2017 Oscars: Animated Short Contenders

Award season is slowly approaching for the Academy Awards. This year the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation branch has deemed eligible a record 70 animated shorts. There are ten shortlist animations followed by the final five nominations for the Oscars. Last year had 60 total animated shorts.  Previous years included 33 in 2010 to 58 in 2014. The Academy has yet to release the contenders but here is a list of contenders I believe that will make the cut for this years shortlist. The contenders are a varied lot shot in many styles, from the shortest, BAFTA-winner Ainslie Henderson’s “Stems” (Scotland), to the longest, Rob Valley’s “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada) at 35 minutes, just under the 40-minute mark. Disney has also been pushing two shorts this year, Alan Barillaro’s “Piper” and Leo Matsuda’s “Inner Workings.” Pixar has recently released a captivating independent short, “Borrowed Time.” I expect to Pixar to mean a strong contender for this year but I do hope a lot of the international films get recognized as well. The five nominees will be announced January 24, 2017.

1. Ainslie Henderson’s, “Stems” (Scotland)

Trailer for a new very short, short film about making puppet making make music. featuring the music of Poppy Ackroyd
poppyackroyd.com
Made possible by Puppet Animation Scotland.

2. Rob Valley’s, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada)

Drink and smoke…that’s what Techno Stypes really likes to do, and fight. He was in no condition to fight. He was sick, really sick. His disease had whittled him down to a shadow of his former self. He was crippled from a car accident when he was 17 but that’s not how he lost his big toe. He lost that in a motorbike accident, yeah he was broken alright… what the hell was he fighting for anyway and what was he still doing in China? His father had given me two clear instructions: 1. Get Techno to stop drinking long enough to receive the liver transplant, and 2. Get him back home to Vancouver. This was not going to be easy.

3. Georges Schwizgebel, “Erlking” (Switzerland)

Continue reading

2017 Oscar Predictions: Best Animation

Here is a list of the few animations I believe that will make the top lists of Best Animation at the Oscars this year: Of course there is room for development.

Finding Dory (Pixar/Disney)
The film premiered at the El Capitan Theatre in Los Angeles on June 8, 2016, and was released in the United States on June 17, 2016. The film was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $1 billion worldwide, becoming the second Pixar film to cross this mark following Toy Story 3 (2010). The film set numerous records, including the biggest animated opening of all time in North America, emerging as the biggest animated film of all time in the U.S. and has become the biggest Pixar film release in China.

One year after reuniting Nemo with his father, Marlin, Dory has become a helping hand in raising Nemo. One day during a lesson with Nemo’s class, Dory recalls through a childhood flashback that she has a family. She decides to look for them but finds her short-term memory loss to be an obstacle. The only thing she remembers is that they lived at the Jewel of Morro Bay.

Kimi no Na wa / Your name (Funimation)
Kimi no Na Wa has now surpassed Studio Ghibli and Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo anime film, as well as James Cameron’s Avatar film. The only anime films to earn more are Ghibli and Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Mononoke . Kimi no Na Wa will be released by Funimation before 2017 to qualify for an Oscar. Your Name will run at Los Angeles’ Laemmle Music Hall for one week, Dec. 2 to 9, qualifying it for the 2016 Oscars. A film must run for a week in LA county in order to qualify. A wider theatrical release is planned for the first quarter of 2017.

The film, themed around “miracles and love,” follows the story of high school students Mitsuha and Taki. In dreams, they swap bodies. While a love story, Kimi no Na Wa features several more layers of complexity as the two protagonists search for the secret to their dream swapping. The story reportedly takes inspiration from Torikaebaya Monogatari, a 12th-century tale where two siblings display the mannerisms of the opposite sex.


Continue reading

2016: Raindance Film Festival

Raindance showcases features, shorts and music videos by filmmakers from the UK and around the world celebrating and supporting independent, new and alternative filmmakers not just during the 12 day festival but throughout the year.

raindance_2016.jpgThe 24th Raindance Film Festival will take place from the 21st September – 2nd October 2016 in Central London (Piccadilly Circus), screening 100 feature films and over 150 short films.
Program

Raindance Film Festival is officially recognised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences USA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the British Independent Film Awards. Selected shorts will qualify for Oscar® and BAFTA nominations. British short films that play in competition and all British features that play in 2016 will be eligible for entry for the 2016 British Independent Film Awards BIFA. Amongst others, Raindance has hosted the UK premieres of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Blair Witch Project, Dead Man’s Shoes, Memento, Humpday, Love Exposure, Ghost World, Capturing the Friedmans, Down Terrace, I Origins and Old Boy. passes-800-x-400-750x400.jpglaudits from press and public alike

2016: Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival

Encounters is the UK’s leading short film and animation festival. The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and a unique meeting place for the industry. The festival is from September 20 to September 25, 2016 in Bristol, UK.EBksM8UU.jpeg

Encounters Festival presents one of the world’s leading International Competitions for short film and animation, and is also an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or and a qualifying festival for The Academy Awards®.

The 22nd Encounters Festival in 2016 will present the annual International Competition showcasing the best new short films from around the world, alongside an intensive industry programme featuring masterclasses, panel discussions, talks and workshops with leading figures from the film and animation industries.

So whether you are a filmmaker looking to launch or develop your career, an Industry professional wanting to stay abreast of what’s new or a film lover wanting to soak up the festival atmosphere by watching great films and special events, come along to the next festival for a truly inspiring week of short film celebration!

 

2016: Kaputt

An animated documentary short about the central prison for women in the former GDR, based on interviews with former prisoners. The movie is directed by Volker schlecht and Alexander Lahl. The cast includes Gabriele Stotzer and Birgit Willschutz. Country of origin is German and is also known as the Broken: The Women’s prison at Hoheneck. The run time is about 7 minutes long. The studio is Die Kulturingenieure.
kaputt_stuttgart-1280x600
The movie has received good reviews and won the grand prix short at the 23rd Stuttgart Festival of Animated FIlm (ITFS) in May. The movie has been able to produce ” a powerful record of the strength and cruelty of human nature. With raw and haunting images, the film examines a part of history which should not be forgotten.” The prize of the event was 15,000 euros. I expect this movie to get some recognition at the Annie’s this year as well as at the Oscars.

Oscars 2015: Animated Shorts

Thank you to the Detroit Film Theater and the Detroit Insitute of Arts  for hosting the 2015 Oscars shorts program. The winners will be announced at the Oscars on February 28th.

1. Sanjay’s Super Team ( USA – Sanjay Pael)

In Sanjay’s Super team, the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios; accomplished by artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, first generation Indian – American boy whose love for western pop – culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. ( 7 minutes )

2. World of Tomorrow ( USA – Don Hertzfeldt)

A little girl named Emily is taken on a fantastical tour of her distant future by a surprising visitor who reveals unnerving secrets about humanity’s fate. ( 17 minutes )

3. Bear Story ( Chile – Gabriel Osorio )

Every day, a melancholy old bear takes a mechanical diorama that he has created out to his street corner. For a coin, passerby can  look into the peephole of his invention, which tells the story of a circus bear who longs to escape and return to the family from which he was taken. ( 11 minutes )

4. We Can’t Live Without Cosmos ( Russia – Konstantin Bronzit )

Two best friends have dreamed since childhood of becoming cosmonauts, and together they endure the rigors of training and public scrutiny, and make the sacrifices necessary to achieve their shared goal. ( 16 minutes )

5. Prologue ( UK – Richard Williams)
PROLOGUEweb
Clocking in at six minutes, Prologue describes an incident in the Spartan-Athenian wars of 2,400 years ago. In it, a small girl bears witness as warriors battle to death. The dialog – free project utilizes natural sounds to complement the intense animation. ( 6 minutes)

The Oscars: Best Animation

animated short

  1. Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran)

    Michael Stone, a middle aged motivational speaker who is grappling with an existential crisis, attends a customer service convention in Cincinnati to give a speech. At the hotel, he meets and falls for Lisa, a seemingly ordinary woman who sparks his imagination and energizes him to reexamine his life.
  2. Boy And The World (Alê Abreu)

    Despite his family’s poverty, young Cuca lives a satisfying life, full of wonder at his rural surroundings, until his father goes on a train trip and disappears. While searching for his father, Cuca meets a wide variety of people as he journeys from a farming camp to the ocean and a large factory and then back to the big city. Continue reading