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Studio D's Bright History

By David SterrittStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / March 30, 1989



MONTREAL, CANADA

THE 15-year history of Studio D has been spiced with a number of international prizes, three Academy Awards among them. The studio earned its first Oscar with a live-action short called ``I'll Find a Way,'' directed by Beverly Shaffer in 1978. (An animated NFB short called ``Sandcastle'' picked up a second Oscar in the same ceremony, making 1978 a unique year for the board.) The studio considers Bonnie Klein's documentary ``Not a Love Story: A Film About Pornography'' to be one of its most successful and noteworthy productions, since it drew new attention to a subject that films had largely overlooked until that time. Still more controversial was ``If You Love This Planet,'' a documentary short directed by Terri Nash - which won Studio D its second Academy Award in 1983, even though an agency of the United States Government had labelled it propaganda for its outspoken airing of views by Dr. Helen Caldicott, the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, on the urgent need for nuclear disarmament.

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Cynthia Scott earned a third Oscar for the studio in 1984 with ``Flamenco at 5:15.'' Called a ``visual and emotional thriller'' by the NFB, it impressionistically records a dance class conducted by two celebrated Spanish teachers at the National Ballet School of Canada.

In keeping with its reputation for tackling difficult subjects, Studio D has generated much discussion again in recent months with Ms. Shaffer's latest documentary, ``To a Safer Place,'' a prize-winning study of incest that had its American premi`ere on the PBS-TV program ``Frontline.''