It’s barely October and the Academy is already at work narrowing down the total number of films that will be eligible for awards. The latest shortlist announcement comes in the Best Documentary Short category where the number of films has been narrowed to eight. As usual the genre of films in this category contains a wide variety including human interest, political, art-centered, and biographic documentaries.
When it comes to Oscar predictions, all of the short categories are notoriously hard to predict, but based on synopses alone I’m predicting “The Lady in Number 6,” which is about a 109-year old Holocaust survivor and pianist. Anything related to World War II seems to have an advantage in the short film category, so that’s my hunch.
I have found websites and descriptions courtesy of IMDb for each, so be sure to click and find out more details:
“CaveDigger” directed by Jeffrey Karoff
Ra Paulette digs cathedral-like, ‘eighth wonder of the world’ art caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico. Each creation takes years to complete, and each is a masterwork. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences. Fed up, Ra has chosen to forego all commissions to create his own Magnum Opus, a massive, secret and unauthorized 10-year project. [Website]
“Facing Fear” directed by Jason Cohen
The worlds of a former neo-Nazi and the gay victim of his senseless hate crime attack collide by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. They proceed to embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration…and friendship. [Website]
“Jujitsuing Reality” directed by Chetin Chabuk
A documentary illustrating how a screenwriter suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease communicates with the world. [Website]
“Karama Has No Walls” directed by Sara Ishaq
‘Karama has no walls’ is set amidst Yemen’s 2011 uprising. The film illustrates the nature of the Yemeni revolution in stark contrast to the gross violations of human rights that took place on Friday, March 18th 2011. Juma’at El-Karama (Friday of Dignity) marks a turning point in the Yemeni revolution as the tragic events that took place on this day -when pro-government snipers shot dead 53 protestors – shook the nation and propelled hundreds of thousands more to flock to the square in solidarity with their fellow citizens. Through the lenses of two cameramen and the accounts of two fathers, the film retells the story of the people behind the statistics and news reports, encapsulating the tragic events of the day as they unfolded. [Website]
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” directed by Malcolm Clarke
The Lady In Number 6 is one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of the year. 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor shares her story on how to achieve a long and happy life. She discussed the importance of music, laughter and how to have an optimistic outlook on life. [Website]
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” directed by Edgar Barens
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall is a moving cinema verite documentary that breaks through the walls of one of Americas oldest maximum security prisons to tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill prisoner and the hospice volunteers, they themselves prisoners, who care for him. The film draws from footage shot over a six-month period behind the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary and provides a fascinating and often poignant account of how the hospice experience can profoundly touch even the forsaken lives of the incarcerated. [Website]
“Recollections” directed by Nathanael Carton
Survivors of the tsunami in Japan have the bittersweet experience of getting back family photos found in the debris.
“SLOMO” directed by Joshua Izenberg
Depressed and frustrated with his life, Dr. John Kitchin abandons his career as a neurologist and moves to Pacific Beach. There, he undergoes a radical transformation into SLOMO, trading his lab coat for a pair of rollerblades and his IRA for a taste of divinity. [Website]
I assume that the five films that eventually get nominated will receive a limited theatrical release and potentially a digital release in February. Stay tuned for more updates about that.
Have you seen any of these shorts? Which of them sounds most intriguing to you?