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If you’re trying to see all the Oscars contenders on the big screen this year, the animated short films category might present a challenge. But one film that’s been shortlisted in that category is being shown right now in Louisville.
“Daughter” is part of the 21st annual “Animation Show of Shows,” running this week at the Speed Museum.
This year’s show includes 10 short films from seven countries. Two of the films are accompanied by mini documentaries that introduce us more closely to their filmmakers.
Founder and producer Ron Diamond said the inspiration to add those documentaries came from an unlikely place: the Olympics.
“NBC realized when they were running the Olympics, they need to tell us something about the athlete, so we can appreciate their challenges,” Diamond said. He hopes the filmmaker biopics serve the same purpose.
“The idea is that you kind of go into the world for a little bit, and you begin to discover a little bit about them as a human being. And you realize, wait a minute, the film I just saw was funny, but I didn’t realize what the subject of the film was.”
Diamond says part of what makes animation special is that it’s easier for the audience to suspend their disbelief, right from the first frame.
“We accept what we see from the get go, and we stick with it all the way through, when it’s really well done,” he said.
He says short films are to feature films, what poetry is to a novel. It can be less literal, and viewers will go along for the ride.
“We’re understanding who the people are and what their stories are, and we feel for them,” he said. “We go to places you would never imagine.”
In the spirit of New Year’s Eve, Hot Takedown is celebrating the end of 2019 with an all-Rabbit Hole show inspired by the past decade in sports. We assess which league has seen the most change, which champions were the most unlikely and which world records fell — and stood — over the decade.
Jefferson County residents who are facing the possibility of having their heat turned off can soon apply for financial assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Starting on Jan. 6, the Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services will be open for residents to apply for financial help to keep their lights and heat on.
The program is open to residents with a current utility bill past due and residents who’ve received a disconnect notice to apply for assistance. The income limit is at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty limit, or about $2,790 for a family of four per month.
Research has shown this kind of financial assistance is important to health. For instance, low-income older adults are more likely to face having to choose between groceries and keeping the lights and heating on in the winter or summer. And almost 17 percent of household heads with children under age six make decisions to not seek medical care in order to pay their heat bills.
Residents have to provide paperwork including proof of income, social security cards or government documentation of social security numbers and the current bill that is past due or a disconnection notice.
To apply, residents must schedule an appointment utilizing the automated appointment system at (502) 991-8391. Residents who are home bound can call (502) 780-7937 for help.
LIHEAP, funded through the Department of Health and Human Services via Congress, started in 1981 to help low-income households pay heating and cooling utility bills.
Dec. 30 is the deadline to submit a comment to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services over a proposed fee hike to access some records, some of which date back more than 100 years and are useful to genealogists.
The USCIS wants to increase the fee for obtaining immigration files by 500%, which means some people would have to pay more than $600 for the documents. The move would affect families of the millions of people who immigrated to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
“This is immigration history,” Renée Carl, a genealogist in Washington, D.C., who works with clients who use the records, tells NPR’s David Greene.
“If someone is coming from a displaced persons camp in Europe, they would have filled out all this paperwork while still in Europe,” Carl says. “Then you get the information on when they come in. You get a photograph if there’s a visa file. You almost always get a photograph.”
There are millions of records held at the agency, Carl says. These include alien registration files, files for certificates of naturalization and visa files, if one applied for a visa to come to the United States. “There might be something called a registry file if, during the process of naturalization, the government couldn’t find you on a ship manifest, so they were trying to document how you entered the country in the first place,” Carl says.
For people trying to trace their family histories, these files can offer critical information, including photos. She says genealogical research goes beyond just wanting to know relatives’ names; people want to understand the kind of lives their ancestors lived.
“Sometimes you’ve never seen a picture of your great-grandfather or your grandfather other than as a grandfather, not as a young person,” Carl says. “This gives you a way to understand what their lives were like when you can’t ask them the questions anymore.”
Even when the files don’t contain photos, they almost always include a signature, Carl says, “which is a way to have that human touch in a record.”
USCIS documents can be especially important for populations in the U.S. affected by discriminatory immigration laws, Carl says. These groups include Japanese-born residents who were denied citizenship until after World War II and people of Chinese descent who were subject to immigration and citizenship restrictions between the 1870s and the 1950s.
Carl and colleagues have created a website with more information on the files USCIS has, the proposed fees, as well as how to comment.
She says she first learned about the value of immigration documents when doing research on her own family.
“My grandfather came to this country as a child and became a citizen,” she says. “But in the 1960s, my grandfather had no idea where his certificate of naturalization was. He wanted a copy of it that had his name on it. And he also needed to prove how old he was to Social Security so he could start collecting his benefits.”
He’d come from Eastern Europe as a child and Carl’s grandfather did not have a birth certificate, so in order to prove his age, Carl found letters in his file from the St. Louis school board saying that he started first grade at age 8.
“It gave the name of the school that he attended. These are little things, but it gave me this insight into a person as a child,” she says. “You realize they had this whole life that they lived. So these records are one way to take a peek back into a different part of our immigrant ancestors’ lives.”
If the fee increases go through, Carl says, it would cost a minimum of $240 to simply put in a search request for records from USCIS. The fee would cover some records, she says, “But if there is a paper file, they would add on another $385 to the fee. So that’s a total of $625 for one file on one person.”
Currently, it costs about $65 for a search and another $65 to receive the records.
“There’s a huge difference,” says Carl. “It’s already expensive for records that should be at the National Archives. Many of these records should be at National Archives and free for people to access.”
A USCIS press release says the fees are needed to cover the costs of processing these applications. But Carl says the fees are redundant.
“Our immigrant ancestors paid and filed fees when they filled out the forms in the first place. If these records were transferred over to the National Archives, they would be available for research, and these records would then be held in a place that’s used to handling records all the time, not in an agency that focuses on immigration and naturalization, she says.
NPR’s Gisele Grayson and Jon Hamilton produced this story for the Web.