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
56 animated shorts were qualified to be considered for the Academy Awards, here’s our run-down of the shortlisted films.
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.
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.
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
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.
The Missing Scarf
Director: Eoin Duffy
Produced by: Jamie Hogan; Belly Creative
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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