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Rabbit à la Berlin is Polish-German coproduction of Anna Wydra MS Films, Telewizja Polska and ma.ja.de Filmproduktion, MDR, RBB in association with ARTE, YLE, Lichtpunt, VPRO. Film is supported by Polish Film Institute, MEDIA Programme and Andrzej Wajda Master School of Film Directing. The film was developed within following programs and workshops: Nipkow Foundation, Ex Oriente Film, IDF and the Discovery Campus Masterschool (now Documentary Campus).
Rabbit à la Berlin/ Mauerhase | 2009 | 40'& 51' | creative documentary
Germany, Poland 2009
Director: Bartek Konopka
Producer: Anna Wydra
Script: Bartek Konopka, Piotr Rosołowski
Cinematography: Piotr Rosołowski
Editor: Mateusz Romaszkan
SFX: Grzegorz Korczaky
Sound: Franciszek Kozłowski
Music: Maciej Cieślak
It's an important lesson of history that a system of order intended to produce one result will often give birth to something entirely unexpected. So it was with the Berlin Wall, which was, in fact, two separate walls, one on the east and one on the west with a 120-kilometre strip of land between them. The enclosed patch was unintentionally converted into a kind of rabbit reserve as the walls encircled the lush green meadows of Potsdamer Platz and cut its rabbit population off from both escape and predators. But then one day the walls came down and the rabbits were suddenly freed from a restrictive system, albeit one to which they had become accustomed. Told in the style of a nature documentary, with a captivatingly dreamy tone and a tongue-in-cheek nod to the story's allegorical significance, Rabbit à la Berlin provides a fascinating history lesson told through the eyes of animals.
The eight films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production company:
China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province, Downtown Community Television Center, Inc.
The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, Just Media
The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Community Media Productions
Lt. Watada, Chanlim Films
Music by Prudence, iThemba Productions, Inc.
Rabbit a la Berlin, MS Films
Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, Outside Productions
• Woman Rebel, Women Rebel Films
Subjects range from interviews with parents who lost their children following the devastating Sichuan earthquake of 2008 (Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill's China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province) to the closing down of the General Motors assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio (Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert's The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant); from an examination of children's book writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak's thoughts, including his lifelong obsession with death (Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze's Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak) to how rabbits stuck inside the confines of the Berlin Wall (or rather, walls) were affected after the Wall came down in the late '80s (Bartek Konopka's Rabbit a la Berlin).
Also, Daniel Junge's The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner shows how the former governor of the state of Washington led the campaign on behalf of the state's Death with Dignity Act, which allows assisted suicide; Lt. Watada is a portrait of US Army First Lieutenant Ehren Watada, who refused to fight in the Iraq War and got into some serious trouble for that reason; Roger Ross Williams‘ Music by Prudence looks at the Zimbabwe musical group Liyana and their lead singer, Prudence Mabhena; and Kiran Deol's Woman Rebel chronicles the stories of female Nepalese rebel fighters who have recently been running for public office.
The eight semi-finalists were chosen after voters from the Academy's Documentary Branch viewed this year's 37 eligible entries and submitted their ballots to PricewaterhouseCoopers for tabulation. (How many voters actually watched all 37 entries remains unclear.)
The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, February 2, 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it'll be televised live by ABC.