Baltimore filmmaker's latest documentary up for major award

“Motherland,” the latest documentary from Baltimore filmmaker Ramona S. Diaz, has been nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award.

The Spirits, awarded to smaller-budget films made and released outside the major-studio mainstream, are handed out the day before the Oscars. “Motherland,” which offers a fly-on-the-wall account of life at one of the world’s busiest maternity wards, the Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Diaz’s native Philippines, is one of five films nominated for Best Documentary.

Best Documentary Sprits are awarded to both a film’s director and producer. “Motherland” was directed by Diaz, co-produced by Diaz and Rey Cuerdo.

Other films up for the Best Documentary Spirit are "The Departure" (Lana Wilson), "Faces Places" (Agnés Varda Jr., Rosalie Varda), "Last Men in Aleppo" (Feras Fayyad, Kareem Abeed, Søeren Steen Jespersen, Stefan Kloos) and "Quest" (Jonathan Olshefski, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon).

The Spirits, which like to think of themselves as the Oscars’ feistier cousin, have become fairly reliable harbingers of Oscar success in recent years. In 2017, winners for both Best Feature (“Moonlight”) and Best Documentary (“O.J.: Made in America”) also walked away with Oscars the next day.

The Spirits will be handed out March 3 during an oceanside awards ceremony in Santa Monica, Cal.

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