'Camp Confidential', a film by Israeli directors, makes Oscar shortlist

Being on the shortlist of 15 films means that an Israeli movie may become one of the five Oscar nominees in its category.

2020 Oscars statues (photo credit: Courtesy)
2020 Oscars statues
(photo credit: Courtesy)

Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis, a short film by Israeli directors Mor Loushy and Daniel Sivan, made the Academy Awards shortlist in the Best Documentary Short Subject category on Tuesday. The movie, which is available on Netflix, tells the true story about how the US army brought nuclear scientist Wernher von Braun and other high-ranking Nazis to a secret camp in America that was run by German-Jewish refugee soldiers, told through interviews and animation.

Being on the shortlist of 15 films means that the movie may become one of the five Oscar nominees in this category. The nominees will be announced on February 8.  Strangers No More, an American-Israeli co-production, about the children of foreign workers who go to a Tel Aviv school, won in this category in 2011.

In the Best International Feature category, formerly known as Best Foreign Language Film, in which each country selects one film to be considered for a nomination, Israel’s choice, Eran Kolirin’s Let It Be Morning did not make the shortlist of 15 movies. It tells the story of an Arab family trapped in their village when soldiers seal off the road and it became Israel’s selection after it won the Ophir Award for Best Picture. Israel has had 10 nominations in this category, the last time in 2012 for Joseph Cedar’s Footnote, but has never won, making it the country with the most nominations without a win. Ninety-three countries submitted movies for consideration this year.

The Best International Feature shortlist included Plaza Catedral by Abner Benaim, a movie from Panama, which was developed in the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel International Film Lab, part of the Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School. Participants from around the world, as well as from Israel, attend this lab and work intensively on screenplays for a year. A film developed in this lab, Son of Saul, won the Oscar in this category in 2016.

In the Best Documentary category, Love It Was Not, a film by the Israeli director, Maya Sarfaty, about a relationship between a concentration camp inmate and a guard, was eligible but did not make the shortlist.

 Sam Spiegel Film School (credit: Courtesy)
Sam Spiegel Film School (credit: Courtesy)

The Danish film, Flee, an animated documentary about an Afghan refugee who manages to move to Denmark, made the shortlist in both the Best Documentary and Best International Feature categories and there is talk that it may get a Best Picture nomination.

The Oscars will be awarded in a ceremony in Los Angeles on March 27.