Lifeboat – Oscar Short Documentary Nominee

This 34 minute short documentary about the ongoing refugee crisis, Lifeboat, by director Skye Fitzgerald is an Oscar nominee. Via Short of the Week:

There’s something to be said for the limited depth of our empathy when reading about a crisis compared to seeing it. Documentary has thus become a powerful tool for awareness and social change, giving a face and a voice to the otherwise undifferentiated mass of suffering people across the world. Skye Fitzgerald’s 34-minute Oscar nominated short documentary Lifeboat brings home an ongoing tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya in a truly visceral way that leaves a cold feeling in its wake. Released by The New Yorker, this chilling doc presents the ongoing refugee crisis surrounding North African migrants attempting to make it across the sea without fluffing it up with emotional bouts of unnecessary drama (as if it needed any). Fitzgerald’s entirely dressed-down approach is refreshingly raw, and allows the story to stand alone, capturing the desperation of thousands of nameless people whose individual experience is otherwise lumped into a banal and neutered term like “migrant crisis”.

A warning for those with weak stomachs, Lifeboat’s opening scene is a shock to the system and you should be aware that the dead are not edited out simply because it might make you feel uncomfortable. The sound of howling wind almost entirely eclipses the first cue of music as volunteers in dust masks retrieve bodies from what appears to be a deflated boat on a beach in the dead of night. An activist in his own right, Fitzgerald goes for the jugular from the start and its with this vibrato that he truly impresses.

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