Contenders include 'Barber,' 'Elvis,' 'Tahir'

An on-the-ground account of Egypt’s revolution and the story of a civil rights activist celebrating the election of America’s first black president are just two of the eight short-subject docus that made the shortlist of Oscar contenders.

Entries include “In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution,” which offers footage of the battles and subsequent celebrations that took place during the Arab Spring, and “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement,” which follows an 85-year-old African-American casting his ballot for Barack Obama.

The political theme, a favorite of the docu branch, continues with “Incident in New Baghdad,” about the killing of two Reuters journos in Iraq in 2007. Also making the shortlist were “God Is the Bigger Elvis,” “Pipe Dreams,” “Saving Face,” “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” and “Witness.”

The eight were culled from 35 entries screened by the docu branch.

The eight finalists are:

– “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement,” Purposeful Productions, Inc.

– “God Is the Bigger Elvis,” Documentress Films

– “In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution,” Downtown Docs

– “Incident in New Baghdad,” Morninglight Films

– “Pipe Dreams,” Leslie Iwerks Productions

– “Saving Face,” Milkhaus/Jungefilm

– “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom,” Supply & Demand Integrated

– “Witness,” Buche

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