Hong Kong protest film ‘Do Not Split’ in running to win Oscar for best short documentary

“Do Not Split,” a 35-minute film, follows protesters on the frontlines of the 2019 anti-extradition movement. Photo: Field of Vision
“Do Not Split,” a 35-minute film, follows protesters on the frontlines of the 2019 anti-extradition movement. Photo: Field of Vision

A film about the Hong Kong protests is one of 10 works shortlisted for the Oscars’ short documentary award.

Chosen among 114 films that qualified for the category, “Do Not Split” is in the running to win Best Documentary Short Subject, the Academy Awards announced Tuesday.

The 35-minute feature, directed by Norwegian documentarian Anders Hammer, captures the mass marches against the extradition law, the movement’s gradual descent into violence, and the protesters’ increasing desperation in the lead up to Beijing’s passing of the national security law.

The film’s title is a reference to a Cantonese protest maxim that roughly translates as “Do not split, do not divide, do not snitch on others.” The phrase emphasizes unity among the protesters, reminding Hongkongers in both the peaceful and more radical camps that they are fighting for the same cause.

“Do Not Split” has been screened at a number of film festivals internationally, including the New Orleans Film Festival in the US and the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival in Denmark.

While many awards shows have gone virtual due to COVID-19, the Oscars will go ahead with a live show on April 25 at the Dolby Theatre in California, where the event is traditionally held.

Separately, a movie directed by a Hong Kong filmmaker, “Better Days,” also made the shortlist for the award’s International Feature Film category.

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