A.J. Schnack

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2008 Oscar Documentary Shortlist

Chlotrudis Advisory Board member AJ Schnack has posted this year's Oscar shortlist for documentaries; it looks uncommonly strong, finding room for usual suspect Errol Morris, but also Werner Herzog and the excellent AT THE DEATH HOUSE DOOR, which screened the festival circuit (including IFF Boston) before airing on IFC.

As for omissions, the most glaring one is CHRIS AND DON: A LOVE STORY; I would've also liked to see UNIVERSE OF KEITH HARING and SECRECY on there. What other films (apart from those AJ mentions in his post) do you think got overlooked?

Documentary Filmmaker and Chlotrudis Advisory Board Member A.J. Schnack Follows in Our Footsteps

Fourteen years ago, Chlotrudis President Michael Colford got tired of listening to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences dictate the apparently limited notion of what is good in film during a given year and started the Chlotrudis Awards to honor independent film. Now, for reasons not all that dissimilar, Chlotrudis Award-winning direction A.J. Schnack has followed suit, developing with IndiePix a new award for non-fiction films.

Back in late November, after the Academy announced its short list of documentaries for Awards consideration, A.J. expressed his dismay at its treatment of docs. A.J. had been reporting, sometimes controversially, over the past year plus about the quixotic and confusing rule-changing the Academy had been engaging in with regard to documentaries' requirements for award eligibility. Apparently he has had enough.

A.J. sought out online independent film distributor IndiePix, and a group of North American film festival programmers to launch a new nonfiction filmmaking awards event, set for March 18, 2008 at IFC Center in New York City. Awards will be given in eight categories including Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Filmmaking, International Feature, Debut Feature, Direction, Production, Editing, Cinematography, and Graphics and Animation. I have no idea how long this idea has been kicking around in A.J.'s head, but he clearly pulled this together so quickly that the passion and commitment from those involved is clear.

As the key organizer, A.J. held his 2007 film KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON from consideration, but the group announced its own short list yesterday:

BILLY THE KID
DEEP WATER
THE DEVIL CAME ON HORSEBACK
GHOSTS OF CITE SOLEIL
IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
INTO GREAT SILENCE
LAKE OF FIRE
MANDA BALA
MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES
THE MONASTERY
NO END IN SIGHT
SICKO
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE
THE UNFORSEEN
ZOO

So welcome, A.J. to the awards milieu! It's great to see the Academy, in all of its shortcomings, inspiring yet another Awards Ceremony. Find out who Chlotrudis nominates in the Best Documentary category in just over two weeks.