The 2016 Oscar-Nominated Shorts arrive at the M.V. Film Center this weekend. The live action and animation shorts will play on Friday, January 29, and the documentary shorts on Saturday, January 30. Viewers of the 15 films will have the opportunity to vote for their favorites in each of the three categories. When the winners are announced on February 28 at the Academy Awards ceremony, they can compare their choices.
“Short film is like film on steroids,” Carter Pilcher of ShortsHD says. They provide an opportunity for experimentation not shared by full-length features. Now in its 11th year of pre-Oscar theatrical release, the shorts program represents entries from more than a dozen different countries.
The five live-action shorts include “Ave Maria,” about an Israeli family settling in the West Bank whose car breaks down near a convent. “Day One” addresses the dilemma of an Afghan-American woman, stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, who must deliver the baby of an enemy bomb-maker’s wife. A girl caught between her divorced parents is the subject of “Everything Will Be Okay,” and “Shok,” which played last fall at the M.V. International Film Festival, narrates the tragic friendship of two Kosovo boys. In “Stutterer” the main character is a man with a speech impediment who is about to meet his online romantic attraction.
The five Animation shorts include “Bear Story,” an International Film Festival repeat about a circus bear that longs for his family. A battle between four Spartan and Athenian warriors is the subject of “Prologue,” and “Sanjay’s Super Team,” an immigration story, tracks the conflict between a boy who loves superheroes and his more traditional father. “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” focuses on two astronauts-to-be, while “World of Tomorrow” suggests what happens in the future when cloning arrives. Five additional animated shorts will play with the Oscar nominations in this category.
The five Documentary Shorts treat a variety of contemporary issues. The subject of “Body Team 12” is the retrieval of Ebola victims’ bodies in Liberia. “Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah” offers a brief biography of the 1985 Holocaust film,“Shoah’s” director. In “Chau, Beyond the Lines,” a Vietnamese teenager, damaged by Agent Orange, dreams of becoming a professional artist, and “A Girl on the River: The Price of Forgiveness” looks at Pakistani honor killings through the eyes of a woman there who eloped and escaped. Finally, “Last Day of Freedom” explores the fraught theme of whether a man should turn in his brother for a crime that could incur the death penalty.
In a finale for the Oscar-nominated shorts, the Film Center will present a live screening of the entire Oscar ceremony in February. For screening times and tickets, visit mvfilmsociety.com or go to MVTimes event listings.