by Mark Rabinowitz
The Directors Guild of America has announced the nominees for
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 1997 and only one
film matches the nominations for 1997 documentary Oscars. The lone film
on both lists is Michele Ohayon's "Colors Straight Up." The other
four nominees for the award are: Muffie Meyer and Ellen Hovde for
"Liberty! The American Revolution: 'Blows Must Decide'"; John O'Hagan for
1997 Sundance Film Festival entrant "Wonderland"; Peter Rosen for "First
Person Singular: I.M. Pei", and Michael Uys & Lexy Lovell for "Riding
the Rails," which was also at Sundance in '97.
"Colors" was the winner of the documentary audience prize and a special
award "for its emotional resonance and social relevance," at this year's
Hamptons International Film Festival, it premiered at the 1997 LAIFF.
Ohayon learned of her nomination from a message indieWIRE left on her
answering machine. When reached, she was understandably thrilled, saying
that she was honored and that it was "great that my peers are recognizing my
work." She also pointed out that documentaries are rarely noted for direction,
but rather for subject matter, pointing out that "the biggest achievement
(in directing both feature and documentary films) is making people comfortable."
Ohayon added, laughing, "I'm not even a DGA member!"
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences requires feature length
films to be "first publicly exhibited for paid admission in a commercial
motion picture theater." In addition, the run must be for at least one
week in either Los Angeles County or the Borough of Manhattan between
November 1, 1996 and October 31, 1997. In addition, the Academy
prohibits any television broadcast within six months of the qualifying
run. The DGA, however, has no requirements prohibiting television
broadcast, and three of the films nominated were produced for
television, "Liberty!" and "First Person Singular" for PBS and
"Wonderland" for Cinemax.