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The ABCs of Book Banning
Hop Film

Oscar Shorts: Documentary

March 03, 2024

This event occurred as part of the 23/24 Hop Film season. This is an archived view.

Bite-sized nonfiction films that offer inspiring stories and raise awareness about important issues.

23/24 Hop Film

2024 Oscar Nominated Short Films Pre-Nomination Trailer


Short films may lack the scale and sweep of their feature-length siblings, but the best of them offer a promise of perfection in miniature and a reminder that cinema is often an art of patience, precision, and detail. These short documentaries raise awareness about important issues that sometimes prompt later feature-length explorations and go on to have a profound impact—here's your chance to see them first!

Leo Chiang, Taiwan, 2023, 20m, in English and Mandarin, subtitled
Set in Taiwan's frontline island of Kinmen amid rising tensions with China, filmmaker Leo Chiang weaves lyrical glimpses of local life and his personal experience with the propaganda of Taiwan, China, and the US. Now connected with China by ferry, the people of Kinmen are Taiwanese citizens but avoid adoption of ideological nationalism – saying they belong to the "island in between." Suggesting the possibility of peace in the region, Island In Between explores the interconnection of people in the face of an  uncertain future.

Sean Wang, USA, 2023, 17m, subtitled.
"Nǎi Nai is my grandma. Wài Pó is also my grandma."
A personal love letter from director Sean Wang, the film provides a humorous peek into the lives of two ordinary but extraordinary grandmothers who refuse to allow their zest for life to diminish with age. Wang captures the essence of his Chinese grandmothers' character with their playful banter, quiet moments of care, and quick narrative bits. It's the best kind of human interest piece – tender, honest, and inspirational. Though only 17 minutes long, it's packed with a handful of important life lessons, choosing joy being one of them.
Grand Jury Prize, South by Southwest (SXSW)
Audience Award, South by Southwest (SXSW)
Grand Jury Prize,  Seattle Intl Film Festival (SIFF)
Best Documentary Short, AFI Fest

Sheila Nevins, USA, 2023, 27m
Over 2000 books have been removed from libraries and classrooms in American school districts, with numbers rising dramatically. The ABCs of Book Banning explores the present and future human toll of depriving children of their right to read. In this powerful and timely documentary, Sheila Nevins chose to interview actual students, providing a fresh and inspiring approach. We are introduced to young people who desire to learn about our complex world – via access to vital titles on social issues, wars, and the realities of growing up. These inquisitive kids make more sense than many adults, offering hope for the future of intellectual freedom.

Ben Proudfoot & Kris Bowers, USA, 2023, 39m
Uplifting and inspiring, The Last Repair Shop tells the story of four unassuming heroes who ensure no student is deprived of the joy of music. There once were dozens of repair shops in America, restoring instruments for use by young people who cannot afford pricey instruments. Now there is only one. This is a powerful reminder of how music can be the best medicine and a route out of poverty.

John Hoffman & Christine Turner, USA, 2023, 35m
Illustrating the art of the possible, The Barber of Little Rock explores America's widening racial wealth gap through the story of Arlo Washington, a local barber whose visionary approach to a just economy can be found in the mission of People Trust, the nonprofit community bank he founded.

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