CUNY At The Oscars

Professor Consulted on Winning Dolphins Documentary

The City University of New York was well represented at the Oscars this year.

"China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province," co-produced by two professors, was nominated for best documentary short.

And the crew of the winning documentary feature, "The Cove," received technical assistance from a Hunter College cognitive psychology professor.

Ming Xia, political science professor at The College of Staten Island, and Peter Kwong, professor of Asian American studies, urban affairs and planning at Hunter College, collaborated on the 38-minute HBO documentary with producers/directors Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill. The film was about the parents of children who perished in the 2008 earthquake that killed about 87,000 people in China. Xia, a native of Sichuan Province who speaks the local dialect, served as a guide and translator.

"I was excited to see the film getting nominated for an Oscar because of the two talented directors and because the film highlights the parents of the children who died in the quake," says Xia who attended the March 7 Oscars and two pre-Oscar parties hosted by HBO and the International Documentary Association.

"I hope it will help make the parents' grievances known and help people pay attention," says Xia. "The Chinese government doesn't care about the parents, but they do care about their public image in the global community."

The crew of "The Cove," which is about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, worked with Diana Reiss, professor of cognitive psychology at Hunter College and The Graduate Center.In the early stages of research for the film, Reiss taught the film crew about the behavior and intelligence of dolphins.

"The Cove is going to be released in Japan in the near future," says Reiss. "With that, we hope that when the Japanese people learn what's going on that they'll put more pressure on the government to stop."