Two PBS Documentaries - "Daughter From Danang" and "Prisoner of Paradise" - Nominated for Academy Awards®
Alexandria, VA, February 13, 2003 - PBS furthered its status as the preeminent home of documentary films when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that two of the five films nominated for Best Feature Documentary are PBS films - DAUGHTER FROM DANANG and PRISONER OF PARADISE. This is the third consecutive year that PBS filmmakers have received Academy Award nominations. The 75th annual Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, March 23, before an international television audience.
"PBS sets its standards for programming at the highest level, and we know that our viewers expect nothing less," said Pat Mitchell, president and CEO of PBS. "It is tremendously gratifying to have the Motion Picture Academy testify to that quality by nominating two PBS films in this prestigious category. PBS has a long tradition of presenting films that later become Academy Award winners and nominees, and we're happy to have a double dose of that tradition this year."
DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, directed by Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco, tells the story of a Vietnamese mother and her Amerasian daughter who are joyously reunited after 22 years - but whose illusions are quickly shattered as the reality of cultural differences and years of separation sets in. DAUGHTER FROM DANANG has been recognized with the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival and a Golden Gate Award Grand Prize from the San Francisco International Film Festival, and was a feature selection at New Directors/New Films, a festival co-programmed by The Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center, New York 2002. DAUGHTER FROM DANANG will have its broadcast premiere on the PBS series AMERICAN EXPERIENCE on Monday, April 7, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
DAUGHTER FROM DANANG is produced by Gail Dolgin, directed by Gail Dolgin and Vicente Franco and is a co-presentation of ITVS and NAATA with AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Executive producer for ITVS is Sally Jo Fifer. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is produced by WGBH Boston. The executive producer is Margaret Drain. The senior producer is Mark Samels.
PRISONER OF PARADISE will have its broadcast premiere on PBS on April 22, 2003 at 9:00 p.m. ET. Directed by Malcolm Clarke and Stuart Sender, PRISONER OF PARADISE is the stunning true story of Kurt Gerron, a well-known and beloved German-Jewish actor, director and cabaret star, who was sent to a concentration camp and ordered by his captors to direct a pro-Nazi propaganda film. This film, which came to be known as The Fuhrer Gives a City to the Jews, was intended by the Nazis to persuade an increasingly suspicious world that Jews who had been "relocated" from across Europe were being well-treated in their new homes - the concentration camps.
Gerron, best known for singing "Mack the Knife" in the original Threepenny Opera and co-starring with the legendary Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel, was handpicked by the Nazis. Reluctant at first, Gerron would ultimately throw himself into his work, laboring diligently to create a tiny jewel out of his appalling circumstances.
Shot on location in Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and Prague, PRISONER OF PARADISE explores the intersection of art and politics, the power of images to shape and distort reality, and the line between complicity and collaboration - issues that still resonate powerfully today. Following Gerron's career and remarkable odyssey and offering a unique perspective on this extraordinary period, PRISONER OF PARADISE is a presentation of Alliance Atlantis and is produced by Média Vérité and Alliance Atlantis' Café Productions, in association with BBC, History Television Inc., PBS and U5 Filmproduktion.
In 2002, the PBS documentary PROMISES* (P.O.V.) was nominated for an Academy Award®, preceded in 2001 by SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY (AMERICAN EXPERIENCE). Past PBS Oscar®-winning documentaries include BEST BOY (P.O.V.); DAYS OF WAITING (P.O.V.); MAYA LIN: A STRONG CLEAR VISION (P.O.V.); THE TEN-YEAR LUNCH: THE WIT AND LEGEND OF THE ALGONQUIN ROUND TABLE (AMERICAN MASTERS); and THE TIMES OF HARVEY MILK.
PBS, headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, is a private, nonprofit media enterprise owned and operated by the nation's 350 public television stations. Serving nearly 100 million people each week, PBS enriches the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services on noncommercial television, the Internet and other media. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet.
*A co-presentation of the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and a Television Race Initiative (TRI) Official Selection.
Phil Piga, PBS