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Tag: Oscar Documentary Shorts (1-6 of 6)

Oscar Documentary Shorts: Meet 'The Lady in Number 6'

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Come Oscar season, all cinephiles are ready to campaign for their favorite film. Are you Team Gravity or Team 12 Years a Slave? Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o? While movie fans have likely seen all the big nominees by this point, there are smaller categories where even some film enthusiasts may not be as well-versed.  Leading up to the Oscars, EW will tell you all about one often-overlooked category: Best Documentary Short. Come back each day this week for a look at one of the nominees, and impress your Oscar party with your knowledge when the category appears on Sunday’s broadcast.

Today: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, directed by Malcolm Clarke

The real surprise of The Lady in Number 6 might be that Alice Herz Sommer’s story hadn’t been told before. A London concert pianist and oldest living survivor of the Holocaust, the film easily could have been depressing, but the optimistic Sommer’s account of her long, extraordinary life instead is at times thrilling, incredible, cheery and miraculous. The fact that at 109 she was still able to recall so many historical events and was willing to share her experiences is something to behold.

Director Malcolm Clarke’s interview with EW took place last week. Unfortunately, this past weekend Sommers passed away at the age of 110 — an inevitability Clarke knew he was facing when filming.

“We had to move very quickly, Clarke explained. “Alice was not young when I met her, I think she was 107 when I met her. Any 107 year old, even if they’re very healthy, they are clearly closer to the end of their life than the beginning of their life and so we wanted to get  this woman on film while she was still healthy and sprightly and chipper. We did it as fast as we could. No one got paid, it was a labor of love for everyone, it was actually pretty much everyone who had worked on Prisoner of Paradise came back and gave their services, you know, gratis, so we could get the movie quickly and get her on film while she was still alive.”

Read on for more of EW’s Q&A with Clarke about the film. READ FULL STORY

Oscar Documentary Shorts: Go inside 'Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall'

Come Oscar season, all cinephiles are ready to campaign for their favorite film. Are you Team Gravity or Team 12 Years a Slave? Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o? While movie fans have likely seen all the big nominees by this point, there are smaller categories where even some film enthusiasts may not be as well-versed. Leading up to the Oscars, EW will tell you all about one often-overlooked category: Best Documentary Short. Come back each day this week for a look at one of the nominees, and impress your Oscar party with your knowledge when the category appears on Sunday’s broadcast.

Today: Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall, by Edgar Barens

There are many problems facing America’s prisons and prisoners. But while some are well-documented, there is the matter of what exactly happens to the inmates as they grow older and die that remains a little-discussed issue. The fact that there is no larger conversation being had about how we as a society deal with our aging prison population is part of what motivated Edgar Barens to takes viewers inside the Iowa State Penitentiary  — one of America’s oldest maximum security prisons — and tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill prisoner, Jack Hall, and the hospice volunteers (who are also prisoners), who help him.

“We have 1800 correctional facilities in this country,” Barens explained to EW. “75 of those have hospice programs. Of those 75 only like 20 use prisoners as hospice volunteers like my film shows. These prisoners are trained, they go through a 14-week hospice training much like people on the outside. These guys did the same thing. People came into the prison and taught them everything they needed to know about end of life care. So these guys are as prepared to deal with death as we are on the outside if we’d been trained.” READ FULL STORY

Oscar Documentary Shorts: Experience an uprising with 'Karama Has No Walls'

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Come Oscar season, all cinephiles are ready to campaign for their favorite film. Are you Team Gravity or Team 12 Years a Slave? Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o? While movie fans have likely seen all the big nominees by this point, there are smaller categories where even some film enthusiasts may not be as well-versed.  Leading up to the Oscars, EW will tell you all about one often-overlooked category: Best Documentary Short. Come back each day this week for a look at one of the nominees, and impress your Oscar party with your knowledge when the category appears on Sunday’s broadcast.

Today: Karama Has No Walls, by Sara Ishaq
A quick current events lesson: In early 2011, in Yemen’s capital city of Sana’a, members of a heavily armed population set aside their weapons and peacefully assembled to demand the fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule. On Friday, March 18, 2011 (later dubbed ‘Friday of Dignity’ or ‘Juma’at El – Karama’), the peaceful protest took a deadly turn when pro -government snipers surrounded rooftops around Change Square in Sana’a and opened fire on the protestors during Friday prayers.

Sara Ishaq had been living in Yemen for a while and was following the protests when the attack, considered one of the bloodiest days in Yemen’s contemporary history, occurred. The resulting film — comprising both Ishaq-led interviews with family members of those who were killed that day, as well as real on-the-ground camera footage from the young men who were there — tells a powerful story about brutal regimes, rebellion, and causes worth the fight. READ FULL STORY

Oscar Documentary Shorts: Get inspired by 'Facing Fear'

Come Oscar season, all cinephiles are ready to campaign for their favorite film. Are you Team Gravity or Team 12 Years a Slave? Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o? While movie fans have likely seen all the big nominees by this point, there are smaller categories where even some film enthusiasts may not be as well-versed. Leading up to the Oscars, EW will tell you all about one often-overlooked category: Best Documentary Short. Come back each day this week for a look at one of the nominees, and impress your Oscar party with your knowledge when the category appears on Sunday’s broadcast.

Today: Facing Fear, by Jason Cohen

Most people think it’s a pretty big deal to forgive a friend for a dumb joke, or to forgive a high school mean girl years later. Forgiveness may get a lot of play in our culture, but the actual forgiving part can take some serious work — and there are some things that nearly anyone wouldn’t be able to forgive.

Enter Matthew Boger and Tim Zaal. One was a struggling gay teen. One was a Nazi skinhead. 34 years ago, Zaal and a group of his friends beat up Boger and left him for dead in a Los Angeles alley. It was shocking that Boger miraculously survived, but even more shocking is what happened 28 years later when the two’s paths crossed again. READ FULL STORY

Holocaust survivor Alice Herz Sommers, subject of Oscar-nominated doc, dies at 110

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Alice Herz Sommers, the woman featured in the 2014 Oscar-nominated documentary short The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, passed away Sunday at the age of 110.

Sommers was the world’s oldest living Holocaust survivor. The Lady in Number 6 told the story of her life, focusing on the uplifting effect piano playing had on both her spirit and those around her.

“Telling Alice’s story was a life-changing experience for everyone who worked  on the film,” director Malcolm Clark and producer Nick Reed said in a statement to EW. “Even as her energy slowly diminished, her bright spirit never faltered. Her life force was so strong we could never imagine her not being  around. We are so proud to been so fortunate to capture Alice’s  lessons for all the generations to come. We can all learn so much from this most amazing woman.”

Watch a trailer for The Lady in Number 6 below.

READ FULL STORY

Oscar Documentary Shorts: Meet the 'Cavedigger'

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Come Oscar season, all cinephiles are ready to campaign for their favorite film. Are you Team Gravity or Team 12 Years a Slave? Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o? While movie fans have likely seen all the big nominees by this point, there are smaller categories where even some film enthusiasts may not be as well-versed. Leading up to the Oscars, EW will tell you all about one often-overlooked category: Best Documentary Short. Come back each day this week for a look at one of the nominees, and impress your Oscar party with your knowledge when the category appears on Sunday’s broadcast.

Today: Cavedigger, directed by Jeffrey Karoff
Many have a clear-cut idea of what makes a masterpiece artist. They think of Michaelangelo, or Picasso – and probably don’t think of a man who has spent the past 29 years digging elaborate works of art into the inside of caves. But, as the aptly titled Cavedigger shows, works of art by Ra Paulette are exactly what these caves are best described as. Each creation — a cathedral-like art cave in the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico –  takes Paulette years to complete, and each is a masterwork. But Paulette often runs into problems with patrons who have commissioned caves but end the project due to artistic differences.

“I wanted to do something more than make a film that showed or broadcast some artist’s work,” Karoff explained about the film, “I always hope that in art the art speaks for itself. But what I began to understand, when I got to know Ra better, is that the struggle of someone who is obsessive as he is living his dream are real. And they’re substantial.” READ FULL STORY

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