Once again, ShortsHD The Short Movie Channel (a.k.a. ShortsTV) has theatrically released this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films. These special programs are usually the only way for most movie fans to see these otherwise illusive short film nominees that can make our break your office Oscar pool. In the final of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Documentary Short Subject.
Click here for Part 1, the Animated Short Film nominees, and Part 2, the Live Action Short Film nominees.
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry (USA, 40 minutes).
A behind-the-phones look at the Veterans Crisis Line, the service that fields over 22,000 calls a month from suicidal military personnel. On the surface, it looks like any other cubicled call center, but it's the harrowing cries for help (heard only from the operator's point of view) that make this a powerful indictment of the chronic horrors brought on by serving one's country in the name of war.
Watch trailer. Currently available to watch on HBO GO and HBO On Demand.
MD Rating: B+
Joanna, Aneta Kopacz (Poland, 40 minutes).
Wife and mother Joanna, stricken with terminal cancer, writes a blog in which she tries to leave a record of what she hopes to teach her young son. Artful to a fault, the whole blog aspect is hardly explored, leaving a long, frankly boring look into the everyday life of (to put it bluntly) a subject we have seen countless times before. It doesn't help that the son is precocious beyond words.
MD Rating: C-
Our Curse (Nasza klatwa), Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki (Poland, 28 minutes).
New parents face daunting emotional and physical challenges when their son is diagnosed with a life-threatening congenital breathing disorder known colloquially as "Ondine's curse". Framed as a video memoir (director Sliwinski is the father of precious little Leo), this is a unflinching, intimate look at two parents' journey through fear, doubt and guilt to acceptance, normalcy and the unbroken bonds of love. Heartbreaking, inspiring and unforgettable.
Watch trailer. Watch in full at the New York Times website.
MD Rating: A
The Reaper (La Parka), Gabriel Serra (Mexico, 29 minutes).
Meet Efrain, a 25-year employee of a Mexican slaughterhouse known by his co-workers as "La Parka" ("The Reaper"), whose job it is to deal the final blow to countless heads of cattle on a daily basis. Filled with visually stunning imagery of decay and gore, this one is certainly not for the squeamish, yet if you can stomach it you will discover a fascinating exploration into institutionalized death.
MD Rating: A-
White Earth, Christian Jensen (USA, 20 minutes).
Welcome to White Earth, North Dakota, where thousands have come to brave cruel winters seeking work in the oil fields. As seen through the eyes of three children and an immigrant mother, struggling to survive in broken down trailers while their fathers and husband are mostly absent, this one strives to be a modern day Grapes of Wrath but its overall lack of focus makes it just Michael Moore Lite.
Watch trailer. Currently available to watch on Vimeo.
MD Rating: C
Reviews by Kirby Holt, creator and editor of Movie Dearest, The QuOD: The Queer Online Database and the Out Movie Guide.