Sting and J. Ralph Q&A: ‘The Empty Chair’ songwriters

“For me it’s the most important nomination I’ve received because of the nature of the film. What’s happening in the world — the truth itself is under attack,” says Sting in our recent webcam chat about his Oscar nomination for co-writing the song “The Empty Chair” for the documentary “Jim: The James Foley Story.” Watch our complete interview above.

This is the fourth Oscar nomination for Sting and the third for the song’s co-writer J. Ralph, who adds that the film is “vital to culture right now. James gave his life to ensure that the truth about the Syrian refugees and civilian casualties made it to the entire world … James always put himself last, his own safety, his own comfort, his own security.” The film tells the story of James Foley, a photojournalist who risked his life documenting the conflicts in Libya and Syria before being kidnapped by ISIS and 2012 and executed in 2014 — he was the first American citizen killed by the terrorist organization.

Now with Donald Trump in the White House, freedom of the press and the humanitarian crisis in Syria are both at the center of public debate, and Sting thinks that “people in the administration should watch it. I find it very difficult for someone to watch it and not be moved by this very human story and the plight of these people, the suffering they’ve gone through.” And according to J. Ralph, with “journalism and truthful storytelling under attack all over the world it’s a very timely story and we were very grateful that the academy recognized it through the song.”

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UPLOADED Feb 8, 2017 7:18 pm