Canadian doc filmmakers Ann Shin, Adam Benzine, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy are Oscar semi-finalists

Three Canadians are a step closer to Oscar glory for their documentary films. Academy Award organizers narrowed the list of documentary short subject contenders to 10 semi-finalists, with a trio of Toronto filmmakers making this latest cut.

Oscar nominees will be announced Jan. 14

Three Canadians are a step closer to potential Oscar glory for their documentary films. Charmeen Obaid-Chinoy, left, Adam Benzine, centre, and Ann Shin are all semi-finalists for the 2016 Academy Awards in the documentary short subject category. (Associated Press/David Spowart/Ann Shin Twitter)
Three Canadians are a step closer to Oscar glory for their documentary films.

The U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences narrowed the list of contenders in the category of documentary short subject to 10 semi-finalists, which it unveiled Monday. Three Toronto filmmakers have made this latest cut.

Ann Shin is a contender for her film My Enemy, My Brother, which follows two former soldiers – Zahed Haftlang and Najah Aboud – who fought against each other during the Iran-Iraq war and reunited, coincidentally, 20 years later in Canada.

Adam Benzine made the list for Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah. The film explores French filmmaker Lanzmann's life and challenging, years-long journey creating his epic documentary saga Shoah – considered the foremost cinematic investigation of the Holocaust. Benzine will screen his film at the Vancouver Jewish Film Festival on Nov. 11 and it will also air on HBO in spring 2016.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who divides her time between Canada, her native Pakistan as well as other filming locales, is being considered for her latest film A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. The doc tells the story of an 18-year-old woman who survives an attempted honour killing. The film will also air on HBO in 2016.

Obaid-Chinoy previously won an Oscar in 2012 in the doc short subject category for her film Saving Face, which followed the struggles of women disfigured by acid attacks perpetrated by relatives.

Rounding out the list of semi-finalists are:
  • Body Team 12
  • Chau, beyond the Lines
  • 50 Feet from Syria
  • Last Day of Freedom
  • Minerita
  • Starting Point
  • The Testimony

Five of the 10 films will officially become Academy Award nominees when the Oscar contenders in all categories are announced on Jan. 14, 2016. 

The 88th annual Academy Awards will take place Feb. 28 in Hollywood.


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