The law of averages tells us there must be years in which cheerful, silly efforts are nominated in the best documentary short film category. This is not one of those years. Released to theaters in anticipation of the February 22 Academy Awards ceremony, these five shorts—screening in two programs—serve up serious issues and personal essays. Whatever their subject matter, the category is critical for getting attention focused on short films that would otherwise struggle to find a venue for exhibition.
The nominees are longish, as short films go, with the briefest clocking in at 20 minutes. That’s White Earth, one of two U.S. films in the group.