2018 Oscar Nominated Documentary Short Films

The documentary short films in this portion are considered some of the finest in documentary shorts from all over the world for 2017. The documentary shorts program will be shown on Saturday, March 3. The films will be shown in two blocks. The first block starts at 8:00pm.

(Click the titles to view the trailers)

BLOCK 1  (102 mins)

Traffic Stop – Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, USA, 30 mins. This HBO Documentary film tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American schoolteacher from Austin, TX who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalates into a harrowing arrest. As captured on several squad-car dashcams, King is seen pulled from her car by the arresting officer, who repeatedly throws her to the ground before handcuffing her. En route to jail in a squad car she engages in a revealing conversation with another officer about race and law enforcement in America. The documentary juxtaposes raw footage of the incident with scenes from King’s everyday routines, offering a vivid portrait of a woman whose life is turned upside down by a traumatic arrest.

Edith + Eddie – Laura Checkoway and Thomas Lee Wright, USA, 29 mins.  Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America's oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 – Frank Stiefel, USA, 40 mins.  A portrait of a brilliant 56 year old artist who is represented by one of Los Angeles’ top galleries. Her body of raw, emotional work reveals a lifetime of depression and mental disorder. Mindy Alper has suffered through electro shock therapy, multiple commitments to mental institutions and a 10-year period without speech. Her only consistent means of communicating has been to channel her hyper self-awareness into drawings and sculpture of powerful psychological clarity that eloquently express her emotional state. Through an examination of her work, interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight and a half foot ‘papier-mache’ bust of her beloved psychiatrist, we learn how she has emerged from a life of darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust and support.

BLOCK 2 (82 mins)

Heroin(e) – Elaine McMillion Sheldon and Kerrin Sheldon, USA, 39 mins. Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugs -- one of hope. Sheldon highlights three women working to change the town’s narrative and break the devastating cycle of drug abuse one person at a time. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs

Knife Skills – Thomas Lennon, USA, 40 mins.  What does it take to build a world-class French restaurant? What if the staff is almost entirely men and women just out of prison? What if most have never cooked or served before, and have barely two months to learn their trade? KNIFE SKILLS follows the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. In this improbable setting, with its mouthwatering dishes and its arcane French vocabulary, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release. We come to know three trainees intimately, as well as the restaurant’s founder, who is also dogged by his past. They all have something to prove, and all struggle to launch new lives — an endeavor as pressured and perilous as the ambitious restaurant launch of which they are a part.