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Virunga (2014) More at IMDbPro »


2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014

3 items from 2017


Film Review: ‘2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Documentary’

26 February 2017 1:38 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Academy has a strange idea of “best” when it comes to documentary shorts. Rather than celebrating innovation and artistry in this particular category, the organization’s nonfiction branch nearly always gravitates toward the mini-movies (40 minutes or less) that tackle the Big Issues — which this year include the crisis in Syria, immigration woes in southern Europe, the uneasy question of euthanasia, and, of course, the Holocaust. Should future historians want to gauge where the Academy’s political sentiments lay any given year, they need only analyze this category, which might more accurately be called “most important documentary short.” For film fans catching up with the nominees in cinemas or on-demand at home, the program makes for a downbeat but illuminating 2½-hour marathon.

In what feels like an incredibly polished infomercial for Wqxr’s instrument drive, “Joe’s Violin” combines two Big Issues in one: Joseph Feingold is a charitable Holocaust »

- Peter Debruge

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Oscar 2017 Documentary Shorts: Syria Dominates, But All 5 Explore Humanity Beyond Headlines

3 February 2017 12:08 PM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Of the five films Oscar-nominated for Documentary Short Subject, three address the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis: “4.1 Miles,” a New York Times Op-Doc about a Greek Coast Guard Captain and the boatloads of refugees he rescues daily; “Watani: My Homeland,” about one family’s migration from front-line Aleppo to a small town in Germany; and “The White Helmets,” Netflix’s portrait of the volunteer first responders in Aleppo, from the director/producer team behind the 2015 Oscar-nominated feature documentary, “Virunga.”

Read More: Oscars 2017 Live-Action Shorts: Jane Birkin vs. Six-Time Nominee Kim Magnusson

The other two films also skew serious, but tell more intimate stories. “Joe’s Violin” is the touching story of the unlikely friendship between a 92-year-old Holocaust survivor and the 12-year-old girl from the Bronx who receives his beloved violin after he donates it. “Extremis” follows a palliative care doctor as she walks her patients and their loved »

- Jude Dry

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‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — J. Ralph (‘Jim: The James Foley Story’)

10 January 2017 2:30 PM, PST | Scott Feinberg | See recent Scott Feinberg news »

J. Ralph (Courtesy: Mark Abrahams)

By: Scott Feinberg

The Hollywood Reporter

“They’re all about these giant concepts — climate change, the war, autism, species extinction, globalization, one after the next,” says songwriter/composer J. Ralph of the documentaries to which he has contributed music over the years, as we sit down at his Malibu home to record an episode of THR‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. They have included several films that won the best documentary feature Oscar (2008’s Man on Wireand 2009’s The Cove) or were nominated for it (2012’s Hell and Back Again and 2014’s Virunga). However, 2016’s Jim: The James Foley Story, the most recent doc to which he lent his talents, is different. “This one was about one person,” he notes, namely the eponymous freelance American war correspondent who, in 2014, was killed in Syria while trying to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis occurring there. “I wanted »

- Carson Blackwelder

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