The nominees for the 2012 Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning. This is the full list of the documentary films including synopses and trailers.
Update: Winner “Undefeated”
“Hell and Back Again” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
From his embed with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man’s personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life with the love and support of his wife, Ashley. Masterfully contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, HELL AND BACK AGAIN lays bare the true cost of war.
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
On December 7th, 2005, federal agents conducted a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front — an organization the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”
IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT is the remarkable story of the group’s rise and fall, told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan. Part coming-of-age tale, part cops-and-robbers thriller, the film interweaves a chronicle of McGowan facing life in prison with a dramatic investigation of the events that led to his involvement with the ELF. Using never-before-seen archival footage and intimate interviews — with cell members and with the prosecutor and detective who were chasing them — IF A TREE FALLS asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
The story of the West Memphis Three, from their 1993 murder convictions to 2011 release from prison.
“Pina” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
PINA is a feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the unique and inspiring art of the great German choreographer, who died in the summer of 2009.
Wim Wenders takes the audience on a sensual, visually stunning journey of discovery into a new dimension: straight onto the stage with the legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch ensemble, he follows the dancers out of the theatre into the city and the surrounding areas of Wuppertal – the place, which for 35 years was the home and centre for Pina Bausch’s creativity.
“Undefeated” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas
Under the stewardship of Coach Bill Courtney, the Manassas High School football team has reversed its reputation as a perennial loser and established a winning record that is a source of pride for its players. The problems faced by several of the young men, however, threaten to undermine the team’s chances of making the playoffs.
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
In the days leading up to Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 election, a former civil rights activist looks back on the early days of the movement.
“God Is the Bigger Elvis” Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
In 1963, actress Dolores Hart, best known for her roles opposite Elvis Presley and her performance in the teen drama WHERE THE BOYS ARE, chose to leave Hollywood behind and become a Benedictine nun.
“Incident in New Baghdad”James Spione
U.S. Army Specialist Ethan McCord recalls the tragic incident in Iraq that triggered his debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder and altered his view of the war
“Saving Face” Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
A British-Pakistani plastic surgeon works to help women who have been injured in acid attacks, while his patients struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of their disfigurement.
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen
In the wake of the devastating tsunami in Japan, the people of the region hardest hit by the disaster draw a measure of hope from the annual cherry blossom season as they fight to rebuild their lives.