Local woman up for Oscar

A Yellow Springs woman once again has her hand in an Academy Award nominated film.

Recently retired Wright State University film professor Julia Reichert served as associate producer on Illinois filmmaker Edgar A. Barens’ short documentary “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall.”

The film was nominated in the best documentary short subject category against the films “CaveDigger,” ”Facing Fear,” ”Karama Has No Walls,” and ”The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life.”

Reichert, who is currently working on two films as well as the personal profile series “ReInvention Stories” for WYSO 91.3 FM, praised Barens’ first film.

“What I tried to do is open doors for Edgar and I tried to encourage him,” Reichert said Thursday. “I wanted to push the project. Really it was up to Edgar to make this happen.”

The 86th Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC 7 p.m. Sunday, March 2.

Reichert’s attitude and work with Barens should come as no surprise. She expressed equal excitement about her own achievement as she did the work of three of her recent Wright State students.

“Punches & Pedicures” by Reichert students Ashley Brandon and Dennis Hohne will be presented Saturday and Wednesday at the Slamdance, a famed independent film festival in Park City, Utah.

The short film “Painted Lady” by Reichert’s former student Brittany Shyne received awards for Best Film, Best Director, and tied for Best Actor in the Short Film category at the 2013 Women’s Independent Film Festival in Santa Monica, Calif.

“Painted Lady” stars Sumayah Chappelle, niece of Yellow Springs-based comedian Dave Chappelle.

Reichert retired from Wright State to focus on filmmaking.

This is not the first time one of her films has been nominated for an Oscar.

“The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” made by Reichart and her partner Steven Bognar, was one of eight contenders for the Documentary Short Subject Oscar at the 82nd Academy Awards.

Reichert was nominated for two other Oscars for her films “Union Maids” in 1976 and “Seeing Red” in 1983.

“I say it is three in a half or three in a quarter,” she said of her Oscar nomination count. “I think I played a good role (in Prison Terminal), but it was a small role. But I am so proud of it. It is such a good film.”

She and Bognar won a prime time Emmy Award for their 2006 documentary, “A Lion in the House,” about children fighting cancer.

Prison Terminal, an intimate look at a dying patient and volunteers in a prison hospice care program, premieres on HBO March 31. Reichert and Bognar were exploring a project about hospice in prison when they learned about Barens’ work.

He filmed and lived in an Iowa State Penitentiary for six months. Reichert said her role in “Prison Terminal” included mentoring Barens, connecting him to sources at HBO and helping open doors in other ways.

She said the film was more than worth her effort.

“It is really a beautiful and meaningful film,” she said. “It has a real chance of winning.”

Reichert, an official Oscar voter, said she may attend the March 2 ceremony, but is expecting a second grandchild.

“It would be fun to go and I would go with Edgar. It would a lot less stressful than the other times,” she said.

“You don’t sit up front (as a nominee in a documentary category), you sit in the back. But if you win, you get an Oscar. (The nomination means) more people are more likely to see this film and learn about Hospice in prison.”

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth

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