And the Oscar Goes to ... Yaddo Artist Eva Orner
Saratoga Springs, NY (February 25, 2008) - Yaddo filmmaker Eva Orner won an Oscar at last night's Academy Awards ceremony in the Best Documentary Feature category for her work on Taxi to the Dark Side, an engrossing investigation of governmental abuse of power in the name of the "war on terror."
Taxi to the Dark Side, which debuted in April at the Tribeca Film Festival to widespread acclaim, takes a critical look at the Bush administration's policy on torture by investigating the 2002 suspicious death of an Afghan taxi driver at Bagram Air Force Base who suffered fatal injuries, allegedly at the hands of U.S. soldiers. Ms. Orner co-produced the movie with Alex Gibney, the film's writer, director, and narrator. Taxi to the Dark Side took top honors in the documentary field at the 2007 Tribeca, Chicago, and Newport film festivals and won Mr. Gibney a Writer's Guild of America award for best documentary screenplay earlier this month. The film is currently in theaters and HBO recently announced that it had bought the rights to the film and will show it in September.
Jenkins Screenplay a Winner
A film by another Yaddo filmmaker, The Savages by writer/director Tamara Jenkins, received two honors Saturday at the Film Independent Spirit Awards, including the best screenplay top prize for Ms. Jenkins.
The Savages is a heartbreaking and hilarious story about siblings forced to care for their ailing and estranged father. It stars Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman, who won the 2008 Independent Spirit Award for best male lead for his portrayal of a college professor and writer whose decisions regarding their father's care are questioned by his sister, played by Ms. Linney.
Ms. Jenkins is a former recipient of Yaddo's Donald and Genie Rice Residency and wrote a substantial portion of The Savages screenplay at Yaddo. Her script also was nominated for an Academy Award and earlier received screenwriting awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle.
Ms. Orner relocated to the United States from her native Australia shortly after her 2004 Yaddo residency. Her other recent credits include producing the 60-minute documentary The Human Behavior Experiments for the Sundance Channel and co-producing the feature documentary Herbie Hancock's Possibilities. One of her most recent producing projects, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson, a feature documentary about the writer and journalist, played at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is due for theatrical release later this year. She also is working on a novel and has her own original screenplay and a television series in development.