HBO is nominated three times this year, but they’re not the only powerful documentary shorts. Injustice and suffering is the prominent theme running through all five nominees, with few lighthearted breaks to relax and recoup. Pakistan’s A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness looks at honour killings, and the 1000+ women killed each year through the life of one woman who survived. This is also produced by HBO.
Last Day of Freedom is unique both in its delivery (somewhat a stream of consciousness storyline) and its style (beautifully drawn animation). Bill turned in his brother Manny, a Vietnam vet suffering from PTSD, after Manny killed an elderly woman while experiencing flashbacks.
Chau, Beyond the Lines follows a Vietnamese teenager disabled by Agent Orange who lives in a child care facility and dreams of becoming an artist and clothing designer. Although he faces many obstacles and doubtful people, his story is one of inspiration and hope.
Body Team 12 is HBO’s documentary on Liberia’s ebola crisis. Told through the eyes of the only female member of the team collecting bodies, this short explores both the heartbreaking realities the team faces and their overwhelming strength.
Another HBO short, Claude Lanzmann explores the life and work of the French director. Known for his 1985 Holocaust documentary the Shoah, this short looks at his decision to investigate the tragedy and produce his own documentary.