December 6, 2011

Poster Girl Brings Home Award

Professor Wins IDA Award


Poster Girl tells the story of Robynn Murray, a woman who served in Iraq and returned with post-traumatic stress disorder. The film was directed by first time director Sara Nesson and produced by Peter Stark Producing Program adjunct professor Mitchell Block. The film was recently awarded the International Documentary Association’s Award for Best Short Documentary and is also nominated for the Academy Award.

“I was delighted that our film was selected,” said Block. “It’s the first film for the director. It’s the second time I’ve mentored a first time filmmaker to an Oscar or a nomination. It’s always gratifying.”

Block decided to produce the controversial subject after seeing a cut of Nesson’s first documentary about PTSD, which included some footage of Murray.

Professor Block, Sara Nesson and Robynn Murray at the 2011 Academy Awards

“[Nesson] was asking me to help on another documentary she was doing about post-traumatic stress where Robynn was one of many characters,” said Block. “When I watched the rough cut, I asked her about her footage with Robynn and I asked her to string it out for me. When you think about it from a teaching point of view, we basically made a short film out of material that had been discarded.”

As a filmmaker, Block has marketed and distributed films that have won twenty-five Oscars, have been nominated for seventy-one and is personally nominated for Poster Girl.

“Here you have this amazing observational material,” continued Block. “I think it’s a very convincing story. My background is in fiction. It’s about story and story arc. So few student films get there. You realize that, when you’re telling stories, it’s incredibly important to pick material that has emotional and intellectual content.”

For more information on Poster Girl, please visit