(UPDATED) We’re all aglow this morning with news that Danfung Dennis’s Hell and Back Again (coming to Independent Lens in May) scored a coveted Academy Award nomination!

In the film, U.S. Marine Sergeant Nathan Harris, 25, leads his unit to fight a ghostlike enemy in Afghanistan. Wounded in battle, Harris returns to North Carolina and his devoted wife to fight pain, addiction, and the terrifying normalcy of life at home.

Watch the trailer on PBS Video:


Also nominated is Marshall Curry’s If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, which was also produced by our parent organization, the Independent Television Service (ITVS), and aired on our sister program POV in September.

“We are simply thrilled to see two extraordinary films receive this honor, and we are proud to bring both these films to a national audience on PBS, one this past fall and the other later this year, ” said Sally Jo Fifer, President and CEO of ITVS. “We are also grateful for the far-sighted commitment of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose support makes ITVS’s investment in these projects possible.”

ITVS funds and presents more than 60 documentaries each year, with most films broadcasting on leading PBS series including Independent Lens, P.O.V., FRONTLINE, American Masters, and others.

“Some have being saying recently that the public sector in America is not where the real action is. Some have even suggested that public media may not be worth the investment in these difficult economic times,” said Fifer. “My hope is that these two nominations will help focus many of our partners, viewers, and communities on the critical contribution that public media makes to our national dialogue, and to our sense of community as a nation.”

Our congratulations go out to all of the nominees, listed below.

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front
Hell and Back Again
Pina
Undefeated
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory