Netflix’s First Oscar Winner Explains His Jump to National Geographic Documentary Films

Netflix’s Oscar season clout exploded in early 2019, when the streaming platform scored its first Best Picture nomination for “Roma,” but the company actually won its first Oscar two years earlier. When “The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel’s harrowing portrait of bomb relief activists in Syria, won Best Documentary Short Subject, it marked a turning point for the company. For the filmmaker, however, it was a different story.

“The win was immensely flattering, but I don’t know if it led to loads of offers,” Einsiedel said in a recent interview. Instead, the 39-year-old British filmmaker found that he gained far more currency when his 2015 feature “Virunga,” about the plight of Congolese park rangers fending off poachers, scored a Best Documentary nomination. “I went from a very unknown filmmaker to a little better known,” he said. “That was a big shift.”

A former snowboarder who found his niche in riveting social issue documentaries,
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