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16 NHFF Films Named for Oscar Consideration

The Academy recently released its list of film considerations for the 2016 Oscars — and after such an incredible year at the New Hampshire Film Festival, it’s no wonder so many familiar titles made the list. The Academy will continue to whittle down their lists, before official Oscar nominations are announced in mid-January.

We’re very proud to share this news and would like to extend a warm congratulations to each of the past NHFF films up for consideration.

Documentary Short Oscar Consideration

Up for consideration for Best Documentary (Short Subject), is Body Team 12.

Body Team 12 (NHFF 2015, awarded 2015 NHFF Best Short Documentary) is tasked with collecting the dead at the height of the Ebola outbreak. These body collectors have arguably the most dangerous and gruesome job in the world.Yet despite the strain they emerge as heroes while the film explores their philosophy and strength. Body Team 12 was directed by David Darg.

Documentary Feature Oscar Considerations

A total of 124 films made the list of considerations for Documentary Feature. Among them, nine were screened at NHFF!

Becoming Bulletproof (NHFF 2014) follows the filmmaking process as a diverse group of actors living with disabilities set out to make their first Western. Becoming Bulletproof was directed by Michael Barnett, of New Hampshire.

Best of Enemies (NHFF 2015) is about the legendary series of nationally televised debates in 1968 between two great public intellectuals, the liberal Gore Vidal and the conservative William F. Buckley Jr. Best of Enemies was directed and produced by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon.

Cartel Land (NHFF 2015, awarded 2015 NHFF Best Documentary) takes place in the Mexican state of Michoacán, where Dr. Jose Mireles, shepherds a citizen uprising against the Knights Templar, the violent drug cartel. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Altar Valley—a narrow, 52-mile-long desert corridor known as Cocaine Alley—Tim “Nailer” Foley, an American veteran, heads a small paramilitary group called Arizona Border Recon. Cartel Land was directed by Matthew Heineman, a graduate of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Dreamcatcher (NHFF 2015) is a documentary about Brenda Myers-Powell, who fights against sexual exploitation and supports prostitutes in Chicago. Brenda knows what she is talking about: her own story, involving teenage prostitution and a life of violence and abuse, is in stark contrast to her dauntless energy and optimism. Dreamcatcher was directed by Kim Longinotto.

Frame By Frame (NHFF 2015, 2015 NHFF Documentary Grand Jury Award winning film) follows four Afghan photojournalists, as they face the realities of building a free press in a country left to stand on its own after decades of war and an oppressive Taliban regime — reframing Afghanistan for the world and for themselves. Frame By Frame was directed by Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli.

Killing Them Safely (NHFF 2015) follows the story behind TASER International, the only manufacturer of TASERs for law enforcement, and its founding brothers Rick and Tom Smith. Young entrepreneurs looking for an alternative to guns, the Smith brothers ended up revolutionizing law enforcement by perfecting a weapon that was promised to be both 100% safe and effective. Killing Them Safely was directed by Nick Berardini.

Steve Jobs: The Man in The Machine (NHFF 2015) navigates Steve Jobs’ path from a small house in the suburbs, to zen temples in Japan, to the CEO’s office of the world’s richest company, exploring how Jobs’ life and work shaped our relationship with the computer. The Man in the Machine is a provocative and sometimes startling re-evaluation of the legacy of an icon. The film was directed by Alex Gibney.

Sunshine Superman (NHFF 2015) paints a portrait of Carl Boenish, the father of the BASE jumping movement, whose early passion for skydiving led him to ever more spectacular — and dangerous — feats of foot-launched human flight. Sunshine Superman was directed by Marah Strauch.

The Wolfpack (NHFF 2015) follows the story of the the Angulo brothers. Locked away from society in an apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the brothers are forced to learn about the outside world through the films that they watch. The brothers spend their childhood reenacting their favorite films using elaborate home-made props and costumes. Their world is shaken up when one of the brothers escapes and everything changes. The Wolfpack was directed by Crystal Moselle.

Many, many congratulations to all of these filmmakers for being named for Oscar consideration!

Animated Feature Oscar Consideration

Up for consideration for Best Animated Feature, is Anomalisa and Hotel Transylvania 2!

Anomalisa (NHFF 2015) follows along Michael Stone, a man crippled by the mundanity of his life. On a business trip to Cincinnati, where he’s scheduled to speak at a convention of customer service professionals, he checks into the Fregoli Hotel. There, he is amazed to discover a possible escape from his desperation in the form of an unassuming Akron baked goods sales rep, Lisa, who may or may not be the love of his life. Anomalisa was directed by Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman.

Hotel Transylvania 2 (NHFF 2015) continues the story of Hotel Transylvania, as Dracula and his friends try to bring out the monster in his half human, half vampire grandson in order to keep Mavis from leaving the hotel. Hotel Transylvania 2 was directed by Genndy Tartakovsky.

Short Film Oscar Considerations

Ten short films have been named for further consideration for the five Oscar nomination spots. Of those ten films, we’re very proud to share the three NHFF alumni shorts up for consideration:

Bis Gleich (NHFF 2014) captures an unspoken connection between two elderly neighbors, who share a daily ritual but who have never actually met. This connection deepens when they face the inevitable…together. Bis Gleich was directed by Benjamin Wolff.

Contrapelo (NHFF 2014) shares the story of a proud Mexican barber, who is forced to shave the leader of a drug cartel—and so confronts a difficult decision: to become a killer, or to let this man continue to kill. By the end of the shave, the barber finds he and the Capo are not so different. Contrapelo was directed by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer.

Winter Light (NHFF 2015, named NH Film of the Year) depicts an aging college professor who confronts two hunters trespassing on his property. He begins an escalating battle of wills that will test his faith in everything he holds dear. Adapted from a short story by acclaimed author James Lee Burke, Winter Light is a modern-day revisionist Western set in the frozen wilderness of Montana. The film was directed by New Hampshire’s very own, Julian Higgins.

Foreign Language Feature Oscar Consideration

Being considered for Foreign Language Feature, is The Second Mother. The film was submitted for consideration as Brazil’s 2016 Oscar entry.

The Second Mother (NHFF 2015) shares the unspoken class barriers that exist within the home, when the estranged daughter of a hard-working live-in housekeeper suddenly appears. The Second Mother was directed by Anna Muylaert.

Once again, congratulations to our filmmakers — we’ll be anxiously awaiting more exciting news of nominations!

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