Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Animated Shorts Academy Nominations

Each year at the same time I am waiting eagerly to know to whom the Oscars go; not in the best actors categories, nor the best picture, director, but for the best animated short film. This category, which is hardly mentioned before and after the ceremony, is the most one that attracts my attention, and that's because of many reasons.

Firstly, the films are really short which means that you can watch them all together in a far less time than feature films. Secondly, shorts are usually more hard to do than the feature films; it is harder to find a short appealing story, it is harder to leave a lasting impression from a movie that usually doesn't exceed the half hour mark. Thirdly, these are shorts and animations, so it is very easy for many to neglect them, and indeed they are neglected by many.

This year's nominations come from different countries and with different styles and genres.

1- I Met The Walrus

A short animation about an interview that John Lennon did with a 14 years old boy in 1969. The film is made by simply drawn illustrations which go along with Lennon's speech and contains many symbolism. That 14 years old boy is now 53 and he's the producer of I Met The Walrus.

Website: www.imetthewalrus.com
Country: Canada
Technique: Handdrawings, 2D.
Runtime: 5 min.

2- Madame Tutli-Putli

A stop motion accompanied by real eyes integration into the main characters, the film is visually impressive. Along with its original music and story, that's propably what granted it a nomination. Madame Tutli-Putli is in a journey both in reality and in her imagination. While travelling in a train, she's also confrontin her demons.

Website: www.nfb.ca/webextension/madame-tutli-putli/
Country: Canada
Technique: Stop Motion
Runtime: 17 min.

3- Même les pigeons vont au paradis (aka. Even Pigeons Go To Heaven)

An ironic 3D short film about a priest who races death to reach an old man and to sell to him a machine that will transport him into paradise before he dies. Death, faith and salesmen attitudes, all are combined in this beautiful short film.

Website: www.buf.com
Country: France
Technique: CGI
Runtime: 9 min.
Trailer: http://www.samueltourneux.com/PAGE1/page1.html

4- Moya Iyobov (aka. My Love)

The most eye-catching of them all, this short film has its unique style. Aleksander Petrov's paint-on-glass technique, together with the romantic story and the russian atmosphere, makes this movie a serious contender for the award. It is worth to mention that Petrov already won an Oscar in 1999 for his short paint-on-glass animated film The Old Man And The Sea.

Website: www.dago.ru
Country: Russia
Technique: Paint-On-Glass
Runtime: 26 min.

5- Peter & The Wolf

The classic fable about the fearless child set to Prokofiev's musical score, this movie is a combination of three different techniques producing a unique looking version of the story.

Website: www.breakthrufilms.co.uk/peterandthewolffilm/index.html
Country: Russia
Technique: CGI, Puppets, and Stop Motion.
Runtime: 33 min.
Trailer: http://www.breakthrufilms.co.uk/peterandthewolffilm/trailer.html

My Opinion: Once again this category proves to be the richest when it comes to creativity and techniques. With the absence of Pixar's shorts, it was an empty seat for others to be nominated, specially that there's not a single American film in this category this year. With the exception of Even Pigeons Can Go To Heaven, all the shorts well deserve the nominations (IMO). If you want to watch the films yourself just do a search in YouTube; most if not all of them are available there.

Predictions: I always suck at predictions, but for me it is either I Met The Walrus, or My Love; both movies truly stand out from the others. However, I think I Met The Walrus will eventually be the winner.