Oscars Shows Love for 'Open Heart'

Local producer gets Academy nod for Rwanda short doc

Oscars Shows Love for 'Open Heart'

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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Documentaries
Bart Layton on Secrets, Lies, and <i>American Animals</i>
Q&A: Bart Layton on American Animals
How the documentarian turned true crime tropes on their heads

Richard Whittaker, June 14, 2018

First Trailer for <i>The Orange Years</i> Gets Slimy
First Trailer for The Orange Years Gets Slimy
Austin-made documentary about Nickelodeon's TV revolution

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 11, 2017

More by Richard Whittaker
A Twisted Family Reunited in Southern Gothic Horror <i>What Josiah Saw</i>
A Twisted Family Reunited in Southern Gothic Horror What Josiah Saw
Director Vincent Grashaw discusses the versions that almost were

Aug. 6, 2022

Bullet Train
Brad Pitt bumbles entertainingly through a hyperviolent slapstick comedy

Aug. 5, 2022


Documentaries, Open Heart, Rwanda, Sudan, The Salaam Centre for Cardiac Surgery

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle