Standard Operating Procedure

Eye on the Oscars: Documentaries

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Errol Morris clocks in his eighth feature-length doc with “Standard Operating Procedure.” His “Fog of War” received the 2003 Academy Award for doc feature. Other films include “A Thin Blue Line” and “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control.”

SUBJECT: “Standard Operating Procedure” explores the content of the notorious photographs taken by the soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison, and attempts to look outside the frame of the photographs.

FINANCING: Sony Pictures Classics and Participant Prods.

DISTRIB: Sony Pictures Classics

HELMER COMMENTS: “The idea of the film came out of the photographs,” Morris says. “I was shocked, horrified by the photographs. You see a photograph, and it has an immediate effect, but what do photographs mean? When we reflect on this war, these photographs will be the iconic photographs of the war. The idea was to interview the people who are either in the photographs or took the photographs and to tell a story around that. I like the idea of the first person. I like the idea of people speaking directly to us at the same time as they’re speaking to me. At the heart of the movie is this idea: What would I do if I had been put in such a position? Sometimes people forget that this is the military. I don’t think I can completely capture what it was like for these people, but I can try to tell a story that otherwise would not be told. Everyone wants to be told that these people are bad, but they’re people. I think that’s really the most disturbing thing about all of it.”

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