For Immediate Release
Contact: Barbara Briggie-Smith or Jordan Powers
Tel: 515.271.0343 or 515.271.0344
Email: or


DES MOINES, IOWA (JANUARY 2020) – The Des Moines Art Center is honored to once again host the Academy Award® Nominated Short Films. The films will be screened in Levitt Auditorium Friday January 31 – Sunday, February 2. The films are free but reservations are required. *

“Movies aren’t likely the first or even second thought that comes to mind when people think about the Des Moines Art Center, but since 2013, the Art Center has consistently “sold out” screenings of the Academy Award nominated short films,” said Director of Education Jill Featherstone. “There are three categories of films (documentary, live-action, and animation) that most film-going audiences haven’t had the opportunity to see in more traditional theaters, so when I learned about this program many years ago, I wondered how it would be received, and now seven years later the demand is high as ever! I think the short subject is particularly popular because folks can see a diverse range of stories, styles, and genres in a relatively brief period of time.”

Documentary Films (160 minutes running time)
Friday, January 31
Show times: 1:30 pm, 6:30 pm
Rated R

Live-Action Films (104 minutes running time)
Saturday, February 1
Show times: 1 pm, 4:30 pm
Rated R

Animated Films (85 minutes running time)
Sunday, February 2
Show times: 1 pm, 4:30 pm
Rated PG-13

Snow dates are reserved on Thursday, February 6 and Sunday, February 9 (times TBD). The Academy Awards® will be broadcast on Sunday, February 9 at 6:30 pm (EST).

*Space is limited for these screenings.

Documentary Films

Life Overtakes Me, Sweden/USA, 39 minutes
Directors: John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson
Hundreds of refugee children in Sweden who have fled with their families from extreme trauma in their home countries have become afflicted with Resignation Syndrome. Facing deportation, they withdraw from the world into a coma-like state, as if frozen, for months or even years.

Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), UK, 39 minutes
Directors: Carol Dysinger and Elena Andreicheva
Over the course of 15 years, a class of young girls from disadvantaged neighborhoods in war-torn Kabul learn to read and write, and grow together in confidence through the joy of skateboarding.

In the Absence, South Korea, 28 minutes
Directors: Yi Seung-Jun and Gary Byung-Seok Kam
When the MV Sewol ferry sank off the coast of South Korea in 2014, over three hundred people lost their lives, most of them schoolchildren. Years later, the victims’ families and survivors are still demanding justice from national authorities.

Walk Run Cha-Cha, USA, 21 minutes
Diectors: Laura Nix and Colette Sandstedt
Chipaul and Millie Cao reunited in 1980s Los Angeles after being separated by the Vietnam War. Forty years later, they become ballroom dancers to reconnect again and make up for lost time.

St. Louis Superman, USA, 28 minutes
Directors: Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan
Bruce Franks Jr., a leading Ferguson activist and battle rapper who was elected to the overwhelmingly white and Republican Missouri House of Representatives, must overcome both personal trauma and political obstacles to pass a bill critical to his community.

Live-Action Films

A Sister, Belgium, 16 minutes
Director: Delphine Girard
An emergency services dispatcher must tap into all her professional skills when she receives a call from a woman in a desperate situation.

Brotherhood, Tunisia, 25 minutes
Directors” Meryam Joobeur and Maria Gracia Turgeon
Mohamed is deeply shaken and suspicious when his estranged eldest son Malek returns home to rural Tunisia with a mysterious young wife in tow. The emotional complexities of a family reunion and past wounds lead to tragic consequences.

The Neighbors’ Window, USA, 20 minutes
Director: Marshall Curry
The life of a middle-aged woman with small children is shaken up when two free-spirited 20-somethings move in across the street.

Saria, USA, 23 minutes
Directors: Bryan Buckley and Matt Lefebvre
Inseparable orphaned sisters Saria and Ximena are fighting against daily abuse and unimaginable hardship at the Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala when a tragic fire claims the lives of 41 orphaned girls.

Nefta Football Club, Tunisia/France, 17 minutes
Directors: Yves Piat and Damien Megherbi
In south Tunisia, two football fan brothers bump into a headphones-wearing donkey in the desert on the border of Algeria. Unaware that two men are waiting for the donkey and its hidden drug stash, the brothers take the animal back home with them.

Animated Films

Hair Love, USA, 7 minutes
Directors: Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver
An African-American father learns to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

Dcera (Daughter), Czech Republic, 15 minutes
Director: Daria Kashcheeva
In a hospital room, the daughter recalls a difficult childhood moment when as a little girl she tried to share her experience with an injured bird with her father.

Sister, China/USA, 8 minutes
Director: Siqi Song
A man remembers his childhood and growing up with an annoying little sister in 1990s China. How would his life have been if things had gone differently?

Mémorable, France, 12 minutes
Directors: Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre
Painter Louis and his wife Michelle are experiencing strange events. Their world seems to be mutating. Slowly, furniture, objects, and people lose their realism. They are “destructuring,” sometimes disintegrating.

Kitbull, USA, 9 minutes
Directors: Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson
A fiercely independent stray kitten and a chained-up pit bull experience friendship for the first time.

Henrietta Bulkowski – USA, 16 minutes (featuring the voices of Chris Cooper and Ann Dowd)
The Bird and the Whale – Ireland, 6 minutes
Hors Piste – France, 5 minutes
Maestro – France, 2 minutes


About the Des Moines Art Center

Recognized by international art critics as a world-class museum in the heart of the Midwest, the Des Moines Art Center, an AAM-accredited institution, has amassed an important collection with a major emphasis on contemporary art. The collection’s overriding principle is a representation of artists from the 19th century to the present, each through a seminal work. This accounts for an impressive collection that ranges from Edward Hopper’s Automat to Jasper Johns’ Tennyson, Henri Matisse’s Woman in White, Georgia O’Keeffe’s From the Lake No. 1, Francis Bacon’s Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, Bill Viola’s Ascension, and Cecily Brown’s Half-Bind.

The Art Center’s physical complex marries with the collection for a totally integrated experience. The collection is housed in three major buildings, each designed by a world-renowned architect—Eliel Saarinen, I. M. Pei, and Richard Meier. With the exception of special events, admission to the museum is free.

In September 2009, the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park opened in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park. Philanthropists John and Mary Pappajohn provided funding for and donated 31 sculptures by internationally acclaimed contemporary artists to the Des Moines Art Center. The collection of sculptures by such artists as Ai Weiwei, Louise Bourgeois, Deborah Butterfield, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Olafur Eliasson, Keith Haring, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Yayoi Kusama, Jaume Plensa, Richard Serra, and Joel Shapiro is the most significant donation of artwork to the Art Center in a single gift in the museum’s history. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park is a collaboration of the Pappajohns, the City of Des Moines, the Des Moines Art Center, and numerous corporate and private donors.

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