Golden Globes: Campus Shooting Doc 'Tower' Ruled Ineligible for Animation Award, Sparking Protest (Exclusive)

Tower (Keith Maitland) Still 1-H 2016
Courtesy of Kino Lorber

Tower, a critically acclaimed film that blends the animation and documentary genres to recount the story of a 1966 mass-casualty shooting at the University of Texas at Austin, has been deemed ineligible for the best animated feature Golden Globe Award, prompting an appeal from its filmmakers, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The publicists for Tower had offered to schedule a screening of the film for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which determines Globe nominations and wins. But they were told by Chantal Dinnage, the organization's managing director, in correspondence subsequently provided to THR, "Thanks so much for the offer, but we have no category for documentary films, so will decline."

Tower's filmmakers, however, countered that they wanted the film to be considered for the animation award, and, while a documentary never has been nominated in that category, there is nothing in the HFPA's rulebook that prevents an animated documentary from being considered.

The HFPA declined to comment. (The group will not officially finalize its categorization and eligibility determinations until later this month.)

"I have such respect for the HFPA because they're one of the key industry leaders in recognizing innovation and new voices," Tower executive producer Louis Black tells THR, "so it's disheartening to hear Tower won't be considered for the Golden Globe animation award. As the documentary form evolves before our eyes, and with the HFPA at the nexus of recognizing groundbreaking TV and cinema, I'm hopeful that they will reconsider their approach when it comes to storytelling that pushes these boundaries."

Keith Maitland, the film's director, adds, "I do hope that the HFPA will consider Tower for their animated film category. I couldn't be prouder of our animation team at Minnow Mountain, an independent animation studio here in Austin, whose beautiful work uniquely showcases the power of animation to communicate emotion, as well as its ability to tell a historical story with honesty and accuracy."

Previous high-profile animated docs include Chicago 10 (2007) and Waltz With Bashir (2008). Bashir received an Oscar nom and a Golden Globe win — but in the best foreign-language film category. The HFPA has since implemented a rule disqualifying docs films from being eligible for its foreign-language award.