Short films fill tall order as Oscar nominees

Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:32pm EST
 
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By Jordan Riefe

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar week kicked off Tuesday night at a celebration of this year's nominees for live action and short films, who are among the least-known of the 2012 Academy Award contenders but no less important to the movie industry.

Brad Bird, two-time Oscar winner for "The Incredibles" and "Ratatouille," hosted the event in front of a packed house at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The movies were screened and their makers discussed the art form that can launch a filmmaker's career and provide a break for veterans from the commercial grind of making studio-backed feature films.

"Short film is an art form in itself and there are certain topics that I believe can only find their audience if they're done well in short film. A feature film is something totally different, said Stefan Gieren, producer of nominated live action short, "Raju."

Ten films were screened in all, each of the five nominees from the best animated short category followed by the nominees in the best live action group.

Among the animated shorts, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," a paean to the healing power of books, was partially inspired by Hurricane Katrina after it devastated the hometown of New Orleans filmmaker William Joyce.

"In the aftermath of Katrina, the whole city of New Orleans was sort of gray," Joyce told a packed house at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. "It had lost its color and we found drifts of books washed around in the detritus of the storm."

Other animated short film nominees include "Dimanche/Sunday" by Patrick Doyon of Canada, "La Luna" by Pixar Animation's Enrico Casarosa, "A Morning Stroll" by the UK's Grant Orchard, and "Wild Life" by Canada's Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby.

The live action nominees include "Pentecost" by Ireland's Peter McDonald, "Raju" by German Max Zahle, "Time Freak" from New Yorker Andrew Bowler, "Tuba Atlantic" a film school thesis by Norwegian Hallvar Witzo, and "The Shore" by "Hotel Rwanda" director Terry George.   Continued...

 
Director Brad Bird poses on the red carpet during the UK premiere of the movie "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" in London December 13, 2011. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth