2018 Oscar Nominated Shorts: Documentary Program B

Opens Friday, February 9
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The Coolidge is proud to present the Oscar Shorts showcasing the 2018 nominees in the Documentary category.

The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2017 program offers viewers the rare opportunity to experience the year’s best short films from across the globe, collected together in this special cinematic showcase courtesy of Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures. The 90th Academy Awards take place Sunday, March 4.

Program B

Heroin(e) - dirs. Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Kerrin Sheldon, USA, 39 minutes

Once a bustling industrial town, Huntington, West Virginia has become the epicenter of America’s modern opioid epidemic, with an overdose rate 10 times the national average. This flood of heroin now threatens this Appalachian city with a cycle of generational addiction, lawlessness, and poverty. But within this distressed landscape, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon (Hollow) shows a different side of the fight against drugs -- one of hope. Sheldon highlights three women working to change the town’s narrative and break the devastating cycle of drug abuse one person at a time. Fire Chief Jan Rader spends the majority of her days reviving those who have overdosed; Judge Patricia Keller presides over drug court, handing down empathy along with orders; and Necia Freeman of Brown Bag Ministry feeds meals to the women selling their bodies for drugs. As America’s opioid crisis threatens to tear communities apart, the Netflix original short documentary Heroin(e) shows how the chain of compassion holds one town together.

Knife Skills - dir. Thomas Lennon, USA, 40 minutes

What does it take to build a world-class French restaurant? What if the staff is almost entirely men and women just out of prison? What if most have never cooked or served before, and have barely two months to learn their trade? Knife Skills follows the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio. In this improbable setting, with its mouthwatering dishes and its arcane French vocabulary, we discover the challenges of men and women finding their way after their release. We come to know three trainees intimately, as well as the restaurant’s founder, who is also dogged by his past. They all have something to prove, and all struggle to launch new lives — an endeavor as pressured and perilous as the ambitious restaurant launch of which they are a part.

"Invariably, Oscar-nominated documentary shorts focus on discouraging social problems and injustices. This year is no exception. The nominees examine elder abuse, mental illness, the opioid plague, prison recidivism, and police brutality. These are issues that provoke reflection and discussion, but the individuals and their stories stir up empathy and emotion." — Peter Keough, The Boston Globe