On Dec 7th, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 15 films that are eligible for voting in the Documentary Feature category for the 90th Academy Awards.
1. Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
Abacus, a small family-run bank, becomes the only U.S. bank to face criminal charges in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The indictment and subsequent trial forces the Sung family to defend itself, and its bank’s legacy in the Chinatown community, over the course of a five-year legal battle.
2. Chasing Coral
Coral reefs around the world are vanishing at an unprecedented rate. Divers, photographers and scientists set out on an ocean adventure to discover why the reefs are disappearing and to reveal the underwater mystery to the world.
Syrian rebels who call themselves Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently risk their lives to document the atrocities committed by ISIS in their homeland.
4. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
Filmmakers delve into the New York Public Library, discovering a world of devoted bibliophiles and beneficiaries across 92 branches.
5. Faces Places
Director Agnès Varda and photographer and muralist JR journey through rural France and form an unlikely friendship.
6. Human Flow
More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war, the greatest displacement since World War II. Filmmaker Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Over the course of one year in 23 countries, Weiwei follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq.
When filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller. Dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic gold are all part of the exposure of the biggest scandal in sports history.
8. An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world to train an army of activists and influence international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes, in moments both private and public, funny and poignant, as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.
Jane Goodall, a young and untrained woman, challenges the male dominated scientific consensus of her time with her chimpanzee research and revolutionizes people’s understanding of the natural world.
10. LA 92
Twenty-five years after the verdict in the Rodney King trial sparked several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles, filmmakers examine that tumultuous period through rarely seen archival footage.
11. Last Men in Aleppo
Members of the volunteer group White Helmets offer aid to the wounded during the Syrian civil war.
12. Long Strange Trip
Emerging from the Bay Area’s vibrant 1960s counterculture, the Grateful Dead were a motley crew whose unique sound sprang from an eclectic blend of influences: bluegrass, folk ballads, R&B, free-form jazz, classical and jug band.
13. One of Us
Penetrating the insular world of New York’s Hasidic community, focusing on three individuals driven to break away despite threats of retaliation.
14. Strong Island
When filmmaker Yance Ford investigates the 1992 murder of a young black man, it becomes an achingly personal journey since the victim, 24-year-old William Ford Jr., was the filmmaker’s brother.
When Harvard Ph.D. student Jennifer Brea is struck down by a fever that leaves her bedridden, she sets out on a virtual journey to document her story as she fights a disease that medicine forgot.