2019 Oscar-Nominated Short Films

Synopsis & Film Details

For two nights only, Fresno Filmworks presents an exclusive presentation of The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2019, just weeks before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its winners. For the 14th straight year, Magnolia Pictures and ShortsTV continue the tradition of sharing the world’s best short-form cinema with the Central Valley in three categories: animation, live-action, and documentary. Featuring five full programs of Academy Award-nominated short movies, ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24. Assistive listening services are not available for these films.

Screening Sponsors:
The Tower TheatreJoGio HomesRogue Festival

Time between live-action and animation programs on Friday evening: 62 minutes
Time between animation and live-action programs on Saturday afternoon: 95 minutes
Time between live-action and documentary programs on Saturday evening: 62 minutes

ANIMATION - 75 minutes
Informally rated PG, appropriate for ages 9 and up
“Bao” — In Disney Pixar’s “BAO,” an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy. Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life, but Dumpling starts growing up fast, and Mom must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever. This short film from Pixar Animation Studios and director Domee Shi explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada. Directed by Domee Shi. 8 minutes. USA.
“Late Afternoon” — Emily is an elderly woman who lives between two states, the past and the present. She journeys into an inner world, reliving moments from her life. She searches for a connection within her vivid, but fragmented memories. Directed by Louise Bagnall. 10 minutes. Ireland.
“Animal Behaviour” — Dealing with what comes naturally isn’t easy, especially for animals. In “Animal Behaviour,” the latest animated short from the Oscar-winning team of Alison Snowden and David Fine (“Bob’s Birthday”), five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist. Directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine. 14 minutes. Canada.
“Weekends” — The story of a young boy shuffling between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Surreal dream-like moments mix with the domestic realities of a broken-up family in this hand-animated film set in 1980s Toronto. Directed by Trevor Jimenez. 15 minutes. USA.
“One Small Step” — Luna is a vibrant young Chinese American girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut. From the day she witnesses a rocket launching into space on TV, Luna is driven to reach for the stars. In the big city, Luna lives with her loving father Chu, who supports her with a humble shoe repair business he runs out of his garage. As Luna grows up, she enters college, facing adversity of all kinds in pursuit of her dreams. Directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas. 8 minutes. USA/China.
• Highly regarded additional short: “Wishing Box” — After years sailing the seas, Derek the pirate and his sidekick monkey finally find a treasure box: a magic box that can make your wildest wishes come true. Directed by Wenli Zhang and Nan Li. 6 minutes. USA.
• Highly regarded additional short: “Tweet-tweet” — Our life is like walking a tightrope. In times we are scared or lost, we lose balance. When we are happy and excited, we forget we walk on a rope. Little girl Luba plays with her friend, the fearless and silly Sparrow. By playing, Luba forgets she is on a rope. Directed by Zhanna Bekmambetova. 11 minutes. Russia.

LIVE ACTION - 108 minutes
Informally rated PG-13
“Madre” — A single mother receives a call from her seven-year-old son who is on vacation with his father in the French Basque Country. At first, the call is a cause for joy, but soon it becomes a horrible nightmare when the child tells her that he is alone and cannot find his father who left a while ago. Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen. 19 minutes. Spain.
“Fauve” — Set in a surface mine, two boys sink into a seemingly innocent power game with Mother Nature as the sole observer. Alone in the wild, the two boys play around. Complicity evolves into a confrontation where one wants to have power over the other. Taking proportions larger than nature, this game will not prove as harmless as they thought. Directed by Jeremy Comte. 18 minutes. Canada.
“Marguerite” — An aging woman and her nurse develop a friendship that inspires her to unearth unacknowledged longing and thus help her make peace with her past. Directed by Marianne Farley. 19 minutes. Canada.
“Detainment” — Two ten year-old boys are detained by police under suspicion of abducting and murdering a toddler. A true story based on interview transcripts from the James Bulger case which shocked the world in 1993 and continues to incite public outrage across the UK today. Directed by Vincent Lambe. 30 minutes. Ireland.
“Skin” — At a small supermarket in a blue collar town, a black man smiles at a 10-year-old white boy across the checkout aisle. This innocuous moment sends two gangs into a ruthless war that ends with a shocking backlash. Directed by Guy Nattiv. 20 minutes. USA.

DOCUMENTARY - 147 minutes (including a 10 minute intermission)
Informally rated R
“Black Sheep” — Everything changed for Cornelius Walker on November 27th, 2000, when Damilola Taylor was killed. Damilola was 11, the same age as Cornelius. He lived five minutes away. He had the same skin color. Cornelius’s mother, scared for her son’s safety, moved their family out of London. Cornelius suddenly found himself living on a white estate run by racists. But rather than fight them, Cornelius decided to become more like the people who hated him. They became his family and kept him safe. And in return, Cornelius became submerged in a culture of violence and hatred. But as the violence and racism against other black people continued, Cornelius struggled to marry his real identity with the one he had acquired. Filmed with non-actors in locations where the real events took place 15 years ago, “Black Sheep” blurs the boundaries between documentary and fiction to pose difficult and highly topical questions about race and identity. Who decides what makes us who we are? And what compromises are we prepared to make in order to fit in? Directed by Ed Perkins. 27 minutes. UK.
“End Game” — Where will loved ones spend their last days? Who will be in the room? What feelings and secrets need to be shared with family before it is too late? Acclaimed Academy Award-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (“The Times of Harvey Milk”, “The Celluloid Closet”, “Paragraph 175”) probe these questions and more in the context of two San Francisco Bay Area medical facilities on the forefront of creating new paradigms for end of life decisions with grace. Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. 40 minutes. USA.
“A Night at the Garden” — In 1939, 20,000 Americans rallied in New York’s Madison Square Garden to celebrate the rise of Nazism – an event largely forgotten from American history. “A Night at the Garden”, made entirely from archival footage filmed that night, transports audiences to this chilling gathering and shines a light on the power of demagoguery and anti-Semitism in the United States. Directed by Marshall Curry. 7 minutes. USA.
“Lifeboat” — Volunteers from a German non-profit risk the waves of the Mediterranean to pluck refugees from sinking rafts pushing off from Libya in the middle of the night. “Lifeboat” puts a human face on one of the world’s greatest contemporary, global crises and provides a spark of hope surrounding how civil society can intervene in the refugee crisis in a meaningful way. Directed by Skye Fitzgerald. 34 minutes. USA.
“PERIOD. END OF SENTENCE.” — In a rural village outside Delhi, India, women lead a quiet revolution. They fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely. But when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. They name their brand “FLY,” because they want women “to soar.” Their flight is, in part, enabled by the work of high school girls half a world away, in California, who raised the initial money for the machine and began a non-profit called “The Pad Project.” Directed by Rayka Zehtabchi. 26 minutes. USA.