Where to Watch This Year’s Oscar Shortlisted Documentary Shorts

Where to Watch This Year’s Oscar Shortlisted Documentary Shorts


Where to Watch This Year’s Oscar Shortlisted Documentary Shorts

We love short docs – and have especially fond memories of winning the Oscar for Best Documentary Short ourselves for our 2013 film Inocente. So we always look forward to the announcement of the Oscar’s shortlist – and to watching the films.

A whopping 96 films qualified in the short documentary category for this round. Members of the documentary branches whittled it down to the shortlist – 10 films vying for the final nominations for Best Documentary Short Subject in the 92nd annual Academy Awards.  The nominations will be announced on Monday January, 13th ahead of the February 9th awards ceremony.

Shorts still don’t get the same publicity and exposure as feature docs do – so it’s a great way to learn about powerful documentaries to add to our watch lists. And the good news is – 9/10 of them are available to stream right now – so you can get a leg up on your friends for the Oscar ballot.

After Maria

Directed and shot by Nadia Hallgren
Producer Lauren Cioffi
Executive produced by Roger Ross Williams (whose own film The Apollo is one of the shortlisted doc features this year) and Ariane Wu
What it’s about: Displaced by Hurricane Maria, three Puerto Rican women navigate their families’ uncertain futures as their federal housing aid in New York expires.
Length: 37 minutes

Stream it now on Netflix.

Fire in Paradise

Directed by Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper
Produced by Gary Kout
Executive produced by Canepari, Cooper, and Ariane Wu
What it’s about: Survivors recall the catastrophic 2018 Camp Fire, which razed the town of Paradise and became California’s deadliest wildfire.
Length: 40 minutes

Stream it now on Netflix.

Ghosts of Sugar Land

Directed by Bassam Tariq (These Birds Walk)
Produced by Bassam Tariq and Farihah Zaman
Executive produced by Charlotte Cook and Laura Poitras (Oscar-winning director of Citizenfour)
What it’s about: A group of suburban Muslims attempt to reconcile the disappearance of a close friend and must learn to live with the consequences of his actions.
Length: 21 minutes
Oscar-Qualifying Festival Wins: Sundance and Hamptons

Stream it now on Netflix.

In the Absence

Directed by Seung-jun Yi (Planet of Snail)
Produced by: Gary Byung-Seok Kam and Seung-jun Yi
Executive produced by Charlotte CookLaura Poitras (Oscar-winning director of Citizenfour), and Oh Hyun-Ju
What it’s about: When the passenger ferry MV Sewol sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over three hundred people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren. Years later, the victims’ families and survivors are still demanding justice from national authorities.
Length: 28 minutes

Watch it via Field of Vision

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

Directed by Carol Dysinger
Produced by Elena Andreicheva
Executive produced by Colleen Conway GroganLiz GateleyMarissa GrassoChristine KecherMolly Thompson, and Orlando von Einsiedel (Oscar-winning director of The White Helmets and nominee Virunga)
What it’s about: In the war-torn city of Kabul, a class of young girls from disadvantaged neighborhoods learns to read, write–and skateboard–in director Carol Dysinger’s love letter to a place she has filmed in for the last fifteen years.
Length: 40 minutes
Oscar-Qualifying Festival Wins: Tribeca

Stream it now via A&E Networks.

Life Overtakes Me

Directed by Kristine Samuelson (Oscar nominee for the short Arthur and Lillie) and John Haptas
Produced by Haptas and Samuelson
Executive produced by Bonni CohenLisa Kleiner-Chanoff, and Ariane Wu
What it’s about: In the grip of trauma, hundreds of refugee children in Sweden withdraw from life’s uncertainties into a coma-like illness called Resignation Syndrome.
Length: 40 minutes

Stream it now on Netflix.

The Nightcrawlers

Directed by Alexandra A. Mora
Produced by Abigail Anketell-JonesDoireann Maddock, and Joanna Natasegara (Oscar-winning producer of The White Helmets and nominee Virunga)
Executive produced by Carolyn BernsteinRyan HarringtonRebecca LichtenfeldLisa Marie Russo, and Sandra Whipman
What it’s about: A small group of determined photojournalists is on a mission to expose the true cost of the deadly war on drugs waged by Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Length: 40 minutes

Watch it via National Geographic

St. Louis Superman

Directed by Sami Khan and Smriti Mundhra
Produced by Khan and Mundhra
Executive produced by Fiona Lawson-Baker and Sheila Nevins
What it’s about: Bruce Franks Jr., an activist and now state representative from St. Louis, Missouri, as he overcomes political obstacles and personal trauma.
Length: 28 minutes
Oscar-Qualifying Festival Wins: Big Sky

Coming soon via MTV Documentary Films.

Stay Close

Directed by Luther Clement and Shuhan Fan
Produced by Nevo Shinaar
What it’s about: The underdog story of Keeth Smart, an African American fencer from Brooklyn who overcomes a gauntlet of hardships on his road to the Olympics.
Length: 19 minutes

Stream now via NYT’s Op-Docs or via PBS’s POV.

Walk Run Cha-Cha

Directed by Laura Nix (The Yes Men are Revolting)
Produced by Colette Sandstedt
Executive produced by Davis Guggenheim (Oscar-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth), Nicole Stott, and John Turner, and Kathleen Lingo
What it’s about: Two Vietnamese Americans rediscovering themselves on the dance floor.
Length: 20 minutes

Stream now via NYT’s Op-Docs.

And don’t forget to check out the DOCUMENTARY FEATURE shortlisted films:

American Factory
The Apollo
Apollo 11
The Biggest Little Farm
The Cave
The Edge of Democracy
For Sama
The Great Hack
Knock Down the House
Midnight Family
One Child Nation