Cristina Ibarra – “The Infiltrators,” “Las Marthas”
Oren Jacoby – “On Broadway,” “Sister Rose’s Passion”
Isaac Julien – “Derek,” “Frantz Fanon: Black Skin White Mask”
Deborah Kaufman – “Company Town,” “Blacks and Jews”
Firouzeh Khosrovani – “Radiograph of a Family,” “Fest of Duty”
Jessica Kingdon – “Ascension,” “Commodity City”
Mehret Mandefro – “How It Feels to Be Free ,” “Little White Lie”
Mary Manhardt – “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl),” “Racing Dreams”
Amanda McBaine – “Boys State,” “The Overnighters”
Peter Jay Miller – “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport”
Elizabeth Mirzaei – “Three Songs for Benazir,” “Laila at the Bridge”
Gulistan Mirzaei – “Three Songs for Benazir,” “Laila at the Bridge”
Bob Moore – “Dope Is Death,” “China Heavyweight”
Omar Mullick – “Footprint,” “These Birds Walk”
Mohammed Ali Naqvi – “Insha’Allah Democracy,” “Among the Believers”
Sierra Pettengill – “Riotsville, USA,” “The Reagan Show”
Ben Proudfoot – “The Queen of Basketball,” “A Concerto Is a Conversation”
Jonas Poher Rasmussen* – “Flee,” “Searching for Bill”
Gabriel Rhodes – “The First Wave,” “Time”
Lynne Sachs – “Film about a Father Who,” “Investigation of a Flame”
Brett Story – “The Hottest August,” “The Prison in Twelve Landscapes”
Thorsten Thielow – “The First Wave,” “Mayor Pete”
Rintu Thomas – “Writing with Fire,” “Dilli”
Nathan Truesdell – “Ascension,” “Balloonfest”
Jenni Wolfson – “Pray Away,” “One Child Nation”
Jialing Zhang – “In the Same Breath,” “One Child Nation”

Pat Mullen is the publisher of POV Magazine. He holds a Master’s in Film Studies from Carleton University where his research focused on adaptation and Canadian cinema. Pat has also contributed to outlets including The Canadian Encyclopedia, Paste, That Shelf, Sharp, Xtra, and Complex. He is the vice president of the Toronto Film Critics Association and an international voter for the Golden Globe Awards.

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