Friday, November 08, 2013

86th Academy Awards Animated Shorts Shortlist

A few days ago the Academy announced that from the fifty-six (56) films that qualified, ten (10) Animated Shorts will advance in the voting process.

After watching all available materials my first impression is that Feral and Mr. Hublot are the ones that absolutely call my attention for the story and the execution.

The following are the shortlisted films.

Feral, Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa), USA, 13 minutes
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.

Get a Horse!, Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation), USA, 6 minutes
Get a Horse! begins traditionally enough: Mickey and friends are enjoying a ride through the great outdoors when they are waylaid by antagonist Peg-Leg Pete. Till this point, the picture mimics the look and feel of vintage, Steamboat Willie-era Disney: black and white, simple shapes, and a rubbery consistency to the limbs and movements of the characters. This portion of the short features hand-drawn animation supervised by veteran Eric Goldberg, who designed the Genie in 1992's Aladdin, and the picture is intentionally degraded with artifacts and filters to give it a vibe of authentically aged film stock. Completing the illusion is Walt Disney himself as the voice of Mickey Mouse, a feat accomplished by piecing together audio recordings from studio archives. Shortly after Pete arrives on the scene, the fourth wall is broken, and things really get interesting. As Mickey and his cohorts jump off the screen, out of their black-and-white world, they dive into a widescreen universe of color where they become fully realized as CG-animated characters. A series of chase scenes finds them quickly alternating between the two realities, with the hand-drawn and CG elements deftly mixing in a surprisingly seamless way.

Gloria Victoria, Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada), Canada, 7 minutes
Recycling elements of surrealism and cubism, this animated short by Theodore Ushev focuses on the relationship between art and war. Propelled by the exalting “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (No. 7), the film presents imagery of combat fronts and massacres, leading us from Dresden to Guernica, from the Spanish Civil War to Star Wars. It is at once a symphony that serves the war machine, that stirs the masses, and art that mourns the dead, voices its outrage and calls for peace.

Hollow Land (Terre d'écueil), Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada), Denmark, Canada and France, 14 minutes

With their old bathtub in tow, a displaced couple arrives in a new land, where all is not as they expected it to be. Awaiting the birth of their first child, and in their effort to adjust to an oddly oppressive environment, they are challenged by cultural/gender roles and customs. “Hollow Land” is a brilliant animated film that captures the disruptions, and corrosive anxieties that are part of daily life for so many immigrants, refugees and misfits around the world. Asburd, dark and awkardly playful; it is an insightful story about humans.

Watch full short here.

The Missing Scarf, Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.), Ireland, 7 minutes

On a quest to find his missing scarf, Albert the squirrel unearths problems far beyond his own.

The Missing Scarf – Teaser from Eoin Duffy on Vimeo.

Mr. Hublot, Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions), Luxembourg and France, 11 minutes

Mr Hublot is a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, scared of change and the outside world. Robot Pet's arrival turns his life upside down: he has to share his home with this very invasive companion...

「九十九」 Tsukumo (Possessions), Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.), Japan, 14 minutes

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. (Short is part of Katsuhiro Otomo and Sunrise's anthology Short Peace at Annecy film Festival)

Requiem for Romance, Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.), Canada, 8 minutes

A modern-day couple’s secret love affair comes to a bittersweet end during an evening phone call. Cell phone static creates distance between them as they anguish over details of their relationship. But the visuals of the film reveal something entirely different: the epic re-imagining of their relationship set in feudal China, where family influence, cultural pressures and their lust for adventure makes more sense. Coming this spring, love goes to war over art.

Room on the Broom, Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures), UK, 25 minutes

To the annoyance of her cat a kindly witch allows a dog,a bird and a frog who have helped her retrieve things she has lost to ride on her broomstick,making it top heavy. The broom is destroyed by a fire-breathing dragon who threatens to eat the witch but the creatures band together to impersonate a monster and save her. As a result she fashions a luxurious new broom with seats on which they can all ride comfortably.

Watch full short here.

Subconscious Password, Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment), Canada, 11 minutes

In this short animation, Oscar®-winning director Chris Landreth uses a common social gaffe - forgetting somebody’s name - as the starting point for a mind-bending romp through the unconscious. Inspired by the classic TV game show Password, the film features a wealth of animated celebrity guests who try (and try, and try) to prompt Charles to remember the name. Finally, he realizes he will simply have to surrender himself to his predicament.

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

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