Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts Shine a Spotlight on Syria

As someone with a short attention span who also embraces opportunities to learn more about the world, I have always appreciated the allure of documentary shorts. As usual, however, the 2017 crop of Academy Award nominees in the Documentary Shorts category fixate on weighty, worldwide topics: Three out of the five nominees deal with the humanitarian crisis caused by the violent rise of ISIS (“4.1 Miles,” “The White Helmets,” “Watani: My Homeland”), while a third spotlights end-of-life care (“Extremis”). Yet there is a common theme threaded throughout all of these docs, and that is the unwavering kindness of strangers, and the undaunted strength of the human spirit. In a cruel and chaotic world, that’s definitely something to root for.

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