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Former tech exec's film gets Oscar nomination

Charles Ferguson, who directed the Iraq war documentary No End in Sight, is now hooked on filmmaking.

No End in Sight, an Iraq war documentary by tech exec-turned-filmmaker Charles Ferguson, was nominated last week for an Academy Award.

The film, an analysis of how the U.S. occupation in Iraq evolved into a violent quagmire, was Ferguson's first film project, but apparently not his last.

"The experience of making this film was so amazing, so extraordinary, that it completely converted me to filmmaking," Ferguson said in response to e-mailed questions. "I certainly hope that I can make more films, both documentaries and features, if the world lets me...I have no idea yet whether anyone in the industry will be willing to support my film ideas, but I am an optimistic person and I will certainly try very hard."

Ferguson's tech industry career ended a decade ago with the sale of his company, Vermeer Technologies--maker of a visual Web site development tool called FrontPage--to Microsoft for a whopping $133 million.

He went on to become a self-described "policy wonk" and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations. But he told last year, on the eve of his film's theatrical release that, that he still reflects on lessons learned during those formative years running a software company--and even applied such lessons to filmmaking project.

Ferguson said he was "quite overwhelmed" by news of his film's nomination. "Of course I had hoped we would be nominated, but I had not dared to believe that we would."

The film, distributed by Magnolia, collected $1.4 million theatrically, according to Reuters. It was available on parent company 2929 Entertainment's HDNet and was released on DVD in October, Reuters said. His film initially screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2007.

Ferguson also just released a related book, No End in Sight: Iraq's Descent into Chaos, which draws on the 200 hours of interviews Ferguson conducted for the film, as well ones he has done since.

Other films nominated for an Oscar in the Academy's documentary feature category include: Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience, Sicko, Taxi to the Dark Side, and War/Dance.