Black Sheep 6.5/10 I found this to be the most well made out of all of these documentary shorts. Cutting back and forth between our main talking head for the documentary portion and then to dramatic reenactments worked really well and the editing was cleverly done with some of the overlapping dialogue. The big problem is that our main character is actually a pretty terrible person. Despite having daddy issues and being a victim of racism, he commits assault on innocent people, vandalizes property, befriends racists and more. Having an unlikeable protagonist paired with an abrupt ending that doesn’t give us information as to what turned his life around left me feeling disappointed in the end, despite some technical film making achievements. #DoTheWhiteThing

End Game 6/10 This short documentary had a lot of potential to be extremely emotionally powerful since its subject matter deals with end of life care. It focuses on a specific medical center in San Francisco and its terminally ill patients. Despite having some fascinating moments (a disabled doctor’s story is particularly engaging), this short documentary loses focus and is all over the map. We spend most of our time with a woman named Mitra and her family but also we get short segments with other patients. Focusing solely on Mitra and her family would have helped but getting a random two minutes with other patients just distracts from the story since we don’t have time to get to know these other patients. Trimming the fat to cut the run time and focus the story would have benefited this documentary a great deal. #HospiceIsUs

A Night at the Garden 1.5/10 How this got nominated for this Academy Award and got put in the same category as all these other short documentaries is beyond me. This is just seven minutes of archival footage of NYC in 1939. No commentary, talking heads, reenactments, story/plot, characters, etc. Anyone could take archival footage and then throw a couple of sentences on the screen at the end so this requires no film making talent. It is so brief and offers nothing which makes it feel extremely out of place with the other nominees. At least it is over quickly but the fact that this was even nominated shows how out of touch the Academy can be. #NinteenThirtyNeinNeinNein

Lifeboat 4/10 Although this offers a variety of interesting perspectives on its subject matter, where “Lifeboat” struggles is that it goes on a little too long, the editing is poorly done because they make you think it is going to end every five minutes but then it keeps going (think “The Return of the King” but times ten) and just two years ago we had a very similar documentary short in this very category called “4.1 Miles” so when it comes to the plot, this is nothing we haven’t seen before and recently at that. #FloatOrDie

Period. End of Sentence. 7/10 Overall this is a pretty weak batch of nominees but this short documentary slightly takes the edge by probably being the best of them. Although it won’t blow you away, this short has the most coherent story and follows a unique plot thread while bringing awareness to some socially relevant issues in India (and assumedly other parts of the world). This short documentary maintains its focus, doesn’t go on too long and is rather eye opening. It even has some funny moments near the beginning when they ask random men if they know when a period/menstruation is. They saved the best for last. #BachelorettePads

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