2020 Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts

 In Documentary, Everything, Recommended


Like last year, the documentary shorts were my favorite. I love these short slices of life, all of which inspired a lot of feelings. I felt wrung out after watching these, but in a better way than the animated shorts.

Note that not all of these individual reviews will have three sentences.

Life Overtakes Me (39 minutes)

This movie starts with a fairy tale-like shot of snow coating branches of trees. It continues by explaining about an illness that is affecting refugee children in Sweden. This was fascinating and a bit horrifying.

The verdict: Recommended

Watch “Life Overtakes Me” on Netflix.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl) (39 minutes)

I’m always going to go for the stories about the girls. And girls in cultures where girls don’t matter are a big win for me. And movies about skateboarding also are a thing I love.

The verdict: Recommended

Watch “Learning to Skateboard” on A&E.

In the Absence (29 minutes)

In 2014, the Korean ferry Sewol sank and 300 people (many of them children) drowned. This film follows the disaster from the moment the Coast Guard arrives on scene through years of protest and trials. It was painful and horrible and I highly recommend you watch just to see how many everyday people were affected and to hear the stories of those who tried to make a terrible situation better.

The verdict: Recommended.

Watch “In the Absence” on Vimeo.

Walk, Run, Cha-Cha (20 minutes)

After three heavy subjects, this story of a later-in-life couple who love ballroom dance was a crowd pleaser. Paul and Millie Cao met in Vietnam, and were separated when Paul came to the US as a refugee; Millie joined about five years later. In 20 minutes we get a sense of their life together, their friends and family, and their love for Cha Cha.

The verdict: Recommended

Watch “Walk, Run, Cha-Cha” on Vimeo.

St. Louis Superman (28 minutes)

Bruce Franks ran for a seat in the Missouri State Legislature after what happened in Ferguson and this film follows him as he goes about his duties. It’s a great depiction of the difficult realities of political office and shows off Franks’s talents speaking to people and inspiring them.

The verdict: Good

Watch a trailer for “St. Louis Superman” on YouTube.

Cost: $10.00
Where watched: Kiggens Theater

My ranking: (winner in bold)

  • Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)
  • In the Absence
  • Life Overtakes Me
  • Walk, Run, Cha Cha
  • St. Louis Superman
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