It's an Honor Just to Be Nominated...

A scene from the Student Academy Award-nominated Left in Baghdad by HP grad Peter Jordan

Last week we got word that Highland Park grad Peter Jordan got nominated for a Student Academy Award, which, in the student film world, is about a big a deal as a real Oscar is in the real world. Jordan, a grad student at Stanford, was nominated for a 13-minute film called Left in Baghdad, which is the story of an American soldier who comes home from Iraq minus his left arm. It has been described as “alternately tragic and comic.”

On Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences named the three finalists for the award -- and Jordan was left out. He’s sort of bummed, but he’s got another year at Stanford to win the award, and besides, considering what he’s seen over the last couple of years, awards aren’t the biggest of deals.

After graduating from Duke in 2001, Jordan went to Kenya for about a year on a grant. Over the next six years he spent more time abroad -- mostly in Africa -- than he did in the United States. During that time, he produced 10 documentaries, ranging in length from four minutes to 33 minutes. He made films about the orphans of AIDS victims in Zimbabwe, rare birds in Brazil and children fleeing genocide in Darfur. After all he has seen, Jordan says it’s sometimes hard to come home and adjust to life in the United States.

As for the future, Jordan says he hopes to make longer films that could end up on public television. His goal is to educate the world about the things he’s seen, and perhaps affect a little change.

“The more you spend time seeing these things, the more you realize how overwhelming the weight and scale of these problems are,” he says.

In other local filmmaking news, Brent McCorkle survived the first round of Fox's new reality show On the Lot; guess he impressed Princess Leia, which is indeed impressive. You can see McCorkle's entry, Crashland, here. And we'll go ahead and say it: The thing looks alternately tragic and comic. Then, doesn't everything? --Jesse Hyde

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