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No End in Sight

Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Charles Ferguson

ABOUT THE FILMMAKER: A career think-tanker with a poly-sci Ph.D. from MIT, Ferguson arrived fresh into the filmmaking game armed only with his sizable foreign policy connections and the small fortune he’d accumulated via a brief entrepreneurial detour into high-tech. He enlisted know-how by tapping doc veteran Alex Gibney as exec producer.

FINANCING: The pic was shot with just under $2 million of Ferguson’s own money. “I spent a month in Iraq — that’s not cheap if you want to stay alive,” Ferguson says. “It costs $6,000 a day to hire a private security firm.”

THEME: Chronicles the missteps of post-Iraq war planning that led to the region’s spiral into insurgency, highlighted by Paul Bremer’s disastrous decision to eliminate all Ba’ath party members from the government and to disband the Iraqi army.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “With an accountant’s eye for precision and a political scientist’s grasp of the machinations that move national policy, Charles Ferguson’s ‘No End in Sight’ itemizes the errors, misjudgments and follies that have defined the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: Magnolia theatrical release took in more than $1.4 million. Pic is now out on DVD.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: “The striking fact about this war is that the most critical decisions were made by an astonishingly few number of people — Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Paul Bremer,” says Ferguson. “If you get four people who think alike and have the same emotional makeup, and also have an enormous amount of power, a weak president, a Congress that’s on their side, and somebody just blew up the World Trade Center, you can get crazy, tragic decisions, like the one to disband the army.”

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