Oscar's Documentary Shortlist

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTORS: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine

ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS: D.C.-based husband-and-wife team have worked extensively for National Geographic’s doc arm.

FINANCING: Feature cost just “shy of $1 million” and was financed by Shine Global (the nonprofit film company established by TV exec Albie Hecht) with some additional private investments.

THEME: In a northern Uganda refugee camp, children practice and then journey to a national tribal dance and music competition while bearing the scars of war.

VARIETY REVIEW SAYS: “‘War/Dance’ provides a service, perhaps, by making the issues of African warfare more presentable to a wider audience — more palatable, by connecting it to the ultimately hopeful stories of Rose, Dominic and Nancy. (The three main characters) represent children all over the world who have been orphaned, violated or forced to carry arms.”

DISTRIBUTION STATUS: ThinkFilm release skedded to broaden beyond New York and L.A. playdates. Also set for a Sundance Channel broadcast.

ON THE MAKING OF THE FILM: Since its Sundance 2007 debut, and documentary-

directing prize, “War/Dance” has garnered 18 festival awards. Filmmaker Nix Fine notes that as one character breaks down on her father’s makeshift grave, “Even making the film, you feel yourself getting emotional, and the tragedy viscerally connects you in a very human way.” The lyrically shot and edited film was made with the intent to spotlight the plight of the war-torn region’s children; proceeds (and numerous audience donations) from the film are earmarked for a scholarship fund. Music contributors are topnotch and include Ugandan and other African artists from Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records, Angelique Kidjo and composers Asche & Spencer.

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