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.

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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.

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

FRIDAY, JAN. 16

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

SATURDAY, JAN. 17

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

SUNDAY, JAN. 18

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

MONDAY, JAN. 19

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

TUESDAY, JAN. 20

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

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

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

THURSDAY, JAN. 22

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!

OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.

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