A documentary on the demonstrations in Hong Kong that was directed by Norwegian journalist Anders Hammer is among those nominated for an Oscar at this year’s Academy Awards. Hammer spent several months on the front lines of Hong Kong residents’ desperate attempts to preserve their democracy, amidst brutal repression ordered from Beijing.
Hammer’s “Do Not Split” is now among five Oscar candidates in the short documentary category. “Do Not Split” concentrates on how freedom of expression and freedom of the press is under severe threat in Hong Kong.
“I’m very glad to be nominated, even though it’s a serious film,” Hammer told state broadcaster NRK. His nomination comes just after British Foreign Minister Dominc Raab publicly accused the Chinese government of breaking the famous agreement it made regarding the handover of the former British colony in 1997. Hong Kong’s democracy and legal system was supposed to remain intact for at least 50 years, but instead China has resorted to violently clamping down on any challenges to its authority, most recently by making major changes in Hong Kong’s election system that favour if not ensure China-friendly candidates.
Hammer is known in Norway as a fearless journalist who’s worked extensively in Afghanistan. He won Norway’s Fritt Ord (Free Word) prize in 2011 and says he’s now glad the new documentary has contributed to the debate over how democracy is disappearing in Hong Kong. He hopes the Oscar nomination will put more attention on the situation in Hong Kong, which he believes has worsened from when he was there filming Chinese-ordered attacks on demonstrators.