Movie Maniac

Oscar-nominated short films return to the Wichita Public Library. Here is the 2019 lineup.

“Bao” is an Oscar nominee for best animated short film.
“Bao” is an Oscar nominee for best animated short film. Pixar

The little guys get all the attention once again, as free screenings of Academy Award-nominated short films will return to Wichita for the 33rd year, hosted by the Wichita Public Library.

The library was one of the first in the country to provide a way for the community to see short films nominated in the animated, live-action and documentary categories. It has grown to be a popular event for area film fans.

To qualify as a short subject for Academy Award consideration, films must be less than 40 minutes. They are usually not rated and may not be suitable for all audiences. The Academy Awards will be held Feb. 24.

Here are the nominees and program times:

Animated short films

(Total estimated running time: 56 minutes)

“Animal Behaviour” (Alison Snowden and David Fine, Canada, 14 minutes) — A group of five animals with emotional and psychological problems meets for therapy with a compassionate canine doctor.

“Bao” (Domee Shi and Becky Neimann-Cobb, USA, 8 minutes) — A lonely Chinese mother suffering from empty nest syndrome is thrilled to become a parent again when one of her homemade dumplings comes to life.

“Late Afternoon” (Louise Bagnall and Nuria Gonzalez Blanco, Ireland, 10 minutes) — An elderly lady with dementia wanders through memories of her childhood and young adulthood, and tries to use her past to reconnect with the present.

“One Small Step” (Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, USA, 8 minutes) — Bolstered by the unwavering support of her devoted father, a humble cobbler grows up determined to become an astronaut.

“Weekends” (Trevor Jimenez, USA, 16 minutes) — After his parents split up, a young boy must adjust to living with his mother during the week and his father during the weekend.

A musician helps a young singer and actress find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.

Live-action short films

(Total estimated running time: 105 minutes)

“Detainment” (Vincent Lambe and Darren Mahon, Ireland, 30 minutes) — In 1993, two 10-year-old friends are brought to an English police station for questioning after video footage implicates them in the kidnapping and murder of a 2-year-old boy.

“Fauve” (Jeremy Comte and Maria Gracia Turgeon, Canada, 17 minutes) — At an isolated surface mine in the Quebec countryside, two boisterous young boys run wild, challenging each other with reckless tests of endurance and daring.

“Marguerite” (Marianne Farley and Marie-Helene Panisset, Canada, 19 minutes) — As an elderly woman is cared for by a kindly nurse, feelings from her youth arise.

“Mother” (Rodrigo Sorogoyen and Maria del Puy Alvarado, Spain, 19 minutes) — A woman receives a phone call from her 6-year-old son on vacation with his father in France, and quickly realizes that something is desperately wrong.

“Skin” (Guy Nattiv and Jaime Ray Newman, USA, 20 minutes) — After spending the day shooting guns and relaxing at the lake with friends, a white supremacist becomes outraged when an African-American man is kind to his son at a grocery store.

Spider-Man crosses parallel dimensions and teams up with the Spider-Men of those dimensions to stop a threat to all reality.

Documentary short films

(Total estimated running time: 140 minutes)

“Black Sheep” (Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn, UK, 27 minutes) — Following the killing in 2000 of a 10-year-old boy of Nigerian descent, a mother fears that her sons could also be targeted and moves her family from London to Essex, where she encounters racism and must go to extremes to fit in.

“End Game” (Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, USA, 40 minutes) — At Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, teams of medical professionals, social workers and counselors work with patients and their families to ensure that their end-of-life care is compassionately tailored to their needs.

“Lifeboat” (Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser, USA, 40 minutes) — In 2016, the German nonprofit Sea-Watch aids refugees braving the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe.

“A Night at the Garden” (Marshall Curry, USA, 7 minutes) — On February 20, 1939, more than 20,000 Americans gathered in Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism. Archival footage shows the speech given by Fritz Kuhn, the leader of the German American Bund, as he urges his supporters to mistrust the media and free America from the influence of Jews.

“Peroid. End of Sentence.” (Rayka Zahtabchi and Melissa Berton, India, 26 minutes) — In the rural village of Hapur, outside of Delhi, India, women hope to make feminine hygiene supplies easily available and end the stigma surrounding menstruation.

The schedule

All categories:

10:15 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, and Saturday, Feb. 23, Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. Second St.

Documentary shorts:

11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. Second St.

5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, Rockwell Branch Library, 5939 E. Ninth St.

Live-action and animated shorts:

1:15 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, Alford Branch Library, 3447 S. Meridian

4 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, Westlink Branch Library, 8515 Bekemeyer

10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, Advanced Learning Library, 711 W. Second St.

For more information, go to

Viggo Mortensen as Tony Vallelonga and Mahershala Ali as Dr. Donald Shirley in "Green Book".

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Rod Pocowatchit is an award-winning independent filmmaker and SAG/AFTRA-eligible actor who has written and directed four feature-length films, all made in Kansas. He has been a journalist for 29 years and is also an internationally award-winning page designer.