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BEVERLY HILLS, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 86th Oscars® . One hundred forty-seven films had originally qualified in the category.

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

“The Act of Killing,” Final Cut for Real
“The Armstrong Lie,” The Kennedy/Marshall Company
“Blackfish,” Our Turn Productions
“The Crash Reel,” KP Rides Again
“Cutie and the Boxer,” Ex Lion Tamer and Cine Mosaic
“Dirty Wars,” Civic Bakery
“First Cousin Once Removed,” Experiments in Time, Light & Motion
“God Loves Uganda,” Full Credit Productions
“Life According to Sam,” Fine Films
“Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer,” Roast Beef Productions
“The Square,” Noujaim Films and Maktube Productions
“Stories We Tell,” National Film Board of Canada
“Tim’s Vermeer,” High Delft Pictures
“20 Feet from Stardom,” Gil Friesen Productions and Tremolo Productions
“Which Way Is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington,” Tripoli Street

The Academy’s Documentary Branch determined the shortlist in a preliminary round of voting.  Documentary Branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles.

The Oscars nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Movie Review: “God Loves Uganda” spreads Ignorance but Delivers an Enlightening Message

A disturbing ripple effect shows how conflicting perceptions against others can lead to fatal results.

God Loves Uganda is a powerful documentary about the evangelical campaign to introduce African culture to America’s Christian Right beliefs.  The film starts by following a missionary group from the “International House of Prayer,” also known in the film as IHOP.  The group prepares to spread the word of God to Ugandans and hope they can encourage them to follow biblical law.  Along with the teachings of the gospel, they are condemning homosexuals and banning the use of condoms among a population with a severe HIV rate.  As the documentary continues, we see various religious leaders from America and Uganda including the late gay activist David Kato.  Some leaders fight homosexuality, while others like Kato, try to prevent the hate with their belief that God loves everyone no matter what sexual orientation.

For Academy Award winning director, Roger Ross Williams (Music By Prudence, New York Underground), this was a film with an agenda. Being a homosexual African American raised in the church, this was a subject that also struck a personal chord for Williams.  He does a magnificent job capturing a realistic portrait of these evangelists and reverends, as they clearly have no problem being shed in a bad light. These people are just being themselves and truly believe what they are saying and preaching is completely normal without any consequences. Williams succeeds in delivering a clear message of how the extremists forcing anti-homosexual views to a vulnerable country can expand to others causing a dangerous effect.  Homosexuality is already illegal in Uganda and they are currently trying to pass the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” in which same-sex relations could lead to life in prison or the death penalty.  But even without a bill, the citizens have taken matters in their own hands.  They are being taught to be the first country to “stop the homosexuals from ruining society.”

I praise Williams immensely for shooting this documentary.   It could not have been easy for him to sit through some of these interviews and hateful sermons.  At times it was too uncomfortable for me to see such close-minded people trying to do good, when in reality they were causing more harm.  I will hold my tongue on my opinion of the actual topic at hand and try to stay objective.  God Loves Uganda is an eye-opening story that seriously leaves you thinking about what kind of outcome a person’s words can have on society.

God Loves Uganda opens in theaters October 11th.

“God Loves Uganda” Official Trailer

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