Listeners respond

For the first time ever, we selected (eight) finalists from the pool of ShortDocs submissions, and offered them up to the public to vote for our inaugural ### People's ShortDoc Award . Participants were asked to tell us why they picked the finalist they voted for. Here are some of our favorite comments from the 630(!) votes cast

Blackbird Pot Pie: Not the Pie Umami Made, by Mary T. Diorio Schillin

  • I hate to admit it, but I now have the greatest curiousity to eat a blackbird. Just hearing John describe the taste activated my salivary glands. Plus just hearing John's recounting of this childhood recollection was also like biting into something savory and immediately having a long-forgotten fond memory triggered

  • I was captivated by this from the moment the guy gives a little laugh while talking at 0:08, and remained so when I realized he was talking about something as disgusting as eating blackbirds. This piece was so well-produced, and the voice... oh, the voice

  • This story reminds me of my father, now 87 years old. He is often troubled by things he cannot remember, however he is able to recall moments from his childhood with amazing clarity. This narrator is able to transport the listener to a time of simple pleasures

  • Wonderful storytelling, where food comes alive in time and place. The substance of the narration gives us a wonderful sense of "place" and his memories and voice make "time" a character in the story, as well. The children's singing is a charming echo of the narrator's own graveling song. In sum, lovely

My Umami Gas Mask, by Sam Age

  • Effective and beautifully simple creation of believable world

  • Excellent storytelling along with great use of sound/audio techniques. Also good pacing; good control of narrative "tone.

  • A neat little story that captures the fears and losses of a world-gone hopeless

  • Unique, different and totally abstract. I real definition of the the individuals in the human race

Salt on the Lips, by Jenny Asarno

  • OMG. This story blew me away! The feelings I experienced, through Jenny Asarnow's deft editing, started with curiosity, moved to sexual arousal, embarrassment, SHOCK, empathy, tears, joy. All in less than 3 minutes! I love how she kept the pauses, the sifting for words, the open-endedness, including the ending that isn't quite an ending but is

  • This story had an incredible arc for being so short. It was genuinely surprising and did an excellent job of establishing relationships using both conversation and silence. Its silences were full and powerful. It was sexy, but also wistful and tender. A perfect exploration of food and suppressed desire

  • Wow. This story borders on too intimate, but it's so delicately produced that it works stunningly. I love that she allows time for us to hear the speaker hesitate, giggle, and then finally speak honestly. Several other pauses and awkward moments reassured me: it's okay that this is uncomfortable to hear, it is an uncomfortable conversation. But it's also true, and visceral, and human, and therefore important

  • The pauses. Genius use of silence

The Last Morning was a Sweet One, by Alix Blai

  • The scenes are evocative, sharp and clear even on the first listen. It's masterful

  • I found the omission of words in "telling" this story so creative. Despite the absence of words to navigate the listener through this narrative, there was something elemental and visceral evoked by the ground being crunched underfoot, frying of grease in the pan, scraping of eating utensils against the plat

  • Although it's the most straightforward story in the group, there's an odd suggestiveness in the use of sound. Or maybe it's the sense of restraint, the absence of explanation or commentary. Of course you can identify the key elements -- snorting, gunshot, silence, sawing, frying, eating -- and you know exactly where it's going, but half the sounds feel more like time passing than anything litera

  • It's amazing how much you can divine from pure sound, no hand-holding narration to point the way. And even when it's not completely clear what's going on, it's still interesting, just letting the aural sensations wash over you, like watching a Terrence Malick movie... Tough subject, important story, handled in a daring way, it really worked for m

Sel: Trois Facons (Salt: Three Ways), by Kelly Jone

  • Lovely...I grew up in northern Vermont where poutine is kind of run of the mill (french fries, cottage cheese, powdered beef gravy). But this piece captures the wonder and yet utter ordinariness of the Quebec delicacy the further north you go (I also like the sly reference to Separatism)

  • Sel won me over with the contrast between the speaker and the translator. There was something incredibly provacative about the passion you heard in the French...you could hear the intensity with which she believed was the ONLY way to make poutine. While the narrators voice was curiously detached from the words she was actually speaking. It was just very striking and sort of beautiful

  • Rather than explaining what the heck poutine is to my American friends, I will forward this...tres funny

  • I love the multilingual element, and the simple focus of the story, as well as all the evocative vocabulary used.