By Mike Keenan.
The Brock Film series will screen Oscar-nominated short films on Wednesday, a wonderful precursor for locals prior to the actual awards ceremony on the weekend. My spouse and I watched these terrific films recently in Hilton Head, SC. Each compelling in its own way. I highly recommend a viewing.
The first film, DeKalb Elementary, is a 21-minute American film about a disturbed young gunman entering an Atlanta elementary school office where he encounters a compassionate secretary. The topic is disturbingly timely. We are watching the current media coverage of the real thing in Florida and the subsequent teenage campaign in the U.S. for gun control.
DeKalb Elementary is one of the five films nominated for the Academy Awards Best Live Action Short Film category, all five of which will be screened during the special BUFS Gala Oscar Night Wednesday, Feb. 28 at Landmark Cinemas starting at 7 p.m. The schedule includes the full field of films from Australia, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. that will be competing for the Oscar title in Los Angeles Sunday, March 4.
The Silent Child was our favourite, the story of Libby, a deaf four-year-old and youngest child in a family who seem oblivious to her hearing issues. Unable to communicate but about to start school, Libby is assigned a social worker who teaches her sign language. Her skeptical parents are reluctant to be involved, and pose a potential block to Libby’s education. The incredible sign-language ending is poignant and gut-wrenching.
In Watu Wote/All of Us, Jua, a Christian living in Kenya, boards a chartered bus to visit a relative and is surrounded by Muslim passengers. The bus is stopped by the violent terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, whose members demand that the Muslims identify the Christian passengers. This film is a powerful statement on religious fervour, violence and compassion.
The Eleven O’Clock is an hilarious account of a psychiatrist who tries to help his delusional patient, but his efforts are complicated by the fact that the patient himself believes that he is the actual doctor. Each tries to out-analyze the other, and as we watch, the lines blur such that it’s impossible to spot who is authentic and who is not.
My Nephew Emmett is a heavy-duty treatment of race relations in the U.S. south circa 1955. Two white men invade the home of Mose Wright, an African-American preacher in Mississippi, to abduct his 14-year-old nephew, Emmett Till, who is visiting from Chicago. Emmett was accused of whistling at a white woman, and Mose knows that his fate is sealed.
Anthony Kinik, Assistant Professor of Communications, Popular Culture and Film, and one of the BUFS selection committee members, says, “Short films such as these ones continue to play an important part in the international film festival circuit, and they frequently offer a stepping stone to a bright career in film.”
Brock has assembled a visual feast as a precursor to Oscar. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for Brock students, and can be purchased in the lobby of Landmark Cinemas Wednesday night.
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