2015 Oscars Challenge: Best Documentary Shorts

CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1 || The first short shown in the series, the HBO produced “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” also set the bar for the shorts to follow. Building suspense with each telephone conversation, the employees at this crisis hotline paint terrifying and sometimes heartbreaking situations, with the veterans on the other line, suffering from PTSD. This being the only crisis hotline of its kind in the States, the statistics on display are staggering. Easily the frontrunner to take the entire category, this will be the Documentary Short to beat.
Joanna_DocShort JOANNA || Specifics are unknown for most of the short, “Joanna,” which comes out of Poland. The audience is privy to the private conversations of a mother and her extremely intelligent, extremely quirky young boy, as they lay out in the grass enjoying nature, go over homework and the memorizing of a poem, and discuss Joanna’s on-going blog. What you come to find is that Joanna has a terminal illness and will be leaving her son and husband behind. This short is meant to capture some of her last times with her son, most likely as a time capsule for her son to have when she’s gone. If anything can unseat “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,” it will be this one.
WhiteEarth_DocShort WHITE EARTH || Set in the oil boom area of North Dakota, “White Earth” follows the families of the men and women that uprooted their lives to look for greener pastures in the oil fields. Mostly shining a light on the kids that are effected by this, some going to school, some left to wander around at home all day while their parents are at work, some sleeping on top of one another in a cramped trailer house, this documentary short paints a bleak picture of the working class in the Midwest and ultimately begs the question, whether its worth it.
TheReaper_DocShort LA PARKA (THE REAPER) || Continuing the bleak look at the working class, “La Parka” steps into Mexico and mirrors the same questions poised in “White Earth”; are some jobs actually worth the rewards? This time, the voice of the short is a grown family man with what looks to be close to a dozen children. His day job is at a slaughterhouse and his position is the slaughter, rallying the bulls into closed quarters and killing them. Graphic and unforgettable, if you know anyone teetering on giving up red meat, have them watch this and it will solidify their decision.
OurCurse_DocShort OUR CURSE || Yet another bleak documentary short, “Our Curse” also comes from Poland. But instead of a mother dying, this time it’s a baby that is born with an incurable disease. The disease is a life-threatening congenital breathing disorder known as Ondine’s curse, in which every time the baby falls asleep, it quits breathing, so, through a stoma in the throat, it must be hooked up to a respirator every single time. The short focuses on the parents before and during bringing the child home, and their struggles of wrapping their heads around a child that will always need to be taken care of. Offering brutal honesty as far as the parents’ thought processes and some truly disturbing imagery (to which I had to look away) of the respirator being inserted into the throat, this is also a very unforgettable addition to the shorts.

 

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