If you made this past spring’s AFI Dallas International Film Festival, there’s a good chance you caught one of the 15 finalists announced Wednesday for the documentary feature Oscar.
At the Death House Door, Glass: A Portrait of Philip in 12 Parts and I.O.U.S.A. all showed at the festival, and each of them made the short list. Of those, At the Death House Door, which had its world premiere at South By Southwest, has the closest Texas connection. It’s about the Rev. Carroll Pickett, a former chaplain in Hunstville who ministered to those about to take their last breath. After working in that capacity for 15 years, he later became an anti-death penalty crusader. The film aired this spring on the IFC channel but never made it to theaters. Here’s hoping IFC will re-air it now that it is an Oscar semi-finalists.
Other films of note that made the cut include Errol Morris’ Standard Operating Procedure (you might remember Morris from the excellent The Thin Blue Line, about a murder conviction in Dallas that didn’t quite sound right), Man on Wire (skip if you are afraid of heights), the Katrina examination Trouble the Water and Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World.
Notably missing from the list: Bill Maher’s Religulous (which has grossed more than $12 million — huge money for a doc) and Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, the subject of much hand-wringing over terrible (possibly biased) reviews.