Filmmakers from 'Zion,' 'Lifeboat' and 'Period. End of Sentence.' join Nonfictionfilm.com Oscar Doc Roundtable this Sunday
Eight acclaimed films will now be represented at exclusive LA event celebrating Academy's shortlisted documentaries
Three more distinguished filmmakers have joined the lineup for Sunday's Oscar Documentary Shortlist Roundtable in Los Angeles, presented by Nonfictionfilm.com.
Floyd Russ, director of the Netflix short film Zion, has confirmed his participation, along with Skye Fitzgerald, director of the RYOT Films short Lifeboat, and Rayka Zehtabchi, director of the documentary short Period. End of Sentence.
They join previously-announced filmmakers from the Oscar Documentary Feature shortlist: Marilyn Ness, director of Charm City; Kimberly Reed of Dark Money; Simon Lereng Wilmont of The Distant Barking of Dogs; On Her Shoulders producer Hayley Pappas, and director Sandi Tan of Shirkers.
Nonfictionfilm.com editor Matt Carey will moderate the event, which starts at 4 p.m. Sunday (January 6) at the Downtown Independent theater, 251 S. Main Street, Los Angeles.
Zion won Best Documentary Short at the IDA Awards last month, the latest honor for the film about Zion Clark, a young man born without legs. He was given up for adoption as a baby and spent much of his life in foster homes where he was abused. The film reveals how he found new hope and friendship when he got involved in wrestling. In addition to the IDA Award, Zion has won prizes at the Atlanta Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, and Indy Shorts International Film Festival, among a number of others.
"We like to say it's a sports doc that's really about growing up," Russ told Nonfictionfilm.com on the IDA Awards red carpet. "Zion didn't have confidence, no belief in himself. And that's what wrestling gave him."
The harrowing Lifeboat has won prizes at the Woodstock Film Festival, BendFilm Festival, and Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, and was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the IDA Awards.
"Lifeboat bears witness to refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya in the middle of the night, despite a high probability of drowning," RYOT says of Fitzgerald's film. "With few resources but certain that civil society must intervene, volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts."
Fitzgerald directed the 2015 short film 50 Feet From Syria, that along with Lifeboat focuses "on one of the great humanitarian crises of our time – the plight of refugees in a global and interconnected world."
Period. End of Sentence. won three awards alone at the Savannah College of Art and Design SCAD Savannah Film Festival. It also won two awards at the Traverse City Film Festival and the audience award at AFI Fest in Los Angeles in November, among other honors.
The documentary explores how women in a village in Delhi, India are combatting a taboo about menstruation that has denied girls the opportunity to get an education.
"Without sanitary products or proper education about their bodies, millions of girls end up missing school or dropping out entirely once they begin their periods," notes a press release about the film. "But in a modest room in a rural Indian village, local women unpack wooden crates filled with the donated supplies they need to produce and sell thousands of pads to local women in an effort to improve feminine hygiene, thus launching The Pad Project. This micro-business in a box stimulates the economy of individuals in the village and empowers women and girls to feel comfortable with their bodies and to stay in school past puberty."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.