The Wichita Public Library’s Oscar shorts program turns 30 this year.
Since 1986, the library has annually shown the short films nominated for Academy Awards in the animated, live action and documentary categories. Wichita was one of the first cities in the nation to provide a way for the public to see these films.
To qualify as a short subject for Academy Award consideration, films must be less than 40 minutes long and must meet one of three criteria:
1. The film must have been publicly exhibited for paid admission in a commercial movie theater in Los Angeles County for a run of at least seven consecutive days.
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2. The film must have won a qualifying award at an academy-qualified competitive film festival.
3. The film must have won a gold, silver or bronze medal in the academy’s 2015 student Academy Awards competition.
So all the nominated films have traveled a very long path to reach this point. Hey, nobody ever said winning an Oscar is easy.
Here are this year’s nominees and some picks (I didn’t get a chance to see the documentaries).
“Ave Maria” (Palestine/France/Germany; 15 min) – The silent routine of Palestinian nuns living in the West Bank wilderness is disturbed when an Israeli family gets stranded outside their convent. Comical and entertaining. Directed by Basil Khalil.
“Day One” (U.S.A., 25 min.) – An account of a new translator’s difficult first day in Afghanistan accompanying a U.S. Army unit as it searches for a local terrorist. Gripping and touching. Directed by Henry Hughes.
“Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)” (Germany/Austria; 17 min.) – A remarkable performance by a very young actress roots this drama about a divorced father who picks up his 8-year-old daughter to spend the day with him. Things seem innocent enough until his motives slowly reveal themselves. It’s heartrending. Directed by Patrick Vollrath.
“Friend (Shok)” (Kosovo/U.K.; 21 min.) – The friendship of two boys is tested to the limits as they battle for survival during the Kosovo war. Tense and ultimately numbing. Directed by Jamie Donoughue. (Contains violence.)
“Stutterer” (U.K./Ireland, 12 min.) – My favorite to win is this creative, beautifully sweet tale of a lonely typographer who faces his greatest fear: His online chat love interest wants to meet in person, but he has a debilitating speech impediment. Directed by Benjamin Cleary.
“Bear Story (Historia De Un Oso)” (Chile; 11 min) – Sweet tale of an old, lonesome bear who tells the story of his life through a mechanical diorama. Directed by Gabriel Osorio.
“Prologue” (U.K./6 min.) – This stunning hand-drawn piece depicts a brutal battle between teams of Spartan and Athenian warriors 2,400 years ago. Directed by Richard Williams. (Contains animated nudity.)
“Sanjay’s Super Team” (U.S.A.; 7 min.) – This fun Pixar production follows a young Indian boy bored with his father’s meditation ritual who daydreams of Hindu gods as superheroes. Directed by Sanjay Patel.
“We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” (Russia; 16 min.) – My favorite to win is this comical tale that explores the friendship between two cosmonauts who do their best to support each other while training for their mission. It’s beautifully touching. Directed by Konstantin Bronzit.
“World of Tomorrow” (U.S.A.; 17 min.) – This is a bizarre journey following a little girl as she is taken on a mind-bending tour of her distant future. Directed by Don Hertzfeldt.
“Body Team 12” (Liberia; 13 min) – This film follows the team that collects dead bodies at the height of the Ebola outbreak. Directed by David Darg.
“Chau, Beyond the Lines” (China/U.S.A.; 28 min.) – A teenager growing up in a Vietnamese care center for children that are disabled by Agent Orange battles with the reality of his dream to become a professional artist. Directed by Courtney Marsh.
“Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” (U.S.A.; 40 min.) – The life and work of the French director is explored. Directed by Adam Benzine.
“A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness” (Pakistan; 40 min) – A Pakistani woman falls in love and lives to tell the tale. Directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.
“Last Day of Freedom” (U.S.A.; 32 min.) – This mix of live action and animation follows a man who realizes his brother has committed a crime and agonizes over whether to call the police. Directed by Dee Hibbert-Jones and Nomi Talisman.
Oscar shorts screenings
Admission is free at all venues. Films are not rated and may not be suitable for all audiences.
▪ All categories:
10 a.m. Saturday, Orpheum Theatre, 200 N. Broadway
10 a.m. Feb. 27, Warren Theatre west, 9150 W. 21st St.
10 a.m. Wednesday, Central Library, 223 S. Main
1 p.m. Thursday, Rockwell Library, 5939 E. Ninth St.
▪ Live-action and animation:
1:15 p.m. Sunday, Alford Branch Library, 3447 S. Meridian
4 p.m. Tuesday, Westlink Branch Library, 8515 Bekemeyer
4 p.m. Wednesday, Central Library, 223 S. Main
4 p.m. Thursday, Evergreen Branch Library, 2601 N. Arkansas
▪ For more information: Call 316-261-8506 or go to www.wichitalibrary.org.
Enter our Oscar contest
Go to www.kansas.com/oscars and click on the “enter contest” link to register for the contest and submit your predictions for Academy Award winners.
▪ There are two contests for separate age groups. You must make sure you enter the contest for your age group.
▪ One entry per person. Anyone submitting more than one entry will be disqualified.
▪ No purchase is necessary to participate or win.
▪ We urge you to read the complete official rules at www.kansas.com/oscars.
▪ All participants will be asked to enter their date of birth to verify they are entering the contest for their age group.
▪ Contest is open to legal residents of Kansas.
▪ Contestants 18 or older should enter the ballot contest in the adult division to win gift certificates to Warren Theatres. Gift certificate values are $350 for first place, $200 for second place and $100 for third place.
▪ Contestants ages 13 to 17 are eligible to win gift certificates to Warren Theatres. Gift certificate values are $150 for first place, $100 for second place and $50 for third place.
▪ The contest closes at 4 p.m. Feb. 28. The Academy Awards telecast begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 on ABC.
▪ Employees, and their immediate family members, of The Wichita Eagle, the McClatchy Co. and Warren Theatres and their promotion and advertising agencies are not eligible to participate.