2018 Oscar Shorts: Documentary A | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Historically, it’s been easy to guess the winner in this category as “whichever one is based on the most horrifying global tragedy.” These nominees offer more of a challenge, and intriguing diversity of topics and approaches. The shorter B program features two films that both address people trying to help fellow humans at risk: Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s urgent Heroin(e), about three women—a fire chief, a drug court judge and a street missionary—addressing heroin abuse in Huntington, W.V.; and Thomas Lennon’s feel-good Knife Skills, focusing on a Cleveland restaurant that also provides post-incarceration training for ex-convicts. The “A” program ranges from Frank Stiefel’s intriguing portrait of artist Mindy Alper’s struggles with severe mental illness in Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, to the likely favorite in Laura Checkoway’s Edith + Eddie, about a nonagenarian couple fighting to decide their own fate. And then there’s Kate Davis’s Traffic Stop, a deeply frustrating portrait of a Texas woman’s experience with possible police brutality. Let’s just say if that turns out to be the winner, it will be more about the topic than the execution.
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