Tuesday, October 21, 2014

87th Academy Awards Documentary Short Subject Shortlist

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that the field of Documentary Short Subject contenders for the 87th Academy Awards has been narrowed to eight (8) films, of which three to five will earn a nomination. Voters from the Academy’s Documentary Branch viewed this year’s 58 eligible entries and selected the following eight.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, Ellen Goosenberg Kent, USA, 47 min
Joanna, Aneta Kopacz, Poland, 45 min
Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, Jeff Dupre, USA, France and China, 38 min
The Lion's Mouth Opens, Lucy Walker, USA, 15 min
Nasza klątwa (Our Curse), Tomasz Śliwiński, Poland, 28 min
One Child, Zijian Mu, USA and China, 40 min
La Parka (The Reaper), Gabriel Serra Argüello, Mexico, 29 min
White Earth, Christian Jensen, USA, 20 min

The 87th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The awards show will be held on Sunday, February 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The TV show also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

Check synopsis, trailers, excerpts, interviews or other video material for the eight doc short films shortlisted by the Academy.

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
They served their country overseas. Now, many military veterans must turn to the unique services of the Veterans' Crisis Line to help with their own personal and professional traumas at home. This documentary profiles several of the VCL counselors who work the phones of this 24-hour service, providing support, guidance, and hope to active and retired servicemen dealing with emotional, physical and financial troubles

In the multitude of blogs on the Internet, one stands out and becomes the common topic of many conversations. The reason why so many people follow Joanna’s blog is because it teaches them how to be thoughtful and joyful. She describes her daily life with overwhelming honesty and accuracy. Her goals are as simple as a family trip to the lakes, her planning is as short-term as to witness her little son riding a bike for the first time. Diagnosed with untreatable illness, Joanna promises her son that she will do her best to live for as long as possible. She writes down everything she might want him to learn from her when he grows up.
With great visual poetry, the documentary portrays the simple and meaningful moments in the life of the family. The very few words spoken and the ones never uttered in the film make the message ultimately powerful and extremely subtle at the same time. It is a story of close relationships, tenderness, love and thoughtfulness.

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace
Famous for his vibrant reinterpretations of classical portraits featuring African-American men, New York-based painter Kehinde Wiley has turned the practice of portraiture on its head and in the process has taken the art world by storm. Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace follows the artist as he steps out of his comfort zone to create a series of paintings of women for the first time. Kehinde casts his models on the streets of New York and then enlists Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy to create couture gowns for each woman. The film traces the artist's process from concept to canvas as he reveals to us another side of black femininity.

The Lion's Mouth Opens
A courageous young woman takes the boldest step imaginable to confront her risk of having inherited the fatal, incurable Huntington's Disease.

Interview with Lucy Walker and Marianna Palka at Sundance

Nasza klątwa (Our Curse)
According to legend, the water nymph Ondine placed a curse on her unfaithful lover that prevented him from sleeping. For him, sleep meant certain death. The so-called Ondine curse (congenital central hypoventilation syndrome) is a very rare disease in which the patient is at risk of sleep apnoea. The infant son of director Tomasz Śliwiński suffers from this incurable disease and therefore must sleep every night attached to a lung ventilator. Śliwiński records the hardships he and his wife endure when they first bring little Leo home from the hospital, the first sleepless nights, but also the moments of optimism and joy Leo brings.

One Child
The 2008 Sichuan earthquake, China’s deadliest disaster in three decades, killed 90,000 people, including more than 5,000 children. Losing a child is an immeasurable tragedy for parents anywhere, but in China the effect is compounded by the one-child policy. This means that if you lose your child, you’re often losing your one and only child – and with it the totality of your life’s emotional investment.
In response to the earthquake, China’s government made an exception for those who lost their only child to conceive another. That generation of newborns became known in China as “reborn” children. But for many parents, particularly those who lost teenage children, their advancing age proved to be a significant barrier.
This film features three families from Beichuan, the city that suffered the most in the earthquake. And the city did not fare better than its inhabitants. It was torn and abandoned. The government deployed its construction machine toward building an entirely new city. Old Beichuan was dead. And a new Beichuan erected – in a different place. In just three years, residents of the old city were relocated, including the family of Yang, Jiang and Fu, and Gu, who all lost their only child in the earthquake. One Child follows the journey of these three families as they try to restore a sense of normalcy and struggle to move past the loss of their children.

La Parka (The Reaper)
Through Efrain, also known as the Reaper, we will discover the deep connections between his work and his personal life; his relationship with death, his guilts and losses. The common thread is the meat of dead bulls and the industrial processes of a slaughterhouse. We get to know Efrain through this meat.

White Earth
A winter portrait of North Dakota's oil boom as soon through unexpected eyes. Set against the backdrop of a cruel North Dakota winter, “White Earth” is a tale of an oil boom that has drawn thousands to America’s Northern Plains in search of work. Told from the perspective of three children and an immigrant mother whose lives are touched by the oil boom, each story intertwines with the others – exploring themes of innocence, home, and the American Dream.

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