“The only qualification to get into long-term recovery is to be alive.” – Fire Chief, Jen Rader, Huntington, WV Fire Department
My Thoughts on Docs
I watch a lot of documentaries. And there are so many documentaries out there that it can be difficult to know where to start. Aside from having long and short documentary categories at the Oscars, I don’t know enough about the ‘business’ of documentaries to have any notion as to how anyone manages to narrow down the massive volume of them to a select few that get nominated for an Oscar.
So I don’t have much of an opinion on whether or not the voters “got it right.” But I do know what I want to get from a documentary, and in turn what (in my opinion only) makes one Oscar-worthy. I want to feel something. I want to learn something. I want awareness of a subject matter that needs and/or should be on our cultural radar. If you can accomplish that, it’s worthy in my book. Those are my 3 main ‘hot doc buttons’, if you will.
If you are not a documentary fan, I get that. Try one; you never know! If you have no idea where to start cause there are so darn many of them, start with Oscar nominees as they rarely disappoint. That being said, some will resonate with you and some won’t – which to me is the whole point…it’s all about subject matter.
Best Documentary Short Subject
My Two Cents
This is a short documentary (less than 40 minutes in total) that takes you into Huntington, West Virginia where the community is desperately trying to battle its severe opioid epidemic. It’s not an educational doc about opioids, specifically heroin, and the dangers of addiction. It’s a documentary about a social and cultural crisis. It pulls you into the heart of the crisis through the perspective of three pretty incredible women: the Huntington Fire Chief, the Drug Court Judge, and a Missionary. Hence the play on the title.
Wondering how severe the epidemic is? According to the doc, Huntington, WV has an overdose rate that is 10 times the national average. That means the fire department is responding to at least 5-7 overdoses daily.
These women are so compassionate towards a really difficult issue and to the people that are struggling in the community with addiction. They are truly heroes…or heroines, if you will.
The documentary is sad, disheartening, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and even hopeful. To pull that off and have the viewer feel such a wide range of emotions in 39 minutes is pretty darn impressive. I liked the pace and sequencing of the different stories and perspectives. I really appreciated the ending and how the filmmakers dumped you right back into reality after seeing several success stories and drug court graduations. They could have ended on the success stories, leaving you hopeful that progress is being made. But the reality is that, while yes, there is progress, it will take many more people like the community heroines that we followed in the film to make more significant progress.
Well worth the 39 minutes; this short doc delivers on all three of my hot doc buttons.
Tip – Have some tissues handy or at least a quality sleeve. The kindest of these heroines will get you and the success stories will get you.