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Streamable doc short finalists: "Kayayo" and "Ten Meter Tower"

by Nathaniel R


This week the Academy announced the ten finalists for documentary short and the ten finalists for animated short.  The Oscar charts are updated. At least 5 of those 20 are available to watch online. You've probably already seen the wonderful animated coming-out short "In a Heartbeat" that was so popular online earlier this year but it won't be the only tiny Oscar-seeker with big value. That's why the short categories are wonderful, quite often you get much artistic bang for little buck.

Will get to the animated docs later but of the ten doc short Oscar options there are four you can watch online...

Kayayo - The Living Shopping Baskets $1.99 on Vimeo
We'll start with the sad one. In Accra, the capital of Ghana, thousands of girls work as Kayayo ("girl-carrier") basically walking grocery carts balancing heavy goods on their heads. They start as early as 6 years old and earn terrible wages, barely able to save more than 50 cents a way. Though I longed for more context while watching (the movie focuses entirely on one Kayayo named Bamunu) -- why the practice is accepted, what labor laws exist, why the female customers treat the young girls so harshly? -- the intimacy also adds punch. It's heartbreaking to hear Bamunu's father berate her for her lack of savings after two years of lonely physical labor.

You're not a child anymore. You're 8 years old."

Ten Meter Tower free with Amazon Prime membership
The gimmick here is irresistible. Swedish filmmakers Maximilien van Aertryck and Axel Danielson have placed cameras around a 33 foot diving platform and we watch as several different regular people (i.e. non professional divers) try to decide whether or not they'll jump off the platform into the water far far below. This simple observational concept, slyly paired with graceful/awkward slow-mo interludes, is like a meditation on fear and dramatization of the way we talk ourselves into and out of things. It's quite relatable and satisfying. 

Two more shorts you can stream online that I personally haven't watched yet here come from the New York Times Op-Doc series. Alone is from Garrett Bradley (given the two male first names smooshed together, I was surprised to learn this was a female filmmaker). It focuses on a single mother in New Orleans and what mass incarceration has done to the black family in America. 116 Cameras is from another female filmmaker Davina Pardo (Minka) and focuses on a Holocaust survivor preserving her memories.

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Reader Comments (6)

My favourite divers in Ten Meter Tower were Linus and Frida. Their back and forth conversation before diving was funny, and also very touching. I had sweaty palms and sweaty soles of my feet when I watched it this doco! I don't think that I could jump off a board that high up.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEz

Ez -- yeah, Linus was really funny. I loved the two guys pictured too. the "i love you" like he was going to die. haha.

December 8, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

You can also watch Heroin(e) on YouTube for free:

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterKris

i loved (!!!) ten meter tower. i'd love it if a film like that - so simple, so human - were to win.

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCharles O

The title of the article should read, “Ten Meter Tower” not Ten Meters Down. Now I keep calling it that! :)

December 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Joel - UGH. I obviously keep calling it that too. Now must delete/change links. nooooo

December 9, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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