Artists and Orphans: A True Drama

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Artists and Orphans: A True Drama
Directed byLianne Klapper McNally
Music byPeter Fish
Edited byEllen Goldwasser, Jonathan Kohen
Distributed byNot By Chance Productions Inc.
Release date
Running time
40 minutes
CountryUnited States / Georgia

Artists and Orphans: A True Drama (known in Russian as Артисты и сироты: Настоящая драма) is a 2001 documentary documenting a group of American artists traveling to the Republic of Georgia for an art festival, and their subsequent effort to provide humanitarian aid to a group of local orphans. Directed, produced, and written by filmmaker Lianne Klapper McNally,[1] upon its debut in 2001, the Daily Nexus described it as "heart-wrenching and eventually heart-warming,"[2] as well as "short, gritty and brilliantly scored."[2] The film won Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival,[3] and it was nominated for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 74th Academy Awards.[4] Artists and Orphans had won multiple film festival awards by 2002,[5] debuting on television several months later through WE tv.[6]


Artists and Orphans, a short documentary directed by Lianne Klapper McNally, details a group of American artists traveling to the Republic of Georgia[7] after an invitation to take part in an international arts festival.[8] Upon discovering that the country is undergoing a humanitarian crisis,[7] the troupe is introduced to a group of orphans living in Tbilisi, Georgia, who were surviving extreme deprivation[1] in a mental hospital[7] bombed out in the Georgian civil war. With winter approaching, the film documents the artists' attempt to gather funds and supplies for the makeshift orphanage, which lacked heating, food, electricity, and water. They then help prepare the orphanage for winter.[1]


Not By Chance Productions, Inc. served as the production company behind the film.[8][1] Post-production facilities were provided in major part by Teatown Communications Group in New York,[9] while Ellen Goldwasser and Jonathan "Yoni" Kohen edited the film.[8][1]


Debut and first awards (2001)[edit]

Released in early 2001 and initially making the rounds on the American film festival circuit, in March 2001 Artists and Orphans won the Audience Choice Award for documentaries at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.[3] The Lake Arrowhead International Film Festival in Lake Arrowhead, California screened the film in May 2001, with the film winning the Inspiration Award for Best Documentary.[10] In June 2001, the film screened at the Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films.[11] Also that month the film won the audience award for Best Short Film at the Florida Film Festival.[12] Artists and Orphans played at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in July 2001,[1] and in September it screened at the Boston Film Festival, with the Boston Phoenix describing it as the "standout" in its round of screenings.[13] At the Docside Film Festival in San Antonio in April 2002, the film was nominated for Best Feature Documentary.[14]

Oscar nomination (2001-2002)[edit]

The film was nominated for an Oscar at the 74th Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Subject.[15][16][17] Also nominated were Sing! and Thoth, with the latter winning the award in February 2002.[4] On March 18, 2001, the film was one of two runners up for Best Documentary at the Valleyfest Film Festival[18] in Knoxville, Tennessee.[19] In March 2002, the press reported that Rosie O'Donnell was seeking to remove her narration from the production after accusations of discrimination, which the filmmakers dismissed as "inflammatory" and "without foundation."[20] On April 22, 2002, the film screened on WE tv as part of an evening of programming meant to raise awareness for children.[6] It was screened in the Czech Republic on April 23, 2002 at the Olomouc Animation Film Festival,[9] and was also included in documentaries for sale at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.[7] At the Crested Butte Reel Fest in central Colorado, the film won the Illumination Award for the film,[5] and Artists and Orphans also tied for second place for audience choice award.[5]

Critical reception[edit]

Andy Sywak of the Daily Nexus gave the film a positive review upon its March 2001 debut, describing it as "heart-wrenching and eventually heart-warming."[2] Though Sywak argued the film "appears pretentious" at times by attempting to draw connections between art and humanitarian relief, he further opined that the film was "essentially a documentary about a philanthropy mission," and "the fact that the caregivers are artists ultimately has little to do with the story. Short, gritty and brilliantly scored, McNally definitely knows what she is doing."[2]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Incomplete list of awards for Artists and Orphans
Year Award Nominated
Category Result
2001 Santa Barbara
International Film Festival
and Orphans
Audience Choice Award
for Best Documentary[3]
Lake Arrowhead
International Film Festival
Inspiration Award
for Best Documentary[10]
Florida Film Festival Audience Award for Best Short Film[12] Won
74th Academy Awards Best Documentary Short Subject[15] Nominated
2002 Docside Film Festival The Jury Award[14] Nominated
Valleyfest Film Festival Best Documentary[18][19] Runner-Up
Crested Butte Reel Fest Illumination Award[5] Won
Audience Choice Award[5] 2nd place

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Artists and Orphans: A True Drama". Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. July 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  2. ^ a b c d Sywak, Andy (March 8, 2001). "Film Festival Reviews". Daily Nexus. University of California, Santa Barbara. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  3. ^ a b c McCarthy, Todd (March 11, 2001). "'Amy,' 'Artists' impress S. Barbara aud - Iceland's 'Angels' nabs World Prism Award". Variety. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  4. ^ a b "Full list of Oscar winners and nominees". The Guardian. February 12, 2002. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Crested Butte Awards Best Shorts". August 21, 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  6. ^ a b "WE: Women's Entertainment President Kate McEnroe to Host On-Air Effort to Raise Awareness For Children Worldwide". AMC Networks. April 22, 2002. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  7. ^ a b c d "artists and orphans: a true drama". International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  8. ^ a b c "Artists and Orphans (2001)". Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  9. ^ a b "Artists and Orphans: A True Drama". IMDB. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  10. ^ a b "Best little film festival doubles attendance". Mountain News. May 10, 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  11. ^ Daley, Ashley (June 27, 2002). "300 shorts to unspool in desert". Variety. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  12. ^ a b "DAILY NEWS: Sundance Stays in Park City; IFC '70s Doc; Florida Fest Winners". Indiewire. June 20, 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  13. ^ Keough, Peter (September 6, 2001). "Can we count on them? They're off and screening in the 17th annual Boston Film Festival". Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  14. ^ a b "Docside Film Festival". San Antonio Current. April 11, 2002. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  15. ^ a b "The 74th Academy Awards - Honoring movies released in 2001". Oscars. 2002. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  16. ^ "Artists and Orphans: A True Drama". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  17. ^ "74th Annual Academy Awards". NPR. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  18. ^ a b "Edison Carter reports on Valleyfest Film Festival". AintItCool. March 22, 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  19. ^ a b "Valley Awards Sleep". March 15, 2001. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  20. ^ O'Donnel, Rosie (March 21, 2002). "Rosie O'Donnell wants name, voice taken off Oscar-nominated short film". Associated Press. Retrieved 2016-06-06.

External links[edit]