Oscar-winning director arrives in city today
American documentary maker Mark Jonathan Harris - Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. consulate general in HCMC
American documentary maker/children book’s author Mark Jonathan Harris, who has won three Academy awards, will be in HCMC from today until Thursday to join in teaching and movie seminars.
The professor of School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California (USC) will lecture at a seminar on documentary production sponsored by the American Film Showcase (AFS), a major touring film program bringing American documentaries, feature films and animated shorts to audiences worldwide. AFS is a partnership between the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and USC’s School of Cinematic Arts.
Participants to the three-day seminar, taking place at level 8 of Diamond Plaza downtown, are invited Vietnamese moviemakers from state-owned studios and indie filmmakers who will gain knowledge in discussions with Harris as well as Alan Baker, assistant dean of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts on movie-making issues.
During his stay in HCMC, Harris will also have a meeting with local fans after a free screening of his documentary “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport” produced by Warner Bros at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday. This film was awarded an Oscar for the best documentary feature in 2000.
The event will take place at the American Center on level 8 of the Diamond Plaza at 34 Le Duan Boulevard in District 1.
Some of the highlights of Harris’ career are The Redwoods, a documentary made for the Sierra Club to help establish a redwood National Park, which won an Oscar for Best Short Documentary (1968). The Long Way Home (1997), a film made for the Simon Wiesenthal Center about the period immediately following the Holocaust won the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary (1997). Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport was produced for Warner Bros. and also won an Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary (2000).
Unchained Memories: Readings from the Slave Narratives (2003), an HBO documentary he wrote on slavery in America, was nominated for an Emmy for Non-fiction Special. In 2007, he produced Darfur Now, which was nominated by The National Board of Review and the Broadcast Film Critics Association for best documentary of the year. The film went on to win an NAACP Image Award.
Harris has also been a writer for TV Guide, American Heritage, New York Times, Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.