Taxi to the Dark Side, one of the films in the SA coordinated global documentary project Why Democracy? has been nominated in the documentary feature section for the Academy Awards to be held in Los Angeles on the 24 February. SA filmmaker Don Edkins was a producer of the Why Democracy? project and also executive produced the nominated documentary.
Please Vote For Me, another of the Why Democracy? films was on the Oscar shortlist announced in November last year.
Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side tells the story of an Afghan taxi driver tortured to death by the American government as part of its “War on Terror”. This is the second Academy Award nomination for Alex Gibney. He was previously nominated for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) .
Weijun Chen’s Please Vote For Me takes you inside an elementary school in the city of Wuhan in central China, where three eight-year-old students—a charismatic challenger, a ruthless incumbent and a thoughtful outsider—all campaign for the coveted position of class monitor.
Both films have also been nominated to the inaugural Cinema Eye Honors for Non-Fiction Filmmaking – Taxi to the Dark Side for Outstanding Achievement for Directing, and Please Vote For Me for Outstanding International Feature Award. This new award has been named for the revolutionary group of young filmmakers led by pioneering documentarian Dziga Vertov, and will be awarded on March 18, 2008 at a ceremony at the IFC Centre in New York City. The nominations were announced by 2008 Award Co-Chairs Thom Powers, Documentary Programmer for theToronto International Film Festival, and filmmaker AJ Schnack, director of “Kurt Cobain About A Son’ on the weekend at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
Why Democracy? was the largest factual film event ever held, with 48 broadcasters showing the 10 long documentary films commissioned by the project in all countries of the world in October last year. SABC was the local broadcast partner, and the project was coordinated by South African producer Don Edkins from Cape Town for Steps International, an association of documentary commissioning editors and producers based in Denmark.