And Then There Were 10!

This past award sea­son, 56 an­i­mated shorts were qual­i­fied to be con­sid­ered for the Academy Awards. Then, it was up to the Academy’s spe­cial se­lec­tion com­mit­tee to nar­row the field down to 10 eclec­tic ti­tles. On Jan­uary 16, we’ll find out which five shorts

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56 an­i­mated shorts were qual­i­fied to be con­sid­ered for the Academy Awards, here’s our run-down of the short­listed films.

Feral

Di­rec­tor: Daniel Sousa Pro­ducer: Daniel Sousa

Synop­sis: A wild boy is found in the woods by a soli­tary hunter and brought back to civ­i­liza­tion. Alien­ated by a strange new en­vi­ron­ment, the boy tries to adapt by us­ing the same strate­gies that kept him safe in the for­est.

Back­ground: This haunt­ing 2D an­i­mated short has been a fes­ti­val fa­vorite all year long. The 13-minute short was the win­ner of the FIPRESCI Crit­ics’ Prize, Ju­nior Jury Award and was nom­i­nated for the pres­ti­gious Cristal award at the An­necy fes­ti­val and the Short Film Jury Prize at Sun­dance in 2013. Sousa’s pre­vi­ous works Mino­taur and Fa­ble also re­ceived much ac­claim glob­ally. He used hand­drawn Flash, pen­cil draw­ings, painted tex­tures and dig­i­tal com­posit­ing to tell the story of a feral child.

Web­site: daniel­sousa.com/feral

Get a Horse!

Di­rec­tor: Lauren MacMul­lan Pro­ducer: Dorothy McKim Stu­dio: Walt Dis­ney Fea­ture An­i­ma­tion

Synop­sis: Mickey, his fa­vorite gal pal Min­nie Mouse and their friends Ho­race Horsec­ol­lar and Clara­belle Cow en­joy a mu­si­cal wagon ride–un­til Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road. Mickey and Ho­race are forced through the movie screen into the

the­ater, emerg­ing as color, CGI ver­sion of them­selves.

Back­ground: By far, one of the most in­ven­tive and widely loved shorts of the year, this de­light­ful stu­dio project blends clas­sic 2D and 3-D CG el­e­ments seam­lessly and pays ho­mage to clas­sic black-and-white toons as well as the brave, new world of stereo­scopic CG! The short uses archival record­ings of Walt Dis­ney him­self as Mickey Mouse, spliced into char­ac­ter’s di­a­logue. The short, which is nom­i­nated for an An­nie Award, had ma­jor ex­po­sure as it played with Dis­ney’s Frozen in the­aters.

Web­site: dis­neyan­i­ma­tion.com/projects/ge

tahorse

Glo­ria Vic­to­ria

Di­rec­tor: Theodore Ushev

Pro­duced by: Na­tional Film Board of Canada

Synop­sis: This third film in a tril­ogy about war and power—fol­low­ing Tower Bawher (2006) and Drux Flux (2008)—this am­bi­tious 3-D stereo­scopic ex­per­i­men­tal film is set against the “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Len­ingrad Sym­phony and com­ments on mankind’s his­tory of war­fare, the in­stru­ments of war and the artis­tic spirit.

Back­ground: Ushev has been a fes­ti­val fa­vorite in the past with shorts such as Lipsett Diaries and Nightin­gales in De­cem­ber and his new short is no ex­cep­tion, hav­ing been nom­i­nated for a FIPRESCI prize, an An­necy Cristal and a Best An­i­mated Short An­nie Award. The Bul­gar­ian-born Mon­treal res­i­dent re­cently told Dan Sarto, “I don’t want to be di­dac­tic. I just wanted to make a film that shows the en­ergy of ev­ery­thing. Some­thing that goes into your gut, not your mind. My mes­sage would be, ‘Watch an­i­mated films and don’t make war.’”

Web­site: mor­tadel­latv.com or nfb.ca

Hol­low Land

Di­rec­tors: Uri Kra­not and Michelle Kra­not

Pro­duced by: Dansk Teg­ne­film, Les Films de l’Ar­lequin, Na­tional Film Board of Canada

Synop­sis: A hus­band and wife travel to a dis­tant land in a bath­tub to find a new home. Yet, their first op­ti­mistic mo­ments are shat­tered when they re­al­ize the suf­fo­cat­ing re­al­i­ties of their im­mi­grant life.

Back­ground: The re­cip­i­ent of a Car­toon D’Or Spe­cial Men­tion, this strik­ing and un­for­get­table stop-mo­tion short has been a fes­ti­val fa­vorite since its de­but in June. Uri Kra­not’s past fa­vorites in­clude the award-win­ning 2008 short The Heart of Amos Klein and 2005’s God on Our Side.

Web­site: hol­low­land­film.word­press.com

The Miss­ing Scarf

Di­rec­tor: Eoin Duffy

Pro­duced by: Jamie Ho­gan; Belly Cre­ative

Inc.

Synop­sis: Nar­rated by Ge­orge Takei, this black com­edy ex­plores some of life’s com­mon fears, such as fear of the un­known, fail­ure, re­jec­tion and death.

Back­ground: This charm­ing un­der­dog toon has al­ready won the Best An­i­mated Short award at the L.A. Shorts Fest, the Gal­way Film

Fes­ti­val and the Sa­van­nah Film and Video Fes­ti­val. Au­di­ences love the short’s sly sense of hu­mor, and of course, its origami squir­rel. “Hu­man con­nec­tion is the true base of my work. I en­joy pre­sent­ing com­plex in­ter­ac­tions in their most min­i­mal­is­tic form, be it a story with­out dia­log, over-sim­pli­fied re­la­tion­ships, or the (at­tempted) mean­ing of the universe de­liv­ered in un­der one minute,” says Duffy.

Web­site: the­miss­ingscarf.com Di­rec­tor: Shuhei Morita Pro­duced by: Sun­rise

Mr. Hublot

Di­rec­tor: Lau­rent Witz Co-Di­rec­tor: Alexan­dre Espi­gares

Pro­duced by: Zeilt Pro­duc­tions

Synop­sis: The life of a with­drawn, idio­syn­cratic char­ac­ter with OCD is turned up­side down when he has to share his home with a ro­botic pet.

Back­ground: Another one of this year’s stereo­scopic 3-D ti­tles, this hi­lar­i­ous of­fer­ing is set against a fu­tur­is­tic world of sim­ple ro­bots and ma­chines made out of sal­vaged ma­te­rial. It’s a lot of fun to watch the chaos caused by the home­less pooch and the odd­ball hero’s re­ac­tions to the sit­u­a­tion. The highly de­tailed CG an­i­ma­tion is also pris­tine.

Web­site: mrhublot.com

Pos­ses­sions

Synop­sis: One night in the 18th cen­tury, deep in the moun­tains, a man loses his way and comes across a small shrine. As he en­ters, the space trans­forms into a room of a dif­fer­ent world.

Back­ground: This in­ter­est­ing 2D short is part of Kat­suhiro Otomo’s Short Peace om­nibus project that aims to bring to­gether top Ja­panese an­i­ma­tors to ex­plore fu­ture av­enues of ex­pres­sions. Last year, another Short Peace project, Otomo’s Com­bustible was also short­listed for an Os­car, but didn’t re­ceive a nom­i­na­tion. Pos­ses­sions was also nom­i­nated for a Cristal prize at An­necy.

Web­site: short­peace-movie.com

Re­quiem for Ro­mance

Di­rec­tor: Jonathan Ng

Pro­duced by: Kungfu Ro­mance Pro­duc­tions

Synop­sis: A mod­ern-day cou­ple’s se­cret love af­fair comes to a bit­ter­sweet end dur­ing an evening phone call while the short’s vi­su­als of­fer an epic re-imag­in­ing of their re­la­tion­ship set in feu­dal China, where fam­ily in­flu­ence, cul­tural pres­sures and their lust for ad­ven­ture all come into play.

Back­ground: Mon­treal-based indie an­i­ma­tor Ng of­fers a lovely med­i­ta­tion on mod­ern ro­mance and cul­tural clash, us­ing time-lapse wa­ter ink back­grounds shot live on a Red cam­era on var­i­ous pa­per stock. With the mov­ing ink back­grounds shot, Ng then hand-an­i­mated his duelling lovers over the top, frame by frame, us­ing a Wa­com Cin­tiq.

Web­site: jon­jon­phe­nomenon.com

Room on the Broom

Di­rec­tors: Max Lang, Jan Lachauer

Pro­duced by: Magic Light Pic­tures

Synop­sis: Based on the chil­dren’s book by Ju­lia Don­ald­son and Axel Sch­ef­fler, this love- ly CG spe­cial tells the sim­ple story of a kind witch who al­lows a dog, a bird and a frog to ride on her broom­stick, much to the an­noy­ance of her cat.

Back­ground: Made by the team be­hind the award-win­ning The Gruf­falo and The Gruf­falo’s Child, this Stu­dio Soi pro­duc­tion fea­tures the voices of Si­mon Pegg, Gil­lian An­der­son, Rob Bry­don, Ti­mothy Spall and Sally Hawkins. Win­ner of a Cristal Award at An­necy and a Chil­dren’s BAFTA, the short is also nom­i­nated for an An­nie. Di­rec­tor Max Lang was also nom­i­nated in 2011 for The Gruf­falo, while pro­ducer Mike Rose has a long his­tory of mak­ing award-win­ning toons, in­clud­ing Chico & Rita and Aard­man’s Stage Fright and A Close Shave.

Web­site: roomon­the­b­room.com/film

Sub­con­scious Pass­word

Di­rec­tor: Chris Lan­dreth Producers: Marcy Page, Mark Smith

Pro­duced by: Na­tional Film Board of Canada, with the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Seneca Col­lege An­i­ma­tion Arts Center and Cop­per­heart En­ter­tain­ment

Synop­sis: This 3-D an­i­mated film takes an imag­i­nary, comedic look at the in­ner work­ings of the film­maker’s mind as he he tries to re­call some­one’s name at a party and sev­eral celebrity guests try to prompt him to re­mem­ber the name.

Back­ground: This marks Os­car-win­ner Lan­dreth’s ( Ryan) first 3-D film and third with the Na­tional Film Board of Canada. The idea for the film came to Lan­dreth af­ter watch­ing a re­run of Pass­word in 2010. “The film deals with a sit­u­a­tion that all of us have en­coun­tered and I think I have en­coun­tered more than my share of it,” says Lan­dreth. “There are th­ese mini-dra­mas that take place in our ev­ery­day lives. One such mini-drama would be for­get­ting a per­son’s name. The in­dig­nity and em­bar­rass­ment that comes along with that. It’s hap­pened way too many times for me!”

Web­site: www.nfb.ca/film/sub­con­scious_ pass­word

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