HBO Documentary Films Snags Oscar Nominee ‘When We Were Bullies’

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HBO Documentary Films has acquired the rights to Academy Award-nominated documentary short “When We Were Bullies.”

Directed by Jay Rosenblatt (“Phantom Limb,” “Human Remains”), the 36-minute short is a meditation of a Brooklyn schoolyard incident that occurred between the director and his fellow fifth grade classmates 50 years ago.

“When We Were Bullies” was, until now, the only Oscar nominated short docu to not have a distributor. Fellow nominee “The Queen of Basketball” was distributed by New York Times Op-Doc while Netflix is behind three of the nominated short docus: “Audible,” “Lead Me Home” and “Three Songs for Bashir.”

“When We Were Bullies” premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it was nominated for a jury prize.

In its tenure, HBO Documentary Films has garnered over 15 Oscars in the docu shorts category and over a dozen doc feature Academy Awards. This year “When We Were Bullies” is the division’s sole nonfiction nod.

“When We Were Bullies” has found the perfect home,” says Jay Rosenblatt, who has made multiple HBO Documentary films. “I am honored to have another one of my films air on HBO, where creativity, originality and innovative storytelling are honored.”

The short will make its debut on HBO three days after the Oscar ceremony on March 27.

Anthony Giacchino won the doc short Oscar last year for “Colette.” Other recent winners include “Learning to Skate in a War Zone (If You’re a Girl)”; “Period. End of Sentence.”; and “Heaven Is a Traffic Jam on the 405.”

Rosenblatt’s credits date to the 11-minute short documentary film “Doubt” in 1981.

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