Vaulting Into the Oscars

On January 24, 2012, Danfung Dennis (Cornell ’04) heard the following sentence announced on live television:

“For outstanding achievement in documentary feature filmmaking, the Academy nominates Danfung Dennis’ Hell and Back Again.”  

For four years, the former Cornell pole vaulter went on an odyssey through the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan and made the first theatrical film actually documenting the experience of war by following a sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during his deployment and return home as he deals with post-traumatic stress. Through his film, Dennis aimed to shake people from their indifference to war and to bridge the disconnect between the realities on the ground and the public consciousness at home. “By bearing witness and shedding light on another’s pain and despair, we are trying to invoke our humanity and a response to act,” Dennis said to ‘Zaguto’, an online film-making equipment website.

The film has already been honored with the Bayeux-Calvados Award for War Correspondents, Best Documentary Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and nominated for Best Documentary at the Gotham Independent Film Festival.  Dennis has also been named one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film by Filmmakers Magazine.

Dennis will learn if his film will take home the Oscar on February 26th.  To see the film trailer or clips, check out the film’s website http://hellandbackagain.com/

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