In play for Oscars, indie filmmaker spends own money on publicity

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 7:00 p.m. MST

With the 2013 Sundance Film Festival less than three weeks away and Hollywood’s “awards season” looming on the horizon, expect to see a flurry of stories in the months ahead about independent filmmakers fueled by big dreams.

In reporting about Steven C. Barber — the director of the documentary “Until They Are Home,” a film that landed on the official short lists of potential Oscar nominees in two separate awards categories — the New York Times published just such an article in Monday’s newspaper.

“(Barber) was looking at a used Lexus to replace his 2001 Chevy when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its lists of Oscar-eligible scores and songs this month,” Michael Cieply wrote for the Times. “The music from his documentary, ‘Until They Are Home,’ made both.

“So who needs a Lexus? Mr. Barber, who operates from a rent-controlled apartment (in Southern California), bought a full-page ‘for your consideration’ ad in (entertainment industry trade publication) Variety instead. The ad … cost him a little less than ($13,500).”

The Los Angeles Times reviewed “Until They Are Home” in August: “With soaring music, archival footage and Kelsey Grammer's serious baritone narration, the movie champions the dedicated efforts of JPAC — the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command — to locate the remains of America's war dead left behind in foreign lands.”

Barber is perhaps best known for his 2009 documentary “Unbeaten” that follows the journey of paraplegic cyclists as they prepare for the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing. Earlier this year, Time magazine placed “Unbeaten” on its list of “Top 10 Summer Olympics Films.”

“Until They Are Home” is not part of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, but Barber will be screening his documentary at the Montage Deer Valley resort in Park City on Jan. 22.

Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at jaskar@desnews.com or 801-236-6051.

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