Oscar-Nominated Documentarian Mitchell Block Passes Away at 73

Oscar-Nominated Documentarian Mitchell Block Passes Away at 73

Mitchell Block, the acclaimed documentarian behind powerful films like “Poster Girl,” “Big Mama,” and “The Testimony,” has died at 73. Block’s influential career included Oscar-nominated and winning projects, and he was a beloved educator and consultant in the film industry.

Mitchell Block Passes Away at 73

Mitchell Block, the renowned documentary filmmaker and Oscar-nominated producer, has passed away at the age of 73.

Block’s daughter, Anja Block, revealed that he died on Thursday night of natural causes at his home in Eugene, Oregon, to The Hollywood Reporter.

Life and Career

Block’s impressive career spanned over four decades, during which he worked as a consultant for Sheila Nevins at HBO for approximately a decade. His notable work includes producing the network’s Poster Girl (2010), which follows the struggles of Robynn Murray, a veteran who battled PTSD after returning from the Iraq War. The film was nominated for an Academy Award, with Block sharing the nomination with director Sara Nesson.

Block also served as an executive producer on the Oscar-winning short documentary Big Mama (2000), which tells the story of Viola Dees, an 89-year-old woman fighting to retain custody of her rebellious grandson, Walter.

In addition to his work on Big Mama and Poster Girl, Block was involved in the production of several other short documentaries, including The Testimony (2015), about the largest rape trial in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Women of the Gulag (2018), which revolves around survivors of Soviet labor camps. Both films were shortlisted for Academy Awards.

Block was a dedicated member of the Academy’s documentary screening committee, serving for many years and selecting documentaries that were eligible for Oscars.

In 1990, a group of 45 filmmakers filed a protest with the Academy after Michael Moore’s Roger & Me did not receive a documentary nomination. Block denied any conflict of interest, stating in an interview with The New York Times: “I am not allowed to vote for or attend the screening or participate in any discussion of any film that I have a conflict of interest in.”

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Block graduated from the Hun School of Princeton in 1968 and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He also studied at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.

Block’s early work included writing, directing, and producing … No Lies (1973), a 16-minute cinéma verité-style film about a rape and its aftermath. The film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry in 2008 and was named one of the 10 best short films ever made by critics polled by IndieWire in 2016.

Block co-founded Direct Cinema in 1974 and went on to release numerous films that collected 25 Oscars from 76 nominations. He also executive produced Carrier, a documentary set on the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, as well as its one-hour companion piece, Another Day in Paradise.

Block’s extensive résumé includes several other notable films and documentaries, including Stealing America: Vote by Vote (2008), Vessel (2014), The Lost City of the Monkey God (2018), Surviving Sex Trafficking (2021), and My People (2023).

He was a consulting producer on the insightful TCM docuseries The Power of Film, which aired recently.

Throughout his career, Block spoke at more than 50 colleges and universities worldwide, lectured in China, taught classes in independent film production at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts from 1979-2017, and was a professor of documentary and film studies at the University of Oregon at the time of his death.

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Pooja Chauhan

Pooja Chauhan: Your Source for Entertainment and Box Office News Pooja Chauhan is a passionate writer and dedicated journalist specializing in delivering the latest updates and insights from the world of entertainment and box office. With a keen eye for detail and a deep love for cinema, Pooja brings her readers accurate and engaging coverage of all things related to movies, celebrities, and the dynamic world of showbiz. Her commitment to keeping her audience well-informed and entertained makes her a valuable voice in the realm of entertainment journalism. When she's not busy uncovering the latest scoops, Pooja enjoys exploring classic films and indulging in creative writing." Contact us: admin@bollywoodfever.co.in

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