Oscar short films showing at Film Streams - Omaha.com
go logo
article photo
article photo
“Feral,” USA, 13 minutes

Oscar short films showing at Film Streams
By Bob Fischbach / World-Herald staff writer

It's good to know I'm not the only one who's become an annual fan of the Oscar-nominated short films.

Once a well-kept secret accessible to only a few on the coasts, the animated, live-action and documentary shorts have become one of the most successful independent film releases nationally. Last year they took in nearly $2.2 million at the box office, up 28 percent in one year.

Locally, the Oscar shorts are an annual offering at Film Streams, Omaha's nonprofit art-house movie theater. Animated and live-action nominees, five films each, began screening here Friday as two separate programs and will run for at least three weeks. A third program of five documentary shorts opens next Friday. Generally longer and less popular, the documentaries will be here one week.

The nominees come from countries that span the globe and represent an incredible range of artistic styles and subject matter. Watching them ahead of the Academy Awards on March 2 makes the telecast that much more interesting — and gives hard-core Oscar pool entrants an edge in the annual guessing game.

Here's a brief overview after happily getting a sneak peek.


“Feral,” USA, 13 minutes. A hunter saves a wild boy in the woods from being devoured by wolves and takes him back to civilization. The boy's survival strategies don't work so well at school. Almost devoid of color, the animation is in broad, vivid strokes that skip detail but capture restless movement. No dialogue.

“Get a Horse,” USA, 6 minutes. If you saw “Frozen” in a theater, you also saw this hand-drawn Disney short that bridges the black-and-white style of early Mickey Mouse cartoons with today's vivid color. Mickey, Minnie and Clarabelle Cow face off with Peg-Leg Pete, bursting through a movie screen and into the theater. Think “Purple Rose of Cairo,” in which Woody Allen's characters step off the screen and into life.

“Mr. Hublot,” Luxembourg/France, 11 minutes. Mr. Hublot, a fussbudget, lives in a world of characters made of mechanical parts. When he rescues a mechanical dog, his well-ordered world is turned upside down. The dog simply won't stop growing. And the three-dimensional, detailed nature of this machine-world is amazing. No dialogue.

“Possessions,” Japan, 14 minutes. A warrior seeking shelter from a storm enters a shrine in a forest, where he encounters ghostly creatures that bring inanimate objects to life. Strong contrasts in light and shadow and in the use of color distinguish the action-cartoon-style animation. Subtitled.

“Room on the Broom,” United Kingdom, 25 minutes. Based on a children's book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, this is a magical tale about friendship. Clever rhyming dialogue enlivens the gentle tale of a witch who makes room for a cat, dog, bird and frog before running afoul of a dragon. Delightful for all ages, and a personal favorite. Simon Pegg narrates, and Timothy Spall voices the dragon.

Live Action

“Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?” Finland, 7 minutes. A wife and mother is frustrated when the family oversleeps and she's afraid they'll be late for a wedding. Her husband and two young daughters can't seem to help make up for lost time. Instead, the list of things that go wrong snowballs in this silly comedy. Subtitled.

“Helium,” Denmark, 23 minutes. A touching tale of a dying young boy and the hospital janitor who befriends him, giving him hope in place of fear about life in the next world. The janitor uses the boy's love of blimps and balloons to invent an afterlife in “Helium.” Loved this heart-tugger. Subtitled.

“Just Before Losing Everything,” France, 30 minutes. A woman who works in a large supermarket uses her workplace as a staging area to gather her kids and flee from an abusive husband. When he unexpectedly turns up, the film effectively builds anxiety and suspense. Subtitled.

“That Wasn't Me,” Spain, 24 minutes. A Spanish doctor's chance encounter with a child soldier in a war-torn African country changes both their lives forever. The harrowing story includes disturbing images of casual murder and rape, but also a deeply moving ending. Some English, profanity, subtitled.

“The Voorman Problem,” United Kingdom, 13 minutes. A prisoner (Tom Hollander, “Pirates of the Caribbean”) says he's God, and fellow inmates believe him. A psychiatrist (Martin Freeman, “The Hobbit”) has a tough time in his attempt to rid the prisoner of this notion.


No room to detail all the documentary shorts, but one is of regional note. “Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” was shot at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. It focuses on a convicted murderer and decorated WWII veteran cared for in the prison hospice by fellow convicts.

Other topics in this category: a gay-bashing victim left for dead who later recognizes and forgives his attacker; an artistic carver of sandstone caves; Arab Spring protesters attacked by the government in Yemen; and the world's oldest Holocaust survivor.

Contact the writer: Bob Fischbach

bob.fischbach@owh.com    |   402-444-1269

Bob reviews movies and local theater productions and writes stories about those topics, as well.

Read more stories by Bob

Contact the Omaha World-Herald newsroom

Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.

Latest Stories

Nebraska family and town depicted on the big screen in 'Heaven is for Real'
Nebraska family and town depicted on the big screen in 'Heaven is for Real'

Imperial family feels Colton’s inspirational story got heaven-sent production and reverential handling

Missing 3-year-old boy found in claw machine at Lincoln bowling alley

He was uninjured and playing happily with the stuffed animals in the machine.

Norfolk man restoring Johnny Carson's childhood home
Norfolk man restoring Johnny Carson's childhood home

It’s been a long time since Johnny Carson slept in the tiny upstairs room in the modest little house at 306 S. 13th St. in Norfolk.
Carson was born in Iowa and moved to Norfolk with his family in the 1930s. They lived in at least one other house in Norfolk before moving into to the white, wood-frame structure on 13th Street.

South Omaha bar will reopen this week with new look, Skee-Ball
South Omaha bar will reopen this week with new look, Skee-Ball

The Brass Monkey will reopen its doors this week.

11 Nebraska-set movies that were filmed elsewhere
11 Nebraska-set movies that were filmed elsewhere

Here are 11 dirty, rotten lies.

Iowa music fest 80/35 announces Conor Oberst, Dr. Dog and more
Iowa music fest 80/35 announces Conor Oberst, Dr. Dog and more

Conor Oberst will headline 80/35 music festival in Des Moines, and the Bright Eyes frontman will be joined by Ziggy Marley, Best Coast, Dawes and more.

Omaha is really in Kansas, new evidence suggests
Omaha is really in Kansas, new evidence suggests

Here's further proof that East and West Coasters don't know a whole lot about "flyover country."

Caravan’s steampunk ‘Fantasticks’ to pitch its tent in Iowa
Caravan’s steampunk ‘Fantasticks’ to pitch its tent in Iowa

The Nebraska Theatre Caravan’s national tour of “The Fantasticks” is nearing home turf this week after three months on the road coast to coast.

Aw, geez. 'Fargo' has a new psycho
Aw, geez. 'Fargo' has a new psycho

After failed attempts and broken dreams, by golly, someone went and put “Fargo” on series TV.

What to Watch: 'Fargo,' 'New Girl'

Tonight’s prime-time TV highlights by television writer Laura King. Get more at tvisafoodgroup.com, and listen to the “Pat and JT” show on 98.5 FM Mondays.

Movies Opening this week

Movie showtimes and theater listings

Read this!


Tonight in Prime Time
© 2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved