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Guardian documentary Colette wins an Oscar

Colette, written and directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Anthony Giacchino, produced by Oculus Studios and Respawn Entertainment, and released by The Guardian, has won an Oscar for best short documentary.

Guardian documentary Colette wins an Oscar
Anthony Giacchino: “As we see in the film, resistance takes courage, but facing one’s past may take even more.”

Executive produced by Peter Hirschmann and produced by Alice Doyard, Annie Small and Aaron Matthews, Colette triumphed at the 93rd Academy Awards, winning the ‘Best Documentary, Short Subject’ category at a ceremony held in Los Angeles, California (Sunday 25 April).

Colette is the first Guardian documentary to win an Oscar, building on the success of Black Sheep, which made the Oscar nominations list in 2019. Colette’s executive producers for the Guardian were Charlie Phillips, Lindsay Poulton and Jess Gormley.

Colette tells the story of 90-year-old Colette Marin-Catherine, one of the last surviving members of the French Resistance, who confronts her past by visiting the Nazi concentration camp in Germany where her brother, Jean-Pierre, was killed. She always refused to set foot in Germany. This changes when a young history student named Lucie enters Colette’s life as part of her research into the camp where Jean-Pierre died. The film follows Colette as she travels with Lucie to what remains of the forced labor camp near Nordhausen, Germany, in a journey of discovery that reopens old wounds and lessons of the past.

The film debuted on the Guardian in November 2020, the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Trials, and is free to watch here.

Anthony Giacchino, writer and director of Colette, says: “We’re deeply honored and humbled that Colette has won the Oscar. I’m grateful to the diverse teams of people who collaborated across nations to bring this story to life and championed the film from start to finish — especially the Guardian, who gave us the global platform to release this documentary. But our deepest gratitude goes to Colette and Lucie, for allowing us to share their story and bear witness to their journey. As we see in the film, resistance takes courage, but facing one’s past may take even more. Allowing us to preserve their pilgrimage for future generations was a true act of bravery and trust. We hope this award and the film’s reach means, as Colette says, that Jean-Pierre’s memory, as well as all of those who resisted, are no longer lost in the ‘Night and Fog’ of Dora.”

Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, Guardian News & Media says: “This Academy Award is a real honour and a fantastic achievement for everyone behind this powerful and deeply moving documentary. I am delighted that the Guardian helped to tell Colette’s story, offering a global platform to share the film with audiences around the world. Colette is the first Guardian documentary to win an Oscar and is a testament to our talented video team who have worked hard to build and grow our distinctive Guardian Documentaries strand over the years. A huge congratulations to all!”

Charlie Phillips, head of video, Guardian News & Media says: “I’m proud that Colette has won the Oscar and am just as delighted to have achieved it with such an important and moving documentary, which helps us to understand history and friendship through two special women. This win is a tribute to the hard work of a dedicated filmmaking team behind Colette, and also years of the Guardian documentaries team building up our strand with important must-watch stories.”

Lindsay Poulton, head of documentaries, Guardian News & Media says: “What an honour to be recognised with an Academy Award! At the Guardian, we are always looking for surprising routes into important stories and Colette's story of resistance and resilience has moved us all. I'm inspired by the commitment and compassion of the filmmakers, as well as our whole Guardian team who supported this film and helped it to reach audiences. The Guardian’s documentary strand will continue to support filmmakers to bring different perspectives to compelling journalism.”

Colette also won Best Documentary Short Film at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival; The Young Cineastes Award from Palm Springs ShortFest; Best Documentary Short at St. Louis International Film Festival; Best Director at the Fargo Film Festival; the Audience Award at Fargo Film Festival and the Exceptional Film Award at Exceptional Women’s Film Festival.

A full list of the Oscar winners can be found here.

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