Catch Oscar-nominated short films at The Neon

“The live action shorts are a fantastic bunch of very human stories,” manager Jonathan McNeal said



Oscar season and The Neon have always been a perfect match. So, it’s no surprise the downtown movie theater, located at 130 E. Fifth St., is currently screening the 2021 Oscar-nominated live action short films, animated short films and documentary shorts.

The live action short nominees are “The Present” (Palestine, 25 minutes), “Feeling Through” (USA, 19 minutes), “Two Distant Strangers” (USA, 25 minutes), “White Eye” (Israel, 21 minutes), and “The Letter Room” (USA, 33 minutes). This package contains adult themes and language.

“The live action shorts are a fantastic batch of very human stories,” said Jonathan McNeal, The Neon manager. “International and topical with man’s inhumanity to man (particularly) being a big recurring theme with three of them. (And) ‘Two Distant Strangers’ is a frustrating and timely tale of race relations and police brutality. The performances across the board are stellar in this collection, and the little girl at the end of ‘The Present’ is a true hero.”

In the animated field, the nominees are “Burrow” (USA, 6 minutes), “Genius Loci” (France, 16 minutes), “If Anything Happens I Love You” (USA, 12 minutes), “Opera” (USA, 9 minutes), and “Yes-People” (Iceland, 8 minutes). Additional selections include “The Snail and the Whale” (UK/Germany, 26 minutes), “Kapaemahu” (USA, 7 minutes), and “To Gerard” (USA, 8 minutes). Patrons are advised “If Anything Happens I Love You” concerns parents grieving in the wake of a school shooting, and “Genius Loci” contains some adult language, smoking and very brief nudity. This package is not recommended for children under the age of 12.

“I love that the animated shorts run the gamut of style and subject, from cute and clever to powerful and profound,” McNeal said. “I was devastated by ‘If Anything Happens I Love You.’ From the title alone, you know it’s going to be serious, but it’s so topical, beautifully done and a quiet cry for policy change. And then there’s ‘Genius Loci,’ which I found mesmerizing. The abundance of work for this piece is astounding, (particularly) the water colors and M.C. Escher-like drawings. I was transfixed.”

The documentary shorts consist of “A Love Song for Latasha” (USA, 18 minutes), “Do Not Split” (USA/Norway, 36 minutes), “Hunger Ward” (USA, 40 minutes), “Colette” (France/Germany/USA, 24 minutes), and “A Concerto Is A Conversation” (USA, 13 minutes). Due to mature themes, this package is not intended for young audiences.

Once again, The Neon had a terrific track record for securing outstanding films that ultimately became Oscar nominees. In fact, seven of this year’s eight best picture nominees received screenings: “The Father,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Mank,” “Minari,” “Nomadland,” “Promising Young Woman,” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The lone exception was “Sound of Metal.”

“Overall, the Oscars are a strong batch this year,” McNeal added. “The Neon played the majority of the nominees, and I think picking one favorite is a challenge this year.”

The live action short nominees will be screened at 7 p.m. April 10-13 and 3:30 p.m. April 14 and 15. The animated shorts will be screened at 4 p.m. April 11, 3:30 p.m. April 12 and 13, and 7 p.m. April 15. The documentary shorts will be screened at 12:45 p.m. April 11 and 7 p.m. April 14.

For more information, call (937) 222-8452 or visit The 93rd annual Academy Awards will be telecast Sunday, April 25 beginning at 8 p.m. on ABC.

About the Author