The Austin Chronicle

Tower Lands on Oscars Doc Shortlist

By Kimberley Jones, December 6, 2016, 6:00pm, Picture in Picture

When Austin filmmaker Keith Maitland’s Tower had its world premiere in March at the South by Southwest Film Festival, it took home the Grand Jury Award and the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature. Turns out those twin prizes were a harbinger of many more accolades to come.

An arresting documentary that uses rotoscope animation to explore the 1966 massacre on the University of Texas campus – now recognized as the first mass school shooting – Tower has picked up a slew of nominations and awards on the festival and year-end awards circuits.

Tuesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added another feather to Tower’s cap: It’s one of 15 films picked (from a field of 145) for the shortlist for the Oscars’ Best Documentary Feature category. Documentary branch members will now select the five nominees from among the 15 titles; nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. The shortlist – an impressive distillation of what a great year for docs it’s been – also includes:

Cameraperson, Big Mouth Productions
Command and Control, American Experience Films/PBS
The Eagle Huntress, Stacey Reiss Productions, Kissiki Films and 19340 Productions
Fire at Sea, Stemal Entertainment
Gleason, Dear Rivers Productions, Exhibit A and IMG Films
Hooligan Sparrow, Little Horse Crossing the River
I Am Not Your Negro, Velvet Film
The Ivory Game, Terra Mater Film Studios and Vulcan Productions
Life, Animated, Motto Pictures and A&E IndieFilms
O.J.: Made in America, Laylow Films and ESPN Films
13th, Forward Movement
Tower, Go-Valley
Weiner, Edgeline Films
The Witness, The Witnesses Film
Zero Days, Jigsaw Productions

For more on Tower, read Richard Whittaker’s October interview with Maitland, Wayne Alan Brenner's Q&A with animation director Craig Staggs, and Marc Savlov’s 4.5-star review.

Copyright © 2022 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.