The Long and Short of It

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Although the 45 shorts which have been qualified for this year’s Academy Awards have been announced already, this is a list we compiled from all the projects that have won awards at festivals around the world this year. For a more up to date list of Oscar qualifying shorts, visit http://www.animationmagazine.net/oscar-watch-2011/animated-shorts/.

Big Bang Big Boom

Big Bang Big Boom

Short: Big Bang Big Boom
Director: Blu [Italy]
Synopsis: Argentine artist Blu’s trademark stop-motion graffiti technique depicts an “unscientific” perspective on the beginning, evolution and probable end of life.
Qualifying Win: Special Jury Award (Annecy Festival Int’l du Cinéma d’Animation)
Bottle

Bottle

Short: Bottle
Director: Kirsten Lepore (U.S.)
Synopsis: Shot on location, Lepore’s latest stop-motion effort tells the bittersweet story of two characters—a lump of sand and a pile of snow—who form a transoceanic friendship trading objects in a bottle.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (Florida Film Festival); Sparky Award for Best Animated Short (Slamdance Film Festival)
Brick Novax's Diary, Pt. 1 & 2

Brick Novax's Diary, Pt. 1 & 2

Short: Brick Novax’s Diary, Pt. 1 & 2
Director: Matt Piedmont [U.S.]
Synopsis: The first two parts of Piedmont’s four-parter puppet miniseries for HBO’s Funny or Die Presents find Brick Novax preserving his tales of adventure to secure his reputation as the coolest guy in the world.
Qualifying Win: Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking (Sundance Film Festival)
La Bruxa

La Bruxa

Short: La Bruxa
Director: Pedro Solís García [Spain]
Synopsis: In 3D artist García’s directorial debut, an old witch searches for love at any cost.
Qualifying Win: Goya Award for Best Short Animation (Academia de las Artes y Ciencias Cinematograficas de España)
Correspondence

Correspondence

Short: Correspondence
Director: Zach Hyer [Pratt Inst., NY]
Synopsis: A CG-animated tale set in an undefined war, the film explores issues of power abuse and control as the main character risks his life for a frivolous cause.
Qualifying Win: Student Academy Award – Gold Medal (Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences)
Dragonboy

Dragonboy

Short: Dragonboy
Director: Bernardo Warman, Shaofu Zhang, Lisa Allen [Academy of Art Univ., CA]
Synopsis: An epic battle for love and honor unfolds as three children become a princess, knight and dragon in their school play.
Qualifying Win: Student Academy Award – Gold Medal (Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences)
The Eagleman Stag

The Eagleman Stag

Short: The Eagleman Stag
Director: Michael Please (U.K.)
Synopsis: This darkly comic stop-motion piece explores a man’s obsession with the quickening of time that faces us as we age, and his attempts to counter this effect.
Qualifying Win: Best Short Animation (British Academy of Film and Television Arts); Best Animated Short Film (Los Angeles Film Festival); Grand Jury Prize – Animation (Seattle Int’l Film Festival)
Enrique Wrecks the World

Enrique Wrecks the World

Short: Enrique Wrecks the World
Director: David Chai [U.S.]
Synopsis: Chai, an assistant professor at San Jose State University, lends a refreshingly hand-crafted feel to his 2D short in which Enrique learns that “actions speak louder than birds.”
Qualifying Win: First Place – Animation (USA Film Festival)
The External World

The External World

Short: The External World
Director: David O’Reilly [Ireland/Germany/U.S.]
Synopsis: A menagerie of characters in a series of bizarre vignettes are woven together in this trippy CG critique of life and its inherent futility. At least, that’s our best guess.
Qualifying Win: Yoram Gross Award for Best Animation (FlickerFest); Best Short Animation (Guanajuato Int’l Film Festival); Golden Gate Award – Animated Short (San Francisco Int’l Film Festival); Grand Prix – Int’l Competition (Stuttgart Int’l Animation Festival)
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Short: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Directors: William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg (U.S.)
Synopsis: After a violent storm carries off his home, Mr. Morris Lessmore discovers a magical library full of very animated volumes in this CG charmer.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (Cinequest Film Festival); Best Animated Short Film (Cleveland Int’l Film Festival); Best of Show (SIGGRAPH Computer Animation Festival)
Hand Soap

Hand Soap

Short: Hand Soap
Director: Kei Oyama [Japan]
Synopsis: An adolescent boy’s insecurity, body obsession and ill-at-ease family are reflected in details and objects that occasionally take on a life of their own.
Qualifying Win: Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film (Ann Arbor Film Festival)
Kahānikār (The Storyteller)

Kahānikār (The Storyteller)

Short: Kahānikār (The Storyteller)
Director: Nandita Jain [U.K.]
Synopsis: Based on a myth from Southern India, the film explores Nirmala’s relationship with her grandfather, who struggles to recall the details of her favorite story, leading her to take on the role of storyteller.
Qualifying Win: Best Animation (LA Shorts Fest)
Lipsett Diaries (Les Journaux de Lipsett)

Lipsett Diaries (Les Journaux de Lipsett)

Short: Lipsett Diaries (Les Journaux de Lipsett)
Director: Theodore Ushev [Canada]
Synopsis: The haunting hand-painted film explores the troubled life of Canadian experimental animator Arthur Lipsett, who committed suicide in 1986.
Qualifying Win: Genie Award for Best Animated Short (Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television)
The Little Boy and the Beast

The Little Boy and the Beast

Short: The Little Boy and the Beast
Directors: Johannes Weiland, Uwe Heidschötter
Synopsis: In this sweet CG animated short from Studio Soi, a young boy deals with the tribulations of having one’s mother suddenly transformed into a monster. The project was commissioned by German kids channel KI.KA.
Qualifying Win: Special Jury Award – Animation (New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival)
The Lost Town of Switez

The Lost Town of Switez

Short: The Lost Town of Switez
Director: Kamil Polak [Poland/Canada]
Synopsis: Inspired by art of the Middle Ages and 19th century Slavonic paintings, this epic tale of a man’s journey to heroism was crafted with a unique blend of CG techniques and traditional animation in oils.
Qualifying Win: Best Animation (Palm Springs Int’l Shortfest)
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Short: Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp [U.S.]
Synopsis: Equal parts adorable and semi-tragic, this stop-motion short takes us into the world of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (voiced by co-writer and former SNL member Jenny Slate) as he shares facts about his tiny existence.
Qualifying Win: Grand Prize Short (New York Int’l Children’s Film Festival)
Moxie

Moxie

Short: Moxie
Director: Stephen Irwin [U.K.]
Synopsis: Irwin’s trademark smudgy, Noir-ish digital/traditional 2D technique brings us the tale of a pyromaniac bear who misses his mother.
Qualifying Win: Grand Prize for Best Independent Short Animation (Ottawa Int’l Animation Festival)
Nullarbor

Nullarbor

Short: Nullarbor
Director: Alister Lockhart; co-director Patrick Sarell [Australia]
Synopsis: This CG tale from Aussie outfit The LampShade Collective packs the stresses of road rage, nicotine withdrawal and generational conflict into a journey along Australia’s longest, straightest desert road.
Qualifying Win: Holmesglen Award for Best Animation Short Film (Melbourne Int’l Film Festival); Yoram Gross Animation Award (Sydney Film Festival)
Pixels

Pixels

Short: Pixels
Director: Patrick Jean [France]
Synopsis: Old-school videogame characters wreak CG havoc on live footage of New York in this techno-retro animation and fx showpiece.
Qualifying Win: Le Cristal d’Annecy (Annecy Festival Int’l du Cinéma d’Animation)
The Renter

The Renter

Short: The Renter
Director: Jason Carpenter
Synopsis: Carpenter’s digital 2D tale draws from his childhood daycare experiences, centering on a young boy left at his grandmother’s house where a strange man rents a room.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (Atlanta Film Festival)
Something Left, Something Taken

Something Left, Something Taken

Short: Something Left, Something Taken
Director: Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata [U.S.]
Synopsis: This dark comedy from Porter/Kuwahata’s Tiny Inventions mixed-media animation team documents a vacationing couple’s chance encounter with a man they believe to be the Zodiac Killer.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (Nashville Film Festival)
Specky Four-Eyes

Specky Four-Eyes

Short: Specky Four-Eyes
Director: Jean-Claude Rozec [France]
Synopsis: When little Arnaud learns he has to wear a pair of hideous, painful glasses, he find he much prefers the vague world of his nearsightedness, populated with fanciful creatures from his imagination.
Qualifying Win: Best Animation (Aspen Shortsfest)
The Tannery

The Tannery

Short: The Tannery
Director: Iain Gardner (U.K.)
Synopsis: When Fox encounters the ghost of a rabbit, they develop an usual relationship. But when a Hunter prepares a pelt for market, and Fox learns of his connection to The Tannery.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival)
The Wonder Hospital

The Wonder Hospital

Short: The Wonder Hospital
Director: Beomsik Shimbe Shim [S. Korea/U.S.]
Synopsis: A blend of CG animation and puppetry weave the surreal tale of a mysterious hospital where a girl’s desire for beauty sends her chasing around the hospital only to find an irreversible end.
Qualifying Win: Best Animated Short (South By South West)

Three for the Road

In addition to the qualifying festival winners profiled in this issue, the following three studio heavyweights are also likely to show up on the Oscar short list this year:

La Luna

La Luna

Short: La Luna
Director: Enrico Casarosa
Synopsis: A young boy discovers his family’s unusual line of work in this wonderful short directed by Pixar’s gifted head of story.
The Ballad of Nessie

The Ballad of Nessie

Short: The Ballad of Nessie
Directors: Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Kevin Deters
Synopsis: The legendary Loch Ness Monster and his best friend McQuack the Duck fight an evil land developer in this 2D Disney short.
I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat

I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat

Short: I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat
Director: Matthew O’Callaghan
Synopsis: Using recordings by the legendary Mel Blanc, this new Looney Tunes short gives us a 3-D, CG take on the battle between Tweety Bird and Sylvester the Cat. Granny is voiced by the amazing June Foray.