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Academy Nominates Hunter Professor’s Film for “Best Documentary” Oscar

On Sunday, March 7, Hunter professor of Urban Affairs and Planning Peter Kwong will be at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, where he hopes to find himself onstage after the announcement of the winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).  Among the category’s five nominees is a film he co-produced: “China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province.”

“China’s Unnatural Disaster” looks at the devastating aftermath of the 2008 earthquake that killed at least 70,000 people, including thousands of children crushed by school buildings.  The film follows parents coming to terms with their loss and challenging government officials to explain the inadequate construction. 

“It’s about heroic people struggling to find justice and about the larger demand for political reform in China,” said Kwong.  “We want the government to be accountable.”

In fact, the government has attempted to suppress the movie and the news of its Oscar nomination.  Kwong and his co-producers were themselves previously detained in China and have since had their visas denied.  For Kwong, the value of the Oscar nomination, and hopeful win, goes far beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood prestige.

“We are pleased that this film will finally get another chance for viewership,” he said.

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