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Guild Cinema hosts Oscar-nominated shorts over next 8 days, beginning Feb. 23

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As we anticipate the 86th Academy Awards airing on March 2 (hosted by Ellen DeGeneres), there is an opportunity in Albuquerque to see all of the shorts nominated for awards. At the Guild Cinema, beginning Sunday February 23 at 3 pm, there will be eight straight days (and evenings) of screenings of these shorts in three series - Live Action, Documentaries (including the New Mexico film “Cavedigger”), and Animation.

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Below I am covering Live Action Shorts and including links to clips, which screen Sunday through Tuesday, Feb. 23-25, at 3 pm, 5:30 pm, and 8 pm.

Later this week, I’ll post articles on the Documentary Shorts (which screen Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 26-27 at 3:30 pm and 7 pm) and Animation Shorts (which screen Friday through Sunday, Feb. 28-March 2 at 3:45 pm, 6 pm and 8:15 pm).

“Helium” (Denmark) is a 23-minute film directed by Anders Walter about friendship between Alfred (Pelle Falk Krusbæk), a dying boy in a hospital, and Enzo (Casper Crump), a janitor. “Hasn’t anyone told you about helium?...Magical and fabulous like you wouldn’t believe,” Enzo remarks to Alfred. This sparks hope in the young boy. He begins to dream of magical flights of fancy. The trailer gives a sense of the sweetness and joy of the story.

Voorman, a straight-jacketed prisoner, says he is a god. Thus, the warden has “The Voorman Problem” (U.K.). If Voorman is insane, he can be shipped off to a psychiatric institution. Directed by Mark Gill, this 13-minute short follows a psychiatrist (Martin Freeman of “Sherlock”) as he examines the inmate (Tom Hollander) and tries to sort out if the man is faking. Here is a link to the trailer.

“Just Before Losing Everything” (France), directed by Xavier Legrand, has already won numerous awards including the Grand Prix of Unifrance and 1st place in the BeFilm festival in New York. The first few moments of the film are intriguing. A youngster (Milgan Chatelain) pretends to go to school but then hides under a bridge. A despondent teenager (Anne Benoit) waits for a bus. Both have been picked up by a woman (Lea Drucker). Tension is obvious, visible in this short clip. This 30-minute short has minimal dialogue, leaving the viewer to figure out what these three are running from, or toward. No more should be said so that one can experience the film as the filmmaker intended.

From Spain comes a 24-minute short, “That Wasn’t Me,” directed by Esteban Crespo. Paula (Alejandra Lorente) is a Spanish aid worker. Kaney (Juan Tojaka as child, Mariano Nguema as adult) is an African child soldier. They have nothing in common, but their lives come together as the story unfolds. In Spain, this film has already won a Goya Award for best short best film, and for best actor (Gustavo Salmerón), best short, and best director in the Málaga Spanish Film Festival. This short clip highlights the drama of this disturbing war film.

Finally, in this series of short live-action Oscar nominees, screening is “Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?” (Finland). This film is a humorous look as a precious family wakes up late and then has to rush to get to a wedding. Many things can - and do - go wrong. Smile as you watch this clip of director Selma Vilhunen’s 7-minute short.

Screenings are at the Guild Cinema at 3405 Central Avenue NE. Check out Guild Cinema's website for prices and more information, or call them at (505) 255-1848.

Sources: IMDb website, The Voorman Problem website, Guild Cinema website

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