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Don't Miss These Hidden Cinematic Oscar Gems

Let's be honest, most people watching the Oscars couldn't care less about the awards for short films. But these cinematic gems are some of the most interesting and innovative films to be honored by the Academy.

"The shorts program offers a lot of creative freedom that directors and filmmakers don't necessarily have in a feature," said Lori Donnelly, the SIFF Cinema Programs Manager. "They can be more stylistically inventive, they can really experiment with the format."

There are three shorts categories at the Oscars: Animated, Live-action, and documentary.

One of the favorites in the animated category is a film by Pixar called 'Piper' - an amazing coming of age story told from a very low bird's eye view of a young sandpiper learning how to get by in the surf. If you're looking for something a little more edgy, 'Pear Cider and Cigarettes' serves up a stylistic story of addiction and self-destruction. It's from the people who brought you 'Aeon Flux' and the Gorillaz music videos.

If intense reality is your thing, the films in the short docs category won't disappoint. Follow the lives of young children in the battle torn city of Aleppo in 'Watani: My Homeland', experience life and death decision in an intensive care unit in the film, or put yourself right in the middle of the European immigrant crisis with the film '4.1 Miles.'

Turn up the drama in the live action category with films around the world. Standouts include a Spanish film called 'Timecode' in which a couple of parking lot security guards develop a strange relationship through surveillance cameras. The Hungarian film 'Sing' pulls the curtain back on the corrupt and cruel world of an award winning children's choir. And 'Silent Nights' is the story of a young Danish woman who falls in love with an African Refugee with a dark past, struggling to survive in his new home.

If you'd like to check out some of these amazing films before the Oscars, you're in luck. You can see the shorts at the SIFF Cinema Uptown starting on Friday, February 10th. The program includes films from the animated and live action shorts.