3 Asia documentaries Oscar shortlisted

Academy lists final eight out of 31 submissions

LOS ANGELES -- Three documentaries about Asia or by Asian filmmakers made the shortlist of titles vying for Oscar nominations for best documentary short subject.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday released the names of eight titles, culled from 31 submissions, three to five of which will be named as nominees on Jan. 22.

The three Asia-related films are "Smile Pinki," Megan Mylan's portrait of a young girl in India who is treated for a cleft lip, "Tongzhi in Love," a film about gay men in China by Ruby Yang, the 2007 Oscar winner for AIDS film "The Blood of Yingzhou District," and "The Conscience of Nhem En," directed by Steven Okazaki, a study of Cambodia 30 years after the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Okazaki won in the category in 1990 for "Days of Waiting."

The other films making the cut are:

-- "David McCullough: Painting With Words," by Mark Herzog, an HBO documentary offering a portrait of the historian who wrote "John Adams," the basis for HBO's Emmy-winning miniseries.

-- "Downstream," by Leslie Iwerks, a nominee for 2006's "Recycled Life," that looks at Canada's oil sands industry and its effects on aboriginal natives.

-- "The Final Inch," Irene Taylor Brodsky's account of efforts to eradicate polio.

--  "Viva la Causa," Bill Brummel and Alonso Filomeno Mayo's study of the grape strike and boycott led by Chavez and Dolores Huerta.

-- "The Witness From the Balcony of Room 306," by Adam Pertofsky, an account of the King assassination as witnessed by Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles.
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