Pittsfield native part of Oscar win; South Egremont resident revels in nomination


Berkshire filmmakers were well-documented, so to speak, at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

Jennifer Dougherty, a 1997 Taconic High School graduate, was the associate producer of "Inocente." It won the Oscar for best short documentary, and was nominated alongside four other shorts, including "Mondays at Racine," directed by South Egremont resident Cynthia Wade.

With two Berkshire filmmakers vying for the Oscar for best short-subject documentary, the awards became not just an accolade for Hollywood filmmakers at large, but also for local filmmakers.

"Two people from here that have a voice in film is not that surprising," said Diane Pearl man, the executive director of the Berkshire Film and Media Commission. "I think that people that grow up here, as well as come here to live, are actually socially conscious. Many have important messages, something we like to encourage in our children."

"Inocente" is a 40-minute documentary about a 15-year-old homeless artist in California named Inocente. It made history as the first Oscar-winning film that was funded by the website Kickstarter. "Inocente" re ceived more than $52,000 from the website, according to reports.

Dougherty now lives in New York City. An associate producer, as Dougherty was for "Inocente," works alongside the producer and executive producer in all aspects of the production process for a film. She was a crew member in last year's best picture nominee, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Her filmmaking endeavors began at Taconic High School, Dougherty's longtime friend Kristy Garside said from Rhode Island. When they were in college together at UMass-Amherst, Garside would help Dougherty in her film-class projects.

"Unwillingly," Garside joked.

"I don't know anything about movies," she said, "I just know she works really hard."

"Mondays at Racine," from Wade in South Egremont, told the story of a Long Island salon that, once a month, opens its doors only to women diagnosed with cancer. She won her first Oscar in 2008 for her documentary short "Freeheld."

Wade wore a gold hand-beaded gown by Randi Rahm on the big night Sunday. She was connected to him through a friend and local real estate agent, Annie Okerstrom-Lang, Wade said in an email.

Melissa Bigarel, the owner of Louisa Ellis in Great Barrington, was Wade's stylist for all the meetings, interviews, press junkets and parties that lead up to the Oscars, Wade said. Ali Benjamin, Wade's sister who lives in Williamstown, joined her.

"Lots of Berkshire folks offered their help and support in getting me ready for the big night," she said. "It was super fun -- I had a great time."

To reach Adam Poulisse:
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