Oscar-nominated documentary to screen at St. Ambrose with director and composer

Local News

“Hunger Ward” was among five nominees for Best Documentary Short at this year’s Academy Awards.

St. Ambrose University presents a special free screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary film, “Hunger Ward,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15 at Galvin Fine Arts Center, Davenport.

Director Skye Fitzgerald and composer William Campbell (who chairs the SAU music department) will be there to help introduce the film and participate in a Q&A period after the 40-minute film is over.

“Hunger Ward” was among five 93rd-annual Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary, Short Subject, at this year’s Oscars. It lost out to “Colette.”

Filmed inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in conflict-ridden Yemen, “Hunger Ward” documents two women fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war.

The film provides unflinching portraits of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they work to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine. With unprecedented access within a sensitive conflict-zone, “Hunger Ward” reveals the bravery of deeply committed doctors working in the middle of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Bill Campbell was among the film crew that attended the 91st-annual Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles, in February 2019, when the second film in Fitzgerald’s refugee trilogy, “Lifeboat” (2018), was nominated in the same category.

Davenport composer Bill Campbell wrote the music for all three documentaries in Skye Fitzgerald’s refugee trilogy — “50 Feet From Syria,” “Lifeboat” and “Hunger Ward.”

“The movies that are nominated for the Documentary Short are really — all of them – absolutely amazing films,” Campbell said this past March after the Oscar nominations were announced. “So to have the film that I’m part of be on that list is really an honor.”

The 40-minute “Hunger Ward” (about the humanitarian crisis in the Middle Eastern country of Yemen) was previously named to the Oscar shortlist in the category — 10 films, out of 114 that qualified.

“The reason for this film was to show the plight of these people, but also to, unfortunately to show the complicity of the United States government,” Campbell said. “At the end of the last administration, they sold a lot of arms and made this huge deal with the Saudis, which just increased, unfortunately, the terrible plight of the people. Thankfully, the new administration has lightened those up a bit. But there’s still so much more to do.”

Fitzgerald filmed his documentary at two medical clinics that treat malnourished children — one in South Yemen, a part of the country controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government, and one in North Yemen, an area controlled by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

At Wednesday’s free screening, masks will be required. For more information, visit www.hungerward.org.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories