The Animated Short List

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In early November, the Academy unveiled the ten short films that qualified to run in the Best Animated Short race. Surprisingly, Pixar’s Blue Umbrella didn’t make the cut–but neither did some of the other festival favorites of 2013. Instead, we have some a heady mix of amazing shorts from big studios like Disney and projects submitted by indie animators around the world. It’s going to be a very closely watched race. However, most industry analysts agree on one thing: Mickey is a shoo-in, baby!

Feral

Feral

Feral
Daniel Sousa (U.S./Portugal)
Type of Animation: Digital 2D
Story: Partly inspired by the real-life story of Kaspar Houser, Feral uses stark, haunting designs to tell the story of a wild boy found in the woods by a hunter and brought into civilization. Alienated by his new environment, the boy tries to use his forest skills to adapt.
Qualifying Win: Best Animation – Anima Mundi

Mickey Mouse in Get a Horse!

Mickey Mouse in Get a Horse!

Mickey Mouse in Get a Horse!
Lauren MacMullan (U.S.)
Type of Animation: 2D/stereo CG
Story: Disney’s first crack at a Mickey theatrical short since 1995 follows Mickey (voiced using old recording of Uncle Walt himself), Minnie and their pals Horace Horsecolla and Clarabelle Cow on a musical wagon ride. Thanks to 3-D magic, Mickey is able to put ol’ Peg-Leg Pete in his place when he tries to run them off the road. The short premiered at Annecy and will screen ahead of the CG feature Frozen (Nov. 27).

Gloria Victoria

Gloria Victoria

Gloria Victoria
Theodore Ushev (Canada)
Type of Animation: 3D
Story: Produced with the National Film Board of Canada, the finale to Ushev’s acclaimed 20th Century trilogy blends painterly surrealism and cubism to explore the rise of the war machine from Dresden to Guernica, from the Spanish Civil War to Star Wars—all set to the rousing “invasion” theme from Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony (No. 7). The short was nominated for the Annecy Best Short Cristal this year.

Hollow Land

Hollow Land

Hollow Land
Michelle & Uri Kranot (Denmark/France/Canada)
Type of Animation: 2D/Mixed Media
Story: This texturally rich film tells the evocative story of Berta and Solomon, who arrive in a land that promises respite from their many journeys—but is it the Utopia they’ve dreamed of, or just another way-station? This exploration of the eternal human search for home has shown up well at festivals like Encounters, where it won a special mention award.

The Missing Scarf

The Missing Scarf

The Missing Scarf
Eoin Duffy (Ireland)
Type of Animation: CG
Story: Created with the help of the Irish Film Board, Raidio Teilifis Eireann and the Arts Council, this mod-cute CG romp narrated by George Takei follows Albert the squirrel on a quest for his missing scarf, on which he uncovers far bigger problems.
Qualifying Win: Best Animation Film – Los Angeles International Short Film Festival

Mr. Hublot

Mr. Hublot

Mr. Hublot
Laurent Witz & Alexandre Espigares (Luxembourg/France)
Type of Animation: CG
Story: This short, which has been wildly received by the ultra hip Steampunk fan community, centers on a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, scared of change and the outside world. The arrival of a Robot Pet turns his live upside down as he’s forced to share his home with this invasive mechanical companion. The short has made impressive showings at festivals like 3D Image, Warsaw and Savannah.

Possessions (Tsukumo)

Possessions (Tsukumo)

Possessions (Tsukumo)
Shuhei Morita (Japan)
Type of Animation: 2D
Story: Part of Katsuhiro Otomo’s Short Peace omnibus, the short (produced at Sunrise) is set in the 18th century, where deep in the mountains a man loses his way and comes across a small shrine. As he enters the strange relic, the space transforms into a room from a different world. The film was nominated for the Annecy Cristal in 2012.

Requiem for Romance

Requiem for Romance

Requiem for Romance
Jonathan Ng (Canada)
Type of Animation: 2D
Story: Inspired by ’50s Shanghai water and ink animation and old school Kung Fu films, Requiem juxtaposes a soft phone conversation over animation of energetic martial arts swordplay to explicate the problems of two lovers at odds with their traditional values.

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom

Room on the Broom
Jan Lachauer & Max Lang (U.K.)
Type of Animation: CG
Story: From the producers of the two Gruffalo shorts comes an adaptation of author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s holiday tale about a travelling witch whose willingness to accept all and sundry animal friends onto her flying broomstick pays off in the end. The special, starring Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon, Timothy Spall, Martin Clunes, Sally Hakins, David Walliams and narrator Simon Pegg, was produced by Magic Light Pictures for BBC One and recently aired as a Halloween treat on PBS Kids Sprout in the U.S.

Subconscious Password

Subconscious Password

Subconscious Password
Chris Landreth (U.S./Canada)
Type of Animation: CG
Story: Landreth, who won the Oscar for his biographical short Ryan, again delves into the realms of “psychorealism.” This time, the jumping off point is the social faux pas of forgetting someone’s name. The NFB-funded project generously borros from the TV game show Password to illustrate the subconscious effort behind remembering.
Qualifying Win: Best Short Film – Annecy Int’l Animation Film Festival