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Film by UC Santa Cruz art professor nominated for Academy Award

Last Day of Freedom

Credit: Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman

"Last Day of Freedom" — an animated short by UC Santa Cruz associate professor of art Dee Hibbert-Jones and San Francisco artist Nomi Talisman — has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best documentary short.

The nominations for the 88th Academy Awards were announced Thursday (Jan. 14) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The short blends animation with poignant testimony to create a haunting story of a man who discovers his brother has committed a serious crime.

UC Santa Cruz Associate Professor of Art Dee Hibbert-Jones

The 32-minute film is a portrait of a man at the crossroads of some of the most pressing social topics of the day — including veterans’ care, mental health access, and criminal justice.

“We want to acknowledge that our film touches on issues that became prominent and crucial in this past year — racism, the death penalty and the continuing attack on people at the most vulnerable places in our society,” said Hibbert-Jones and Talisman.

“We hope the recognition we have received reflects a growing support to change how we act, think, treat, and stand by those affected.”

"Last Day Of Freedom" received multiple awards over the past year, including the International Documentary Association’s Best Short Film of 2015; Best Short Film at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; and the Filmmaker Award from the Center for Documentary Studies.

Other nominees

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Steve Mirrione (theater arts–film, '91) also picked up a 2016 Oscar nomination in the category of film editing for "The Revenant," which earned 12 nominations—including best picture and acting nominations for both Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead acting category and Tom Hardy for supporting actor.

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Stephen Mirrione, shown in 2001 with the film editing Oscar he won for his work on Steven Soderbergh's thriller Traffic.

Mirrione previously took home the 2001 Academy Award in film editing for his work on the Stephen Soderbergh film "Traffic." He also won the American Cinema Editors "Eddie" Award in 2006 for his editing of "Babel," and in 2014 for "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)," for which he also was nominated for an Academy Award.

His film credits additionally include "The Hunger Games," "21 Grams," George Clooney’s "Good Night, and Good Luck," and "Ocean’s Eleven."

The 88th annual Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, Feb. 28, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, and will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.