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Oscars Shows Love for 'Open Heart'

Local producer gets Academy nod for Rwanda short doc
Richard Whittaker, 4:33pm, Thu. Jan. 10, 2013
We may all kvetch about what's missing from the Oscars, but it's always nice when there's some local talent gets an Academy nomination. So three cheers for Austin-based producer Cori Shepherd Stern, whose Open Heart made the cut of the final eight hopefuls for best documentary short.
Directed by Kief Davidson, Open Heart charts the struggle of eight Rwandan kids afflicted with a potentially deadly heart condition, and their desperate trek to Sudan and the Salaam Centre for Cardiac Surgery. That's the war-torn region's only dedicated and free public cardiac center (find out more about their work here.

The children are afflicted with rheumatic heart disease. Endemic in Africa, 300,000 people die every year from the disease, and it many cases it is caused by something as simple as untreated strep throat. The documentary tracks the children, but also the losing political and funding battle against the ever swelling tide. Stern writes, "We have incredible footage" and the film makers "even followed a private meeting with an intense war surgeon and [Sudanese] President Bashir, who's currently wanted by the [International Criminal Court] for war crimes."

It's great news for Stern, who also has her first feature credit coming up really soon. She executive produced next month's zomromcom (that's zombie romantic comedy) Warm Bodies, starring Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class), and featuring Dave Franco, John Malkovich and Rob Corddry.

Warm Bodies opens Feb. 1, and you can expect us to be glued to the TV on Feb. 24 when the Oscars are announced. Here's the trailer for Open Heart.

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