Stanford lecturer nominated for Oscar in documentary short category

Silver might beget gold for documentary filmmaker and Stanford lecturer J. CHRISTIAN JENSEN, MFA ’13. In June 2014 he won a silver medal from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Student Academy Awards for his film White Earth, a winter portrait of North Dakota’s oil boom seen through unexpected eyes. Jensen is now up for the gold – an Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category – for the same film.

Jensen has already earned numerous awards on the festival circuit for White Earth, which was his Documentary Film Program thesis. The film has been recognized with awards for cinematography (Slamdance and Fargo), short film (Full Frame and Hot Springs) and documentary short (Heartland, Bogotá, Napa Valley, New Orleans, Anchorage and Doc Utah). This is Jensen’s first Academy Award nomination.

The storyline for White Earth on the IMDb website reads: “Thousands of desperate souls flock to America’s Northern Plains seeking work in the oil fields. White Earth is the tale of an oil boom seen through unexpected eyes. Three children and an immigrant mother brave a cruel winter and explore themes of innocence, home and the American Dream.”

Jensen began his career in nonfiction television – working with National Geographic, PBS FRONTLINE and regional PBS programs. Having lived in both Brazil and China, he is particularly interested in films about newly industrialized nations. His directing debut, Sou da Bahia (“I’m from Bahia”), about art and Afro-Brazilian identity, premiered in 2009 throughout the United States and Latin America. Jensen’s recent short films explore existential themes and the tensions between science, religion, modernization and traditional values. He currently teaches the creative expressions course FP106: Image and Sound.