"I really feel that, if I can help three people win Oscars or get Oscar nominations, then I can keep doing it, because it's not that hard."

Academy Award-winning producer Mitchell Block spoke candidly about the film industry last Thursday following a screening of his 2010 documentary, "Poster Girl." The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject), which Block won in 2001 for "Big Mama," a short about an 89-year-old woman trying to retain custody of her grandson.

Introducing "Poster Girl," Block noted it actually began as a documentary about several veterans. The final cut follows a PTSD-afflicted Iraq War veteran named Robynn Murray who served as a "poster girl" for the army.

Of the film's director, Sara Nesson, Block said she "had this relationship with Robynn where Robynn would be real and Sara would just film it, and that was what was so extraordinary."

Block shared the opening sequence from the 2008 hit documentary miniseries, "Carrier," which he helped produce.

He then showed two "sizzle reels"—montages used to pitch films to potential buyers.

The first reel promoted a documentary about a special need-blind school in Los Angeles with a 70 percent college acceptance rate. Block was candid about the documentary's chances of getting picked up, saying that it would not sell in that area of California because the children were "not white kids."

The second sizzle reel featuring Indian marriage brokers was lively and upbeat.

"Your job—my job—is to pay attention to things and make stories that the media isn't making," Block said.

Sophomore Isabelle Franks said, "I ended up taking a lot of notes—it was clear that Mr. Block had a firm understanding of the film industry."

Tricia Welsch, chair of the film studies department, and Sam Hanson '11 collaborated to bring Block to campus.