Northumberland filmmaker’s documentary nominated for Bafta

Otto Bell with The Eagle Huntress, Aisholpan Nurgaiv.
Otto Bell with The Eagle Huntress, Aisholpan Nurgaiv.
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A Northumberland filmmaker’s debut feature-length documentary has been nominated for a Bafta, hot on the heels of the movie being named as an Oscar contender.

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.

The film is already in the running to win a prestigious Oscar and this morning it was announced that the film has now been nominated to win a prize at the EE British Academy Film Awards next month.

Otto’s film is in contention to win a 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 nominations were announced this morning by Dominic Cooper and Sophie Turner at Bafta’s London headquarters, 195 Piccadilly.

Aisholpan Nurgaiv is The Eagle Huntress. Photograph by Sony Pictures Classics

Aisholpan Nurgaiv is The Eagle Huntress. Photograph by Sony Pictures Classics

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. He said: “As a British filmmaker, the Bafta nomination means a great deal to me. I’m especially pleased for Aisholpan and her family to be recognised in this way too, but perhaps most importantly, this brings my fiancée’s dream of meeting Kevin McCloud and Graham Norton one step closer!”

It means that Otto is on course to win a prestigious double, as the film is one of 15 titles to advance to the shortlist of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ feature documentary competition for February’s Oscars, having been whittled down from 145.

The Academy’s documentary branch will now choose five nominees, to be announced later this month, ahead of the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, February 26, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The Eagle Huntress. Sony Pictures Classics.

The Eagle Huntress. Sony Pictures Classics.

The documentary has grossed $2.5million at the US box office and is also being shown in UK cinemas, including at Alnwick Playhouse this Saturday.