Oscars Documentary Shorts Shortlist: 'Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You're a Girl),' 'St. Louis Superman,' 'Life Overtakes Me' in the Mix
Netflix accounts for four of 10 titles on shortlist
The Oscar race for Best Documentary Short is down to 10 contenders, with Netflix films accounting for 40-percent of the total.
The streamer scored with After Maria, Fire in Paradise, Ghosts of Sugar Land and Life Overtakes Me, while National Geographic, which is new to the shorts arena, climbed in with The Nightcrawlers.
After Maria, directed by Nadia Hallgren, follows Puerto Rican families displaced from their island home after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.
"They're still struggling in the ways that many people do when they don't have active employment," Hallgren noted at a Netflix Real to Reel event in October. "There are deep trauma issues from the storm and the way that they were treated while they were in Puerto Rico, having no access to food, having no access to water and then coming to the United States and losing their dignity in a lot of ways, the way that the government handled them."
In the film we were able to put people right in the middle on that day and what happened to 40,000 people.
Fire in Paradise examines another kind of natural disaster--the wildfires in California last year that destroyed the town of Paradise. Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper directed the short; they headed to Paradise a couple of weeks after the fire incinerated the area.
"What we found was a lot of these people hadn't really told their story yet. They had just gone through it," Cooper says. "This was just an amazing testament to the documentary process where it becomes this therapeutic process and can be very positive and revelatory. It's a chance for a lot of people for the first time to just verbalize what they'd gone through. And just in doing that you could see this weight kind of lift off shoulders."
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.