10 Short Documentaries Named to 2016 Oscar Shortlist, Including 5 Now Streaming

white-helmets

The Academy of Arts and Sciences has unveiled the 2016 shortlist of 10 finalists in contention for the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. And half of them are available to stream online right now. The selections include a few involving the Syrian refugee crisis, a few student films and international works coming to us from Poland, Israel and Canada.

Five of these films, which were pared down from 61 qualifying titles, will be named Oscar nominees on January 24, 2017, and the winner announced at the Academy Awards ceremony on February 28, 2017. Here’s an introductory guide to each of them, including their trailers and/or links to stream them where available.

Brillo Box (3¢ Off)

HBO
40 min.
Directed, written and produced by Lisanne Skyler (No Loans Today)
Executive produced by HBO’s Sheila Nevins
Cinematography by Lisa Rinzier (Mea Maxima Culpa), Byron Shah (The Seventies) and Minos Papas (The 50 Year Argument)
Subject: An Andy Warhol Brillo Box sculpture as it goes to auction
Official website
Where to see it: HBO, next year

brillo-1600x900-c-default

Close Ties

Munk Studio — Polish Filmmakers Association
19 min.
Directed by Zofia Kowalewska
Subject: A married couple who gets back together eight years after the husband left the wife for another woman
Winner of the Silver Dragon at the 2016 Krakow Film Festival
Winner of audience awards at Okiem Młodych and Opolskie Lama.
Official website
Where to see it: n/a
Trailer:

Extremis

f/8 Filmworks in association with Motto Pictures and Netflix
24 min.
Directed and shot by Dan Krauss (The Kill Team)
Executive produced by Deborah Hoffmann (Oscar nominee for Complaints of a Dutiful Daughter and Long Night’s Journey Into Day), Bonni Cohen (The Rape of Europa), Julie Goldman (Best of Enemies) and Lisa Kleiner-Chanoff (Art and Craft)
Edited by Jeff Seymann Gilbert (The Overnighters)
Subject: Patients, families and doctors facing end-of-life decisions in a hospital ICU
Winner of the Best Short Documentary award at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival
Winner of the Best Bay Area Documentary Short award at the 2016 San Francisco International Film Festival
Official Facebook Page
How to watch it: streaming on Netflix
Trailer:

4.1 Miles

New York Times Op-Docs and University of California, Berkeley
21 min.
Directed, produced, shot and edited by Daphne Matziaraki
Executive produced by Kathleen Lingo (Elder)
Subject: The refugee crisis on the Greek island of Lesbos
Nominated for the 2016 Student Academy Award for Best Documentary
Op-Docs Article
How to watch it: streaming on YouTube via the New York Times below

Frame 394

Compy Films and CBC
30 min.
Directed, shot and edited by Rich Williamson
Executive produced by Ed Barreveld (The World Before Her)
Subject: An investigation into a police-involved shooting
Winner of Best Documentary Short at the 2016 Rhode Island International Film Festival
Official Website
How to see it: streaming on YouTube via the CBC below

Joe’s Violin

Lucky Two Productions and The New Yorker
24 min.
Directed and produced by Kahane Cooperman (The Daily Show)
Produced by Raphaela Neihausen (DOC NYC)
Subject: A violin donated by a 91-year-old Holocaust survivor that changes the life of a 12-year-old Bronx girl
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2016 Lighthouse International Film Festival
Winner of audience awards at the 2016 Nantucket International Film Festival and the 2016 Montclair Film Festival
Official Website
How to watch it: streaming on YouTube via The New Yorker below

The Mute’s House

The Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School
32 min.
Directed and produced by Tamar Kay
Subject: A deaf Palestinian woman and her 8-year-old son who are the only residents of a deserted building in Israel
Nominated for the 2016 Student Academy Award for Best Foreign Documentary
Winner of the President’s Award for Short Documentary at the 2016 Full Frame Documentary Festival
Winner of the Golden Dragon for Best Short Film at the 2016 Krakow Film Festival
Winner of the Special Jury Award for Student Documentary at the 2015 International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam
Winner of the Best Student Film award at Docaviv 2016
Winner of the Best Student Short Documentary award at the 2016 Jerusalam Film Festival
Winner of the Best Innovative Film award at the 2016 Montefeltro Film School Festival Romagna
How to watch it: on DVD
Trailer:

The Other Side of Home

Feeln
40 min.
Directed, co-written and produced by Nare Mkrtchyan
Produced by Robert N. Fried (Oscar winner for fiction short Session Man)
Subject: The 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and one woman who discovers her great grandmother is a survivor
Official Website
How to watch it: n/a
Trailer:

Watani: My Homeland

ITN Productions
40 min.
Directed by by Marcel Mettelsiefen (Syria: Children on the Frontline)
Subject: A family of Syrian refugees now residing in Germany
Official Website
How to watch it: n/a
Trailer:

The White Helmets

Grain Media and Violet Films and Netflix
41 min.
Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel (Oscar nominee for Virunga)
Produced by Joanna Natasegara (Oscar nominee for Virunga)
Executive produced by Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura (Virunga), Jason Spingarn-Koff (Elder) and Adam Del Dio
Edited by Masahiro Hirakubo (Virunga)
Cinematography by Franklin Dow (Virunga), Fadi Al Halabi, Hassan Kattan and Khaled Khateeb
Subject: First responders trying to save lives following airstrikes in Syria
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2016 Hamptons International Film Festival
How to watch it: streaming on Netflix
Trailer:

More to Read:

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.