Northumberland filmmaker’s documentary misses out on Oscar

Otto Bell with The Eagle Huntress, Aisholpan Nurgaiv.
Otto Bell with The Eagle Huntress, Aisholpan Nurgaiv.

A Northumberland filmmaker’s debut feature-length documentary has missed out on the chance of winning an Oscar, it has just been announced.

Otto Bell, who was born and bred in the Alnwick area, directed and produced the breathtaking feature, The Eagle Huntress. The fascinating film follows 13-year-old Aisholpan, as she trains to become the first girl in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter.

Towards the end of last year, the film was one of 15 titles to advance to the shortlist of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ feature documentary competition for next month’s Oscars, having been whittled down from 145.

But this afternoon, it has been announced that The Eagle Huntress is not among the final five nominees for the category for the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 26, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The five nominees are OJ: Made in America; 13th; I Am Not Your Negro; Fire at Sea; and Life Animate.

However, The Eagle Huntress is still in contention to win a prestigious Bafta in the Documentary category and is up against four other titles: 13th, by Ava DuVernay; The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, by Ron Howard; Notes On Blindness, by Peter Middleton and James Spinney; and Weiner, by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg.

The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday, February 12, at the Royal Albert Hall, London. The ceremony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One and BBC One HD. The ceremony is also broadcast in all major territories around the world.

Otto, 35, works for CNN in New York. The documentary has grossed more than $2.5million at the US box office and is also being shown in UK cinemas.