Gail Dolgin, who along with co-director Vincente Franco, was nominated for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 2003 for DAUGHTER FROM DANANG, has died from cancer at 65.
Although Dolgin passed away on October 7, word is just now reaching some in the documentary and independent film community, following obituaries yesterday in Variety and the LA Times. ITVS' Beyond the Box Blog featured a tribute by Senior Programming Manager Richard Saiz one week ago:
"Personally, it was always a pleasure to work with Gail. She was a complete professional who not only created powerful documentaries, but also contributed to ITVS as a skillful and insightful panelist and reader for Open Call.
Beneath the cool intellect and measured demeanor, was the fervent spirit of a woman motivated by a desire to examine America’s history through the documentary. Gail believed in the power of television to enlighten and educate American audiences about our character as a nation."
DAUGHTER FROM DANANG won the Grand Jury prize at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival prior to its Oscar nomination in what ended up being a turning-point year for documentaries and the Academy. Dolgin, along with her fellow nominees, joined Oscar winner Michael Moore onstage as he attacked the Bush administration in the early days of the Iraq war.
Balcony Releasing co-founder Connie White wrote us today of her experience working with Dolgin on DANANG:
"I guess I could simply say that Gail was so special to me. DAUGHTER FROM DANANG was the first film Balcony Releasing distributed - in fact the company was created in order to distribute her film - and we both learned as we went along. She actually revelled in that situation, seemed to enjoy being our first project and encouraged me to pursue other distribution projects after DFD was finished in theaters. She was so energetic and engaged in her work and her friendships. What a loss for all of us!"