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‘Life, Animated,’ ‘Tower’ Documentaries Shortlisted in Oscar Race

Inspirational story of a young man who learned how to communicate by immersing himself in the world of classic Disney animated films and a recreation of the terrifying events surrounding America’s first mass school shooting, in 1966, at the University of Texas Tower among 15 documentary features to advance in the 2016 Oscar race.

LOS ANGELES -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 89th Academy Awards. One hundred forty-five films were originally submitted in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

  • Cameraperson, Big Mouth Productions
  • Command and Control, American Experience Films/PBS
  • The Eagle Huntress, Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
  • Fire at Sea, Stemal Entertainment
  • Gleason, Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
  • Hooligan Sparrow, Little Horse Crossing the River
  • I Am Not Your Negro, Velvet Film
  • The Ivory Game, Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
  • Life, Animated, Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
  • O.J.: Made in America, Laylow Films and ESPN Films
  • 13th, Forward Movement
  • Tower, Go-Valley
  • Weiner, Edgeline Films
  • The Witness, The Witnesses Film
  • Zero Days, Jigsaw Productions

From Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, Life, Animated is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. From A&E Indiefilms and Motto Pictures, This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence.

Directed by Keith Maitland and executive produced by Meredith Vieira, Tower combines archival footage, rotoscopic animation and contemporary interviews with witnesses to recreate the terrifying events surrounding America’s first mass school shooting, in 1966, at the University of Texas Tower. Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at SXSW 2016 and a Critics' Choice Documentary Award, Tower highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities that changed the lives of those present, and the rest of us, forever.

The Academy’s Documentary Branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting. Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles.

Nominations for the 89th Oscars will be announced on Tuesday, January 24, 2017.

The 89th Oscars will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Source: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.