Mitchell Block

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Mitchell Block (born c. 1950) is an American filmmaker whose 2015 film "The Testimony" was short listed for a 2015 Short Film Documentary Academy Award nomination.[1] 2010 film Poster Girl was nominated for Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) and who Executive Produced the Academy Award winning documentary short film Big Mama for HBO in 2000.

Block attended the Hun School of Princeton, graduating in 1968. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he majored in television and film production,and was awarded an MBA from the Columbia Business School.[2]

In 1990, film makers posted a protest to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences arguing that Block, as a member of Documentary Steering Committee that selects films as nominees, had a conflict of interest because his company Direct Cinema owns the rights to three of the five films selected as nominees for best documentary feature, while Michael Moore's Roger & Me was omitted. The Academy's Executive Director, Bruce Davis remarked, "Mitch Block said firmly and unequivocally that he thought that Roger & Me should be one of the nominees."[3]

Among the films and documentary series that Block has conceived, created and produced are Carrier and Another Day in Paradise, both of which were broadcast on the Public Broadcasting Service and the National Geographic Channel internationally.[2] Carrier received an Emmy Award for Best Cinematography in a prime time series in 2009.

In 2008, Block's short film No Lies (1973) was selected for the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress. The other films so far selected from films produced in 1973 are: American Graffiti, Badlands, Enter the Dragon, The Exorcist, Frank Film, Mean Streets and The Sting.[4] Only a handful of the 550 films on the registry (as of 2011) are short films made by students. In 2016, film critics for the website IndieWire selected it as one of the ten best short films ever made.[5]

Since 1978, Block has been an adjunct professor at the School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California most currently teaching in the Peter Stark Producing Program.

The moving image collection of Direct Cinema/Mitchell Block is held at the Academy Film Archive.[6]


  1. ^ "10 DOC SHORTS ON OSCAR'S 2015 SHORTLIST". 2015-10-26. Retrieved 2016-08-30. 
  2. ^ a b Staff. "Mitchell Block ’68 film Poster Girl Nominated for an Oscar", Hun School of Princeton, January 26, 2011. Accessed March 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Collins, Glenn. "Film Makers Protest to Academy", The New York Times, February 24, 1990. Accessed March 6, 2011.
  4. ^ Films Selected to the Library of Congress National Film Registry 1989-2010.[1]
  5. ^ Ehrlich, David (July 25, 2016). "What Is The Best Short Film Ever Made? — Critics Survey". IndieWire. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Direct Cinema/Mitchell Block Collection". Academy Film Archive.