Friday, March 3, 2023

'The Elephant Whisperers' and 'Haulout' - two Oscar-nominated short documentaries for World Wildlife Day

Happy World Wildlife Day! For this year's celebration, I'm reaching back to 2018's theme of wildlife documentaries to feature two short documentaries nominated at the Academy Awards, "The Elephant Whisperers" and "Haulout." I begin with The Elephant Whisperers | Official Trailer | Netflix India.

What unravels when a tribal couple decides to foster an orphaned baby elephant? Watch how the arrival of the gentle giant Raghu, transforms the lives of his foster parents forever.
This is the second documentary from India about wild animals, the other being "All That Breathes." Indian media have made a big deal of the two films' Oscar nominations, along with that of "RRR," and created graphics like this. India cares what the U.S. movie industry thinks of its films and is thrilled to receive recognition.

I have a Factual America video about "All That Breathes" to share, but first I'm embedding Haulout | Trailer | Berlinale 2022.

The trailer for "Haulout" by Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev.

About the film: A man is waiting in his hut in the desolate expanse of the Russian Arctic. He is holding out in order to observe a natural event that occurs here, every year. But ocean warming is taking its toll.

Part of the Berlinale Shorts programme 2022.
I'm billing this as a wildlife film, but where are the animals? You can watch the entire documentary on The New Yorker's YouTube channel and read the video description to find out.
A lone scientist on the coast of the Siberian Arctic finds that warming seas have taken a toll on the walrus migration, as documented in a film by Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev. "Haulout" is nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2023 Academy Awards.
I'm a biologist, so I knew that "haulout" referred to pinnipeds (seals, sea lions, and walruses) and figured that walruses were the most likely animals based on the location. I'm glad to see I was right. I'm also pleased to have pursued this subject, as I've found two more documentaries I can recommend to my environmental science students. Welcome to blogging as professional development.

Follow over the jump for the Factual America video about "All That Breathes" I promised as a bonus.

Watch All That Breathes HBO Documentary (2022) | Shaunak Sen Interview about a third Oscar nominee about wildlife.

Welcome to the fourth season of Factual America!

Today, Matthew Sherwood speaks to Shaunak Sen, director of All That Breathes, an award-winning documentary about two brothers, Mohammad and Nadeem, in Delhi, who have dedicated their lives to helping the Black Kite, a victim of Delhi’s ever worsening air pollution.

All That Breathes is both an intimate portrayal of Mohammad’s and Nadeem’s work and, as Shaunak explains, a philosophical documentary that shows how the toxicity of Delhi’s air is reflected on the ground.

Above all, though it is a film about miracles: miracles in the air and on the ground, giving hope to a world that seems doomed to disaster.

Join Matthew and Shaunak as they discuss this timely documentary, which has already taken the film festival circuit by storm, winning the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and the Golden Eye award at Cannes earlier this year. The film is currently on release in the UK and USA and will be available to stream on HBO next year.

“... every bird that flies out of their basement is a miracle.” - Shaunak Sen

I think this interview explored the documentary more fully than the Gold Derby interview I embedded last month. It also serves as a down payment on my promise to "write about India's air pollution" that I made back then.

Factual America has a video about the other three nominees for Best Short Documentary, which I promise to share.  When I do, I'll probably handicap their odds. I also promise to write about the other Oscar nominees that feature diversity, politics, government, and speculative fiction. "Everything Everywhere All at Once" fits three of the four, as does "RRR." In the meantime, stay tuned for Marching Music Day.

Previous entries about the 2023 Academy Awards

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