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'Harvest' Shows What Really Happened

February 27, 1993

For the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Documentary Committee to eliminate "Black Harvest" on its merits is one thing. To eliminate it because "rumor has it" that "the committee couldn't believe that some of its footage hadn't been staged" has left us utterly aghast ("The Declaration of Independents," Feb. 18).

To make "Black Harvest" we spent 12 months--all of 1990--in the field. To make its predecessor "Joe Leahy's Neighbours," we spent 18 months in the same place, among the same people, just the two of us operating camera and sound. Each time we built a grass hut among our subjects and settled in. The momentous events in 1990 were as amazing to us as they apparently were to the committee. When tribal war broke out our hut was burnt down, our lives threatened, scores killed (including our closest friend and informant).

At no stage did we ever interfere with events, stage anything or get people to repeat action for later editing purposes. For the nominating committee of so important and prestigious an award to dismiss our film on the assumption that it is so extraordinary that it cannot be true is unpardonable.

BOB CONNOLLY and

ROBIN ANDERSON

Producers, Directors, Cinematographer, Sound Recordist, Editors

"Black Harvest"

Arundel Productions PTY. LTD.

Sydney, Australia

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