Skye Fitzgerald’s Hunger Ward documentary gets Oscar nomination
Hunger Ward, a documentary directed by Skye Fitzgerald about the ongoing war in Yemen, has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject.
Fitzgerald’s documentary is about two female health care workers who were filmed inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen.
The film is presently streaming on Pluto TV, but will screen in theaters and virtual cinemas starting April 2 as part of ShortsTV 2021 Oscar Nominated Shorts Films program.
Hunger Ward amidst Yemen’s war
Presently, Yemen is experiencing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis with a war that has displaced more than 3.65 million people from their homes.
Because of the fighting, almost 18 million people do not have enough clean water or access to adequate sanitation.
Likewise, out of the 2 million children who are acutely malnourished, this includes almost 360,000 children under five years old who are struggling to survive.
Amidst this war, Fitzgerald filmed Dr. Aida Al Sadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi trying to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine.
This film is the third documentary in Fitzgerald’s Humanitarian Trilogy focusing on the global refugee crisis.
The first, 50 Feet from Syria, was about doctors working on the Syrian border. The second was Lifeboat, about the search and rescue operations off the coast of Libya.
Documentaries generating attention
Fitzgerald’s work has been garnering attention. Before Hunger Ward, his first documentary was also shortlisted for an Oscar. Likewise, the second was nominated for both an Academy Award and an Emmy.
Currently, Hunger Ward has been used by Yemeni activists in raising attention in US Congress and the UN in the past few months.
What’s more, it has also caught the attention of celebrities outspoken on the matter of Yemen, like Mark Ruffalo.
In the case of Ruffalo, he has been working with others to pressure the Biden administration to cease US support for the war.
For more on this, check out Ruffalo’s interview with Fitgerald below:
Fitzgerald and Hunger Ward
Speaking on his work, Fitzgerald said in a statement, “I believe that the most compelling films often emerge from a deep and abiding belief that– simply put– they must be done.”
Fitzgerald further explained “that if we can generate empathy for others it becomes exceedingly difficult to create barriers.”
Calling this approach as “Humanitarian Cinema,” Fitzgerald said his films were done “with a cinematic eye” so as to elicit empathy for the refugee and IDP (internally displaced person) community.
In the case of Hunger Ward, he said that this was “borne out of a sense of urgency at the sustained civilian suffering caused by the human-caused famine in Yemen.”
“We are striving to create a film that activates both the heart and the intellect while simultaneously laying bare American complicity in the current civilian deaths in Yemen,” he said.
For more about the documentary, check out the trailer here: