Festival screenings are often followed by audience Q&As with filmmakers.
Festival screenings are often followed by audience Q&As with filmmakers.
Courtesy of the Irvine International Film Festival

7 Oscar Nominees Among the Offerings at Irvine International Film Festival Kicking Off FRIDAY

The fourth annual Irvine International Film Festival that kicks off an eight-day run on Friday includes seven short films that received Academy Award nominations this morning.

The nominees are: Parvaneh for Short Film - Live Action; A Single Life, The Bigger Picture and The Dam Keeper for Short Film - Animated; and The Reaper (La Parka), White Earth and Our Curse (Nasza Klątwa) for Documentary Short Subject.

Writer-director Talkhon Hamzavi's Parvaneh is about the experiences of a young Afghan immigrant after arriving at a transit center for asylum seekers in the Swiss Alps.

Only three minutes long, A Single Life comes from the Netherlands and director Joris Oprins. When Pia plays a mysterious vinyl record, she suddenly knows how to travel through her own life.

For her animated dark comedy The Bigger Picture, which concerns caring for an elderly relative, American director Daisy Jacobs uses two-meter-high painted characters in full-size sets.

Also from the U.S. comes The Dam Keeper, co-writers/directors Robert Kondo and Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi's tale about a young pig who operates a large windmill dam that acts as a fan to push out pollution and maintain a town's survival.

The Oscar nominees for Documentary Short Subject playing at the festival run together as a block starting at 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, the event's final day. We get to know the subject of Gabriel Serra's The Reaper (La Parka) through his meat: dead bulls processed in an industrial slaughterhouse.

In White Earth, J. Christian Jensen's cameras follow three children and an immigrant mother braving a cruel winter among thousands of desperate souls flocking to America's Northern Plains seeking work in the oil fields.

From Poland, Our Curse (Nasza Klątwa) is a personal statement of director Tomasz Sliwinski and his wife, who deal with their newborn son's incurable disease. I suspect you'll want to have hankies nearby.

Oscar short lister: Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace
Oscar short lister: Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace
Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace

Other films on the Irvine International Film Festival bill were on Oscar short lists, including The Case Against 8, Coda, Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, One Child, Carry On and the fest closer, Bagdad Messi.

Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, which is about a painter who specializes in portraits of modern-day African-American and Latino subjects against baroque- and classical-era backdrops that resemble those in Old Master paintings, is among the films my colleague Aimee Murillo is looking forward to seeing. Read all about it and the other titles that have her excited here:

The Irvine International Film Festival Offers an Edgy Crop of Docs

An excellent documentary playing at the festival that I pre-screened is Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound, which is previewed here:

The Fabulous Bakersfield Boy

Despite Irvine being in the title, the festival films, mixers and other special events actually run at Laguna Hills Mall Cinema, 24155 Laguna Hills Mall Road, Laguna Hills. Screenings are routinely followed by audience Q&As with filmmakers. For details on tickets and other information, visit www.IrvinefilmFest.com.

This year's schedule, which is subject to change, follows on the next page ...

The films and their approximate screening times follow (* indicates the film is nominated for an Oscar; ** indicates was on the Oscar short list):


7 PM BLOCK A bit of bad luck - (86 min, Feature Narrative) Director: John Fuhrman A Single Life* - (3 min, Animation) Director: Joris Oprins


12:50 PM BLOCK Salbusa (25 min, Narrative) Director: Sukhee Kang Tom in America - (17 min, Narrative) Director: Flavio Alves Barrow - (15 min, Narrative) Director: Wade K. Savage Hand Over Hand - (20 min, Narrative) Director: Padraic Lillis Knock Knock - (13 min, Narrative) Director: Jeff Betancourt Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution - (14 min, Documentary) Director: Matthew VanDyke

3 PM BLOCK Waiting In The Wings: The Musical - (100 min, Narrative) Director: Jenn Page Flat Chested - (24 min, Narrative) Director: Kristyn Benedyk

5:30 PM BLOCK Listening - (98 min, Narrative) Director: Khalil Sullins Gear - (8 min, Narrative) Directors: Kevin Adams & Joe Ksander

8 PM BLOCK Chasing Yesterday - (91 min, Narrative) Director: Joe Pernice Free Monkeys - (15 min, Narrative) Director: Cengiz Akaygün


1 PM (K-12) BLOCK Take a Stand - Director: Austin Fickman Two and a Quarter Minutes - Director: Joshua Ovalle Lemonade Standoff - Directors: Ryan Beard, Saunder Boyle, Sam Crowell and Karson Monger It's A Thing - Directors: Meredith Morran, Sage McCommas, Sebastian Crank The Talk - Director: Hadley Hillel Redemption - Director: Gillian Annis Ann - Director: AnthonyLiechti Barney - Director: Chris Carmona

3 PM BLOCK I Love You, Dad - (10 min, Narrative) Director: Eric Normington Todd and Anne: Water in the Pot - (27 min, Narrative) Director: Jeffrey Engelson The Class Analysis - (16 min, Narrative) Director: Webb Pickersgill Spoons - (17 min, Narrative) Director: Olivia Watson

5 PM BLOCK Orphans of the Genocide - (90 min, Documentary) Director: Bared Maronian

7:30 PM BLOCK Hardy - (73 min, Documentary) Director: Natasha Verma Dinner For Few - (10 min, Animation) Director: Nassos Vakalis


11 PM BLOCK A Bit of Bad Luck - (86 min, Narrative) Director: John Fuhrman Berlin Troika - (11 min, Narrative) Director: Andrej Gontcharov

1:50 PM BLOCK Calloused Hands - (95 min, Narrative) Director: Jesse Quinones

4:40 PM (College/University) BLOCK Icebox - (21 min) Director: Momo Lee Aoi Grafters - (23 min) Director: Nicholas DeMicco Last Ditch - (18 min) Director: Ramon Watkins Interstate - (20 min) Director: Camille Stochitch Steven Spielberg and the Return to Film School - (21 min) Director: Joshua Hoh Billi - (6 min) Director: Clark Harris

7:15 PM BLOCK Poverty, Inc. - (87 min, Documentary) Director: Michael Matheson Miller Sumer - (10 min, Narrative) Director: Alvaro Garcia


1 PM BLOCK Hardy - (73 min, Documentary) Director: Natasha Verma Bis Gleich - (20 min, Narrative) Director: Benjamin Wolff

3 PM BLOCK Above All Else - (94 min, Documentary) Director: John Fiege

5 PM BLOCK Billy Mize and the Bakersfield Sound - (90 min, Documentary) Director: William J. Saunders Showfolk - (24 min, Documentary) Director: Ned McNeilage

7 PM BLOCK The Case Against 8** - (112 min, Documentary) Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White


1:30 PM BLOCK The Bigger Picture* - (7 min, Animation) Director: Daisy Jacobs Coda** - (9 min, Animation) Director: Alan Holly The Dam Keeper* - (18 min, Animation) Directors: Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutusmi

2:40 PM BLOCK The Case Against 8** - (112 min, Documentary) Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White

5 PM BLOCK 120 Days - (79 min, Documentary) Director: Ted Roach Nayan and the Evil Eye - (8 min, Narrative) Director: Shaleen Sangha

7 PM BLOCK NOWRUZ: Lost & Found - (84 min, Documentary) Director: Kevan Moezzi Parvaneh* - (24 min, Narrative) Director: Talkhon Hamzavi


3 PM BLOCK The Reaper (La Parka)* - (29 min, Documentary) Director: Gabriel Serra White Earth* - (20 min, Documentary) Director: J. Christian Jensen Our Curse (Nasza Klątwa)* - (27 min, Documentary) Director: Tomasz Sliwinski

4:50 PM BLOCK Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace** - (29 min, Documentary) Director: Jeff Dupre One Child** - (40 min, Documentary) Director: Zijian Mu Carry On** - (16 min, Documentary) Director Yatao Li

7 PM BLOCK Amira & Sam - (88 min, Narrative) Director: Sean Mullin Bagdad Messi** - (24 min, Narrative) Director: Sahim Omar Kalifa

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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