BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT: You can click on the film titles to see the short films. The exception is Crisis Hotline, which can be seen on HBO.
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1– Going into this short film, I was reminded of an episode of Vice focusing on soldier’s lives after war. Due to post-traumatic stress disorder, they have severe trouble adjusting to everyday life. And the government is no help at all. As a result, many turn to drug addiction or worse, suicide. It is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide a day. Fortunately, there is Veterans Crisis Hotline, dedicated to helping veterans at their lowest point. Day after day, these people take the calls of thousands of people, talking them out of ending their lives. This short film shows these people at their line of work, talking to a stranger on the other line. It is intense to see one of them try to talk a person into putting down a knife. Watching it, I admired the fact that we never hear the people on the other end.
The film acknowledges that this is a strictly private conversation and treats it as such. This is about the people who offer a reassuring hand, reminding them of their families. Sadly, it also acknowledges that the hotline isn’t able to help every patient, but they keep on going because they have to. It is currently showing on HBO. I’d highly recommend seeing it along with the aforementioned episode of Vice.
Joanna– This is a heartbreaking tale of a mother near the end of her life working to leave a legacy for her son. Facing a terminal illness, Joanna decides to write a blog in the hopes of leaving a record for her young son. She hopes she can use this blog to leave behind some valuable life lessons for her young son.
Our Curse– This is another heartbreaking life story of a family coping with tragic circumstances. This time it’s parents whose newborn has Ondine’s Curse; a life threatening congenital breathing disorder. The father Tomasz Sliwinski directs the film.
The Reaper (La Parka) – At the centre of this short film is a man who has spent 25 years as a butcher. Through his profession, he has developed a unique relationship with death and what one person must do to live. In the trailer, he talks about a dream where the tables are turned with the cows and he is now the animal.
White Earth– This short is a look at the North Dakota oil boom as told from the point of view of children. At the centre of the film are three children and their immigrant mother struggling to make ends meet.
Who Will Win?