October 5, 2011

Getting “Perspectives” With Mark Harris

Oscar Winning Faculty Member Hosts New Show

School of Cinematic Arts Professor Mark Harris has a long history in documentary filmmaking. He has been awarded three Academy Awards for documentary filmmaking in 1968, 1997 and 2001 for his films Redwoods, The Long Way Home and Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories from the Kindertransport. This Wednesday, Harris will continue hosting the new show Perspectives on Documentary Channel with the airing of Body of War on November 16th. Harris curated the films and will be appearing on camera in the series.

The series will include eight documentaries selected by Harris and original interviews. It will air on Wednesdays at 8 PM ET/PT through October and November on Documentary Channel.

“It’s very exciting because I’m actually getting to pick the films,” said Harris. “I’m getting the opportunity to bring in some background and to bring in some greater audience appreciation of the films. They reflect my particular interest in the films that I hope will be interesting to the audience.”

Among the many documentaries he has written, produced and/or directed 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 which 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.

“Documentaries are often the first films to explore social issues,” continued Harris. “They’re almost always the first report from the fields. With narrative features so consumed with spectacle, documentary seems to be where the human stories have gone.”

For more information on Perspectives and to find a local carrier for the Documentary Channel, please visit: http://www.documentarychannel.com/movie.php?currID=10065&t=Perspectives-Series