A few of this year’s Oscar-nominated documentary short films are available free online (full versions below), while others are accessible on Netflix and HBO. Here’s how to watch all five.
IMDb description: Edith and Eddie, ages 96 and 95, are America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their love story is disrupted by a family feud that threatens to tear the couple apart.
Director: Laura Checkoway
Runtime: 29 min.
Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405
IMDb description: Mindy Alper is a tortured and brilliant 56-year-old artist who is represented by one of Los Angeles’s top galleries. Acute anxiety, mental disorder, and devastating depression have caused her to be committed to mental institutions, undergo electroshock therapy, and survive a 10-year period without the ability to speak. Her hyper self awareness has allowed her to produce a lifelong body of work that expresses her emotional state with powerful psychological precision. Through interviews, reenactments, the building of an eight-and-a-half-foot papier-mâché bust of her beloved psychiatrist, and examining drawings made from the time she was a child, we learn how she has emerged from darkness and isolation to a life that includes love, trust, and support.
Director: Frank Stiefel
Runtime: 40 min.
IMDb description: 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? We follow the hectic launch of Edwins restaurant in Cleveland. In this improbable setting, with its mouth-watering 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 himself haunted by his time in jail. These men and women 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.
Director: Thomas Lennon
Runtime: 40 min.
The following two films are available on Netflix and HBO, respectively.
IMDb description: Three women fight to break the cycle one life at a time.
Director: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Runtime: 39 min.
Full film available: Netflix
IMDb description: “Traffic Stop” tells the story of Breaion King, a 26-year-old African-American school teacher from Austin, Texas who was stopped for a routine traffic violation that escalated into a dramatic arrest. Caught on police dash cams, King was pulled from her car by the arresting officer, repeatedly thrown to the ground, and handcuffed. En route to jail in a squad car, she engaged in a revealing conversation with her escorting officer about race and law enforcement in America. The documentary juxtaposes dash cam footage with scenes from King’s everyday life, offering a fuller portrait of the woman caught up in this unsettling encounter.
Director: Kate Davis
Runtime: 30 min.
Full film available: HBO