Actress Gracie Otto moves behind the camera for the first time to direct The Last Impresario. This intimate and entertaining documentary captures the life of notorious London theatre and film impresario, playboy, gambler and bon vivant Michael White – tagged as the most famous person you’ve never heard of. That’s all changing now, with this celebration of the septuagenarian who is still very much active.
The other debuting female director is Kitty Green, with her controversial Ukraine Is Not A Brothel, the true story of FEMEN, an antiestablishment feminist movement reclaiming the rights of women and challenging patriarchy via topless protest. However, as the FEMEN movement gains traction across Europe in protest again women being used as brides for sale or commodities of sex tourism and trafficking, the perverse and contradictory forces that power the feminist organisation come to light, as captured in 14 months of filming which resulted in the arrests and detainment of the filmmakers.
Also going deep but more literally, under the sea, Deepsea Challenge 3D, w chronicles the world’s first solo dive to the deepest known point on the planet, Challenger Deep. Led by multi- award winning filmmaker James Cameron, whose films include Avatar and Titanic, Deepsea Challenge 3D marks a record-setting dive of 10,908 metres (35,787 ft) piloted by Cameron himself in a submersible which he designed along with a team of visionary engineers, built in Sydney. Nine years in the making, with many Australians on the team, the achievements marked by Deepsea Challenge 3D were made all the more poignant by the tragic death of producer and director Andrew Wight during the making of the documentary.
The fourth nomination is for All This Mayhem, which captures the fractured lives of two former champion pro skaters, brothers Tas and Ben Pappas, whose technical skill took the skating world by storm, but whose personal lives tragically spiralled into a dangerous world of drugs, jail, murder, depression and death. Featuring rough handy-cam footage shot by friends and family in the ‘90s alongside archival US television footage of pro skate events and present-day interviews, All This Mayhem comes with strong documentary team credentials, with Producer James Gay-Rees and Editor Chris King having worked together on the BAFTA Awarded Senna and the Oscar and BAFTA nominated Exit Through The Giftshop.
AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said that the Academy is “pleased to have worked with the Australian Guild of Screen Composers (AGSC) to introduce a new Documentary Craft Award to be presented at the 4th AACTA Awards - Best Original Music Score in a Documentary. In past years, composition was judged together with sound for the Best Sound in a Documentary Award.”
Guy Gross, AGSC President, said: “The Australian Guild of Screen Composers is very pleased to see excellence in original music composition recognised separately to sound in documentary for the 4th AACTA Awards. Recognising Australia’s best talent in these two very different crafts will have a great impact on the careers of those receiving AACTA Awards, and we are delighted to have worked with the Academy to achieve this important distinction. We congratulate today’s feature length documentary nominees and encourage our members to vote in the AACTA Awards to help determine the winners.”
Feature Films In Competition will be announced later in September 2014. All remaining Documentary nominees and all Feature Film and Television nominees will be announced in Sydney later in 2014. The Awards ceremony will be held in January 2015 at The Star, Sydney.