Films about immigrants, retirees in Florida and ballet shoemakers are among the final films in the running for the Academy Award for Documentary Short, AMPAS announced on Thursday.
Half of the films that were chosen from the 31 eligible shorts come from filmmakers who previously have been nominated for or won Oscars.
The eight-film doc-short shortlist includes "The Education of Mohammed Hussein," a short from Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady about an anti-Islamic preacher and his impact on children in the largest Muslim community in the United States; "Inocente," an Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine film about an undocumented and homeless teen from Mexico who has managed to become an artist, which recently aired on MTV; "Kings Point," Sari Gilman's look at the residents of a retirement community in Florida; "Mondays at Racine" (above), a film from Cynthia Wade about a Long Island hair salon that devotes one day a month to women with cancer.
Also: "Open Heart," in which director Kief Davidson follows Rwandan children who need heart surgery; "ParaÍso," Nadav Kurtz's 10-minute doc about three Mexican immigrants who work as window washers in Chicago; Tali Yankelevich's "The Perfect Fit," which contrasts the men who make ballet shoes with the women who wear them; and "Redemption," a new film from Jon Alpert and Matthew O'Neill about New Yorkers who survive by redeeming bottles and cans.
The filmmakers with past Oscar nominations or wins: Ewing and Grady were nominated for "Jesus Camp," the Fines for "War/Dance" and Gilman for "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," while Wade won for "Freeheld."
Although the category is usually dominated by grim, hard-hitting 35-to-40-minute docs about serious social problems (many of them destined to air on HBO), this year's shortlist appears to be slightly more varied than usual.
Unlike the rules in the documentary-feature category, which overhauled its voting procedures and is currently mired in controversy, voting rules in the doc-shorts category were not changed. The shortlist was chosen by volunteer voters from the Documentary Branch.
From the AMPAS press release, the films and production companies:
"The Education of Mohammad Hussein," Loki Films
"Inocente," Shine Global, Inc.
"Kings Point," Kings Point Documentary, Inc.
"Mondays at Racine," Cynthia Wade Productions
"Open Heart," Urban Landscapes Inc.
"ParaÍso," The Strangebird Company
"The Perfect Fit," SDI Productions Ltd.
"Redemption," Downtown Docs
The shortlist in the Best Documentary Feature category is usually announced in mid-November, but it has been delayed this year to give voters additional time to view the large number of submissions in the category.