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Paramount + to debut in Oscar nominated MTV Documentary Films, Hunger Ward – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Wider audiences are about to get a chance to see director Skye Fitzgerald Hunger room, the Oscar nominated short film from MTV Documentary Films.

The film, a ruthless look at the suffering of children in Yemen who were starved during the country’s civil war, will premiere on the Paramount + streaming platform on Friday. Hunger room will be shown the same day in more than 120 theaters, coupled with virtual cinema engagements, as part of the Academy’s 2021 Oscar-nominated short films program.

“It’s an honor that MTV Documentary Films and Paramount + bring Hunger roomThe urgent message of the humanitarian crisis affecting the children of Yemen to a broad and engaged audience, ”said Fitzgerald. Sheila Nevins, Head of MTV Documentary Films, added: “The biggest humanitarian crisis exists in Yemen. Children are starving to death in front of Americans. Filmmaker Skye Fitzgerald has made a documentary that says “no more”. It’s a must-have for anyone with a heart.

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Hunger room director Skye Fitzgerald
Photo courtesy of Matthew Carey

Hunger room is the third in a trilogy of films Fitzgerald has made about people displaced in the Middle East and North Africa as a result of political unrest and war. His short film from 2015 50 feet from Syria made the list of Oscar documentary finalists. His short documentary 2018 Rescue boat, on refugees at risk of dying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, was nominated for an Oscar.

“I feel like what I’m trying to do,” Fitzgerald told Deadline, “is bring some of these stories to light, to make the world care more.”

According to a report released in February by several United Nations agencies, more than 2 million children in Yemen under the age of five are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition this year. Of these, 400,000 young children could starve, according to the report. They are innocent victims of what has turned into a proxy war between Iran, which supports a rebel group in Yemen, and Saudi Arabia, which sided with the Yemeni government.

“The fact that hunger is being used as a weapon of war is a horrible thought to me,” commented Fitzgerald. “It’s something that we can actually do something about, because it’s a human-caused tragedy, and it’s a tragedy that can be resolved by humans.”

The World Affairs Councils of America, the Nobel Peace Center and the United States Institute of Peace plan to organize “policy-driven impact projections” Hunger room. Fitzgerald called on Saudi Arabia to end the air and sea blockade on Yemen, which severely restricted the distribution of food aid. President Biden reassesses US-Saudi ties, in part in response to the Yemeni crisis, and says his administration will no longer provide military support for the kingdom’s armed assault on Yemen, a reversal of administration policy Trump.

Omeima in 'Hunger Ward'
Omeima in Hunger room
MTV Documentaries

Reacting to his Oscar nomination, Fitzgerald told Deadline, “It’s gratifying to feel that people are ready to watch, people are ready to see and hopefully engage in very difficult topics. ..by the Academy, I think it gives us the opportunity to take the issue to a wider and more engaged population that can really help us end the war in Yemen.

“Skye has made a powerful and heartbreaking film that has the power to save the children of a country from malnutrition,” noted Nina L. Diaz and Liza Burnett Fefferman of MTV Documentary Films. “We are honored to bring this extremely important issue to the forefront and to raise awareness of this devastating humanitarian crisis.”

Hunger room was nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards and was among the DOC NYC finalists for Best Short Films of 2020. It also won Best Director and Best Editing at the Social Impact Media Awards 2020.

Hunger room was produced by Fitzgerald and Michael Scheuerman. Jody Allen, Bryn Mooser, Hayley Pappas and Kathryn Everett are among the executive producers of the film. The documentary is a production of Spin Films, Vulcan Productions and RYOT Films.

MTV Documentary Films won an Oscar nomination last year for its first film, The Short Doc Saint Louis Superman. Its non-fiction list includes the Oscar-nominated feature 76 days, Sabaya, Discovery Yingying, Something beautiful left behind, American selfie: a nation shoots itself, 17 blocks, Too short a life, and My father the mover.

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