Paramount + to launch Oscar nominated Hunger Ward for MTV documentaries – Deadline
EXCLUSIVE: Wider audiences are about to get a chance to see director Skye Fitzgerald Hunger district, the Oscar nominated short film from MTV Documentary Films.
The film, a ruthless look at the suffering of children in Yemen who were starved during the country’s civil war, will premiere on the Paramount + streaming platform on Friday. Hunger district will be released on the same day in more than 120 theaters, coupled with virtual cinema engagements, as part of the Academy’s 2021 Oscar-nominated short films program.
âIt’s an honor to have MTV Documentary Films and Paramount + Hunger districturgent message of the humanitarian crisis affecting the children of Yemen to a broad and engaged audience, âsaid Fitzgerald. Sheila Nevins, Head of MTV Documentary Films, added: âThe biggest humanitarian crisis exists in Yemen. Children are starving to death in front of America. Filmmaker Skye Fitzgerald has made a documentary that says âno moreâ. This is a must see for anyone with a heart.
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Hunger district is the third in a trilogy of films Fitzgerald has made about people displaced in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of political unrest and war. His 2015 short film 50 feet from Syria made the list of documentaries at the Oscars. His 2018 short documentary Rescue boat, on refugees risking death to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, won an Oscar nomination.
“I feel like what I’m trying to do,” Fitzgerald told Deadline, “is shine a light on some of these stories, so more people care.”
According to a report released in February by several United Nations agencies, more than 2 million Yemeni children under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. Among them, 400,000 young children could die of hunger, according to the report. They are the innocent victims of what has turned into a proxy war between Iran, which supports a rebel group in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, which sided with the Yemeni government.
âThe fact that hunger is being used as a weapon of war is such a horrible thought to me,â Fitzgerald commented. “It’s something that we can actually do something about, because it’s a man-made tragedy, and it’s a tragedy that can be resolved by humans.”
The World Affairs Councils of America, the Nobel Peace Center and the United States Institute of Peace plan to conduct separate âpolicy-oriented impact projectionsâ from Hunger district. Fitzgerald called on Saudi Arabia to end its air and sea blockade of Yemen, which severely restricted the distribution of food aid. President Biden reassesses US-Saudi ties, in part in response to the Yemeni crisis, and says his administration will no longer provide military support for the kingdom’s armed assault on Yemen, a reversal of administration policy Trump.
Reacting to his Oscar nomination, Fitzgerald told Deadline, âIt’s certainly gratifying to feel that people are ready to watch, people are ready to see and hopefully engage in some very difficult matters. â¦ What thrills me most is that with this recognition by the Academy, I think it gives us the opportunity to take the issue to a larger and more engaged demographic that can really help us put end to the war in Yemen.
âSkye has made a powerful and heartbreaking film that has the power to save the children of a country from malnutrition,â noted Nina L. Diaz and Liza Burnett Fefferman of MTV Documentary Films. âWe are honored to bring this incredibly important issue to the forefront and to raise awareness of this devastating humanitarian crisis. “
Hunger district was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards and was on DOC NYC’s list of Best Short Films in 2020. It also won Best Director and Best Editing at the 2020 Social Impact Media Awards .
Hunger district was produced by Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman. Executive producers of the film include Ruth Johnston, Matt Milios, Jannat Gargi, Matt Ippolito, Jody Allen, Bryn Mooser, Hayley Pappas and Kathryn Everett. The documentary is a production of Spin Films, Vulcan Productions and RYOT Films.
MTV Documentary Films won an Oscar nomination last year for its first film, the short Saint Louis Superman. Its non-fiction roster includes the Oscar-shortlisted feature 76 days, Sabaya, Discovery Yingying, Beautiful something left behind, American selfie: One Nation shoots itself, 17 blocks, Too short a life, and My father the mover.