Movie Maniac

Oscar-nominated short film screenings return

“La femme et le TGV”
“La femme et le TGV” Courtesy

The short film is an art form unto itself. It’s very difficult to tell a full story in a short amount of time (I’ve made 17 short films so far).

That’s why I have always appreciated the Wichita Public Library’s annual screening of Academy Award-nominated documentary, live action and animated short films. The library will again host this year’s screenings, starting Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre and continuing through the week at various library branches.

To qualify as a short subject for Academy Award consideration, films must be no more than 40 minutes in duration. Shorts are typically not rated and may not be suitable for all audiences. Foreign-language films will have English subtitles. Admission to all programs is free.

Here are this year’s nominees:


(Total run time 149 min.)

“Extremis,” Dan Krauss – This documents the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions for doctors, patients and families in a hospital intensive care unit.

“4.1 Miles,” Daphne Matziaraki – A coast guard captain on a small Greek island must save thousands of refugees from drowning at sea.

“Joe’s Violin,” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen – A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor donates his violin to a musical instrument drive and forever changes the life of a 12-year-old schoolgirl from the Bronx.

“Watani: My Homeland,” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis – The story of one family’s struggle to survive the Syrian Civil War.

“The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara – A group of brave first responders risk their lives to rescue civilian victims of bombings in Syria.


(Total run time 62 min.)

“Blind Vaysha,” Theodore Ushev – A young girl has a special gift: With her left eye she can see into the past, and with her right she can see the future. The past is familiar and safe, while the future is sinister and threatening. But the present is a blind spot.

“Borrowed Time,” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj – A weathered sheriff returns to the scene of a tragic accident from his past that shaped his life.

“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Robert Valley and Cara Speller – A man’s turbulent relationship with a self-destructive but charismatic friend from childhood leads him on a journey to a military hospital in China.

“Pearl,” Patrick Osborne – A girl and her dad crisscross the country in their beloved hatchback chasing their dreams.

“Piper,” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer – A mother bird tries to teach her little one how to find food by herself.

Live action

(Total run time 127 min.)

“Ennemis Interieurs,” Selim Azzazi – An interview at a local police station finds a French Algerian-born man accused of protecting the identities of possible terrorists.

“La Femme et le TGV,” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff – A lonely woman develops a bond with a TGV train driver.

“Silent Nights,” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson – A volunteer at a housing shelter falls for an illegal immigrant.

“Sing,” Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy – Set in 1990s Budapest, this follows an award-winning school choir and the new girl in class who just might uncover the ugly secret behind their fame.

“Timecode,” Juanjo Gimenez – A bored daytime parking lot security guard starts communicating with the night guard through closed-captioned TV footage.

The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. Jimmy Kimmel will host the awards show on Feb. 26. (Courtesy of Oscars/YouTube)

Rod Pocowatchit: 316-268-6638, @rawd

31st annual Academy Award Shorts Film Festival

Admission to all programs is free.

All categories:

10 a.m. Saturday, Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway

10 a.m. Feb. 25, Warren Theatre west, 9150 W. 21st St.

Documentary category only:

1 p.m. Tuesday, Rockwell Library, 5939 E. Ninth St.

10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Central Library, 223 S. Main

6 p.m. Thursday, Derby Public Library, 1600 Walnut Grove Road, Derby

Live-action and animated categories only:

1:15 p.m. Sunday, Alford Branch Library, 3447 S. Meridian

10:15 a.m. Tuesday, Evergreen Branch Library, 2601 N. Arkansas

4 p.m. Wednesday, Westlink Branch Library, 8515 Bekemeyer

4 p.m. Thursday, Central Library, 223 S. Main

6 p.m. Friday, Derby Public Library, 1600 Walnut Grove Road, Derby

For more information, call the library’s art, music and video department at 316-261-8506 or go to