New Emissary

Asia-Pacific Still in Oscar Running

Two remaining contenders for the 2011 Academy Awards highlight crucial issues facing the region and its people.

This year’s Oscar buzz intensified yesterday as the 2011 Academy Award nominees were announced at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in California.

Unfortunately for those rooting for Asia, Japanese hopeful Confessions was snubbed in the best foreign language movie category, leaving Asia without a presence there. Still, there are two Asia-Pacific movie nominees in the best documentary short category (defined as motion pictures with a running time of 40 minutes or less, including all credits).

Both of the films, The Warriors of Qiugang, (仇岗卫士) and Sun Come Up, deal with environmental themes in the region—the challenges currently facing China in the former and the unfortunate and growing number of climate change refugees in the South Pacific region.

The Warriors of Qiugang was made by Beijing-based Chinese-American Ruby Yang, who previously won an Oscar for best documentary short in 2007 for her film The Blood Of Yingzhou District. Her latest follows the story of a group of villagers in central China who engage in a five-year battle with a ‘chemical company that is poisoning their land and water.’

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Meanwhile, Sun Come Up, directed by Jennifer Redfearn, focuses on a group of Carteret Islanders who are relocating as the world’s first climate change refugees.

For anyone interested in finding out a little more about these issues, we’ve covered both in The Diplomat. 'Climate Change’s First Refugees' takes a look at the Carteret Islanders, highlighting how despite being on the front line of climate change, many of those affected planned to re-position themselves to lead the world in renewable energy infrastructure. We also spoke with The Guardian’s Jonathan Watts ('Can China be Green?') about his book When a Billion Chinese Jump in which we asked him how the world can cope with Chinese growth.

Fingers crossed that win or no win, these two movies will serve their purpose of raising awareness of specific issues that don’t always make it into the daily headlines.