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February 09, 2011


Richard Drumond

Yes, there have been long simmering feuds in the documentary branch and many of them have centered not only around Mitchell Block but also around Freida Lee Mock.

However, one point here that has not been explored and that is non-fiction films - unlike the other genres - can contain a large percentage of archive, or previously shot material - look at "The Tillman Story" "Dogtown and the Z Boys" etc.

The point being that the in the case of non-fiction films and especially ones using previously shot material, being archive or the "Poster Girl" material that inspired Mitchell, the Academy's "producing function" check list is and can be inappropriate.

This is nothing but a continuation of the petty squabbling, greed and politics that have made the Documentary Branch of the Academy an abject joke for the past 20 years. It is a pity that an honor such as the Documentary Oscar is compromised by this - rather than a just reward for true craft.

"In the case of POSTER GIRL, the filmmakers filled out their paperwork asserting that Sara Nesson and Mitchell Block should be that film's potential nominees."

Leave it at that.


I agree witht the decision of the Doc. Branch Exec. Committee. However, like Mr. Block....

Doesn't HBO have a financial interest in who gets nominated too? Sheila Nevins seems to get a lot of her films in which she was the executive producer (which she can not recieve an award) nominated as well...doesn't she? She's a Academy member althought not within the Documentary Branch.

David Poland

I just want to be clear... in spite of her own controversies, my issue with Frida Lee Mock in this situation is not that she had a problem with Block being nominated - reasonable people could debate that issue - but with taking private Academy business public, going to Roger Ebert, and looking to sabotage both Block and the director of the film, who is an innocent here by any definition.

One other key point, I think: Block has been the distributor of dozens of Oscar doc nominees, many of them in "the bad old days," when credit wasn't being so carefully vetted. And as far as my research has shown, he has NEVER been nominated before. What does that tell us about this guy?

I would welcome a serious debate about where the line is and where it should be. But this wasn't an effort to encourage debate, but a sneaky attempt to backdoor a film and filmmaker. Not cool.


You know what bothers me? I read this a week before the ceremony and KNEW then that "Poster Girl" would not win despite all the press that said it would! Not to detract from "Strangers No More," but it's shameful that Sara Nesson was denied an award she earned outright!

Sara would not have made this film had it not been for Block's insistence that she do so after showing him the initial film for "Iraq Paper Scissors." Block pointed out that she had a separate story-Poster Girl. He then produced it at every level.

"The King's Speech" had 15 producers, three of which qualified for the Award! "Poster Girl" had one, and because of BS drama and petty egos, it was denied its honor!

Not only did she have a subject that needs some REAL attention, but she employed techniques and skills that enhanced her true passion for film making. Her ability to get intimate with her subject is unparralled! The piece was moving and telling. Whatever the controversy with Block, Mock or Moore, the real victims here was Sara and all the vets who've been struggling with PTSD after serving in combat in this BS war! That's what's NOT COOL!

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