Two POV films, Food, Inc. and The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and The Pentagon Papers, have been nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. The 82nd Annual Academy Awards presentation will be broadcast live from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, March 7, 2007.
Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc. is a powerful, startling indictment of industrial food production, revealing truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. For all the dazzling technological innovations of American food production, there are many people who would ask, “But is it food?” In addition to the animal cruelty, environmental despoliation and economic monopolization that Food, Inc. graphically details, the film also questions whether the industrial system at least produces the nutritious, health- and life-sustaining stuff we call food. To discover the answer, filmmaker Kenner marshals mountains of data, vérité visits to production sites and footage of meat-packing operations secretly shot by workers, plus eye-opening testimony from farmers, workers, consumers’ advocates and the few industry people willing to talk in their own defense. Food, Inc. has its American broadcast premiere as a POV special on Wednesday, April 21, 2010 at 9 p.m. on PBS as part of the 23rd season of POV.
Award-winning filmmaker Robert Kenner worked for more than six years to bring Food, Inc. to the screen. His previous films have played theatrically, on television and to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore at the White House. Prior to directing Food, Inc., Kenner received the 2006 Peabody, the Emmy for exceptional merit in Non-Fiction Film-Making and the Grierson (British Documentary) for his Vietnam War documentary “Two Days in October.” His other credits include “The Road to Memphis” segment of Martin Scorsese’s epochal “The Blues” series on PBS; “War Letters” for PBS’ American Experience; and numerous specials for National Geographic, including “Don’t Say Goodbye,” which was screened at the White House and won CableACE, Genesis and Emmy Awards. Kenner has also directed television commercials for ad agency giant Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. His “Fran” spot for Hallmark was named to Adweek’s list of Best Spots of the Year, and “Origins,” a company history Kenner made for Hewlett-Packard, won two Tele Awards and an Aegis Award.
Rick Goldsmith and Judith Ehrlich’s The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers is a dramatic recounting of a watershed turn not only in the struggle over the Vietnam War but in Americans’ understanding of issues of war and peace, the vitality of democracy and higher notions of duty and patriotism. When in 1971 Daniel Ellsberg leaked a secret Pentagon history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam to the press, the shockwaves it set off may have been due nearly as much to the leaker as to the information leaked. While Americans were painstakingly digesting the documents’ long and byzantine history — which showed the nation’s leaders, both Democratic and Republican, lying about the facts of the war, proclaiming their desire for peace while seeking wider war, declaring fidelity to democracy while sabotaging elections, and exhibiting a sweeping callousness to the loss of both Vietnamese and American lives — Ellsberg himself dramatically embodied the country’s division over the Vietnam War. The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers has its American broadcast premiere in 2010 (date to be announced) on PBS as part of the 23rd season of POV.
Veteran filmmaker Rick Goldsmith produced and directed the Academy Award®-nominated documentary feature “Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press” (1996), broadcast nationwide on public television and cablecast on the Sundance Channel. He also co-produced and co-directed “Everyday Heroes” (2001), a documentary feature about AmeriCorps (the domestic Peace Corps). Goldsmith was writer and editor on two recent one-hour documentaries, Judith Schaefer’s “So Long Are You Young” (2006) and Abby Ginzberg’s “Soul of Justice: Thelton Henderson’s American Journey” (2005), which was broadcast nationwide on public television in February 2008. He was born and raised on Long Island, N.Y., and came of age during the war in Vietnam. He studied architecture and dabbled in film at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1975, he traveled west and has lived in the Bay Area ever since.
Judith Ehrlich co-produced and co-directed the award-winning PBS/ITVS documentary “The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It” (2001), a story of men guided by principle to take the unpopular position of pacifism during World War II. Daniel Ellsberg served as an advisor on that film. Ehrlich has also made dozens of prize-winning educational films and radio documentaries over two decades on subjects including the peace movement, education, citizen participation and low-income housing. Her clients include The American Friends Service committee; the National Park Service; American Red Cross; ACLU; the Packard Foundation; and the California State Library System. She is currently producing and directing a film on the internment and relocation of Italian Americans during World War II for PBS broadcast. Ehrlich was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Napa, Calif. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with honors in political science and holds a master’s degree in education with honors from the University of Vermont. She teaches documentary film at Berkeley City College.
The other Best Doc nominees are The Cove, Which Way Home and Burma VJ, co-directed by POV alum Anders Østergaard.