For two nights only, catch an exclusive presentation of The Oscar-Nominated Short Films 2017, just weeks before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announces its winners.

For the 12th consecutive year, Filmworks joins Magnolia Pictures and ShortsHD to continue its tradition of bringing the world’s best short-form cinema to the Central Valley, opening on Feb. 10 at the Tower Theatre.

“The Trump Administration’s travel ban is having an adverse impact on the Oscars,” said Dr. Mary Husain, professor and club adviser. “Three of the five Oscar-nominated short films focus on refugees – ‘The White Helmets,’ ‘Watani: My Homeland’ and ‘4.1 miles.’ Some people involved with these films production will be banned from attending the Oscars if the ban is reinstated.”

The two evenings will feature five full programs of Academy Award-nominated short movies. With all three categories offered – animated, live action and documentary – this is your annual chance to predict the winners (and have the edge in your Oscar pool)!

FRIDAY
Live Action begins at 5:30 p.m.; animation begins at 8:30 p.m. (the same line-up of animation shorts will be shown on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.)

LIVE ACTION — 130 minutes, Rated PG-13

  • “Sing” – Zsofi is struggling to fit in at her new school. Singing in the school’s famous choir is her only consolation, but the choir director may not be the inspirational teacher everyone thinks she is. It will take Zsofi and her new friend Liza to uncover the cruel truth. Directed by Kristof Deak. Hungary, 25 minutes.
  • “Silent Nights” – Inger volunteers at a homeless shelter and falls in love with the illegal immigrant Kwame. Both live a hard life. Kwame finds comfort in Inger’s arms, but says nothing about his family and children in Ghana. When his daughter becomes ill, he is forced to steal money from the homeless shelter to pay the hospital bill. Inger believe his lie about the theft, and when Kwame moves in with Inger they are happy for a while, until the day when Kwame’s mobile phone reveals everything about his life in Ghana. Directed by Aske Bang. Denmark, 30 minutes.
  • “Timecode” – Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day. Directed by Juanjo Gimenez Pena. Spain, 15 minutes.
    “Ennemis Interieurs” – An interview at a local police station turns into an inquisition during which a French-Algerian born man sees himself accused of protecting the identities of possible terrorists. This close-up on France’s troubled history with its former colonies has one man controlling the fate of another with the stroke of a pen during a turbulent period in the 1990s. Directed by Selim Aazzazi. France, 28 minutes.
  • “La Femme et la TGV” – Elise Lafontaine has a secret routine. Every morning and evening for many years, she has been waving at the express train that passes her house. One fateful day, she finds a letter from the train conductor in her garden and her lonely life is turned upside down. Inspired by true events and starring César Award nominee Jane Birkin. Directed by Timo von Gunten. Switzerland, 30 minutes.

SATURDAY
Animation begins at 1 p.m.; live action begins at 4 p.m.; documentary begins at 7 p.m.

ANIMATION — 87 minutes, Rated PG (with one exception*)

  • “Borrowed Time” – A weathered sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. With each step forward, the memories come flooding back. Faced with his mistake once again, he must find the strength to carry on. Directed by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj. USA, 7 minutes.
  • “Pearl” – Set inside their home, a beloved hatchback, the story follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love, and finding grace in the unlikeliest of places. Directed by Patrick Osborne. USA, 6 minutes.
  • “Piper” – This new short from Pixar Animation Studios tells the story of a hungry sandpiper hatchling who ventures from her nest for the first time to dig for food by the shoreline. The only problem is, the food is buried beneath the sand where scary waves roll up onto the shore. Directed by Alan Barillaro. USA, 6 minutes.
  • “Blind Vaysha” – Vaysha is not like other young girls; she was born with one green eye and one brown eye. But her odd eyes aren’t the only thing that’s special about her gaze. Her left eye sees only the past. Her right, only the future. Like a terrible curse, Vaysha’s split vision prevents her from living in the present. Blinded by what was and tormented by what will be, she remains trapped between two irreconcilable worlds. Directed by Theodore Ushev. Canada, 8 minutes.
  • “The Head Vanishes”A highly commended additional film. A little girl who may have lost her mind decides to take a trip to the seaside by herself. Directed by Franck Dion. Canada/France, 9 minutes.
  • “Asteria”A highly commended additional film. Two astronauts go on the conquest of an unknown planet but an unusual situation will put their professionalism to the test. Directed by Alexandre Arpentinier. France, 5 minutes.
  • “Once Upon a Line”A highly commended additional film. A man leads a boring life until he falls in love. Things get out of control, but at the end the protagonist discovers that there are other ways of living and that the world is full of color and hope. Directed by Alicja Jasina. USA, 7 minutes.
  • “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” – Drink and smoke. That’s what Techno Stypes really liked to do. And fight. But he was really sick. His disease whittled him down to a shadow of his former self. What was he still doing in China? His father had given two clear instructions: 1. Get Techno to stop drinking long enough to receive the liver transplant, and 2. Get him back home to Vancouver. This was not going to be easy. Directed by Robert Valley. Canada/UK, 35 minutes.

* NOTE: “Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” one of the five nominees, will be the last film in the program. It includes violence, language, sex and drug use, and it is not appropriate for children. There will be a Parental Guidance warning prior to this short, so that parents and caregivers can usher children out of the theater if they’d like. The rest of the program is family friendly.

DOCUMENTARY — 163 minutes (includes a 10-minute intermission), Rated R

  • “Joe’s Violin” – During a drive to donate musical instruments to public schools, 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joseph Feingold offers his beloved violin, which he has played for more than 70 years. The instrument goes to the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, where young musician Brianna Perez is inspired to become friends with her benefactor. Directed by Kahane Cooperman. USA, 24 minutes.
  • “Extremis” – At the Intensive Care Unit at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, palliative care specialist Dr. Jessica Zitter treats terminally ill patients. As she and her team provide the best possible care, they try to help the patients and their loved ones make critical, often heartbreaking decisions. Directed by Dan Krauss. USA, 24 minutes.
  • “4.1 Miles” – Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a captain in the Greek Coast Guard, is caught in the struggle of refugees fleeing the Middle East and traveling the short distance from the coast of Turkey to the island of Lesbos. Despite having limited resources, the captain and his crew attempt to save lives during the immense humanitarian crisis. Directed by Daphne Matziaraki. USA, 22 minutes.
  • “Watani: My Homeland” – Four young children live with their mother and father, a Free Syrian Commander, in a warzone in Aleppo, Syria. After their father is captured by ISIS, the children flee with their mother to Goslar, Germany, in a years-long journey that will test them all as they try to find a safe home in a foreign country. Directed by Marcel Mettelsiefen. UK, 39 minutes.
  • “The White Helmets” – In the chaos of war-torn Syria, unarmed and neutral civilian volunteers known as “the white helmets” comb through the rubble after bombings to rescue survivors. Although they have already saved more than 60,000 lives since 2013, these brave first responders continue to place themselves in danger every day. Directed by Orlando von Einsiedel. UK, 41 minutes.

Tickets cost $10 general admission, $8 students and seniors. A special $15 double-feature ticket is available for any two programs.

The Academy Awards take place Sunday, Feb. 26. A trailer can be viewed here. For program times, see Fresno Filmworks