We are in the midst of my favorite time of the year; the motion picture award season. The Academy Awards are Feb. 22nd, and that means its time for the Oscar nominated short films to come to theatres. By the way, the Atlanta Film Festival has been an Oscar qualifier for both the live action and the animated short films. The live-action shorts are often springboards to feature film careers, and a number of short films have later been turned into full feature films. The animated shorts are a delight to watch and can run the gamut of traditional animation to incredible groundbreaking techniques.READ MORE: Bette Midler And Macy Gray Address Backlash Over Comments
Just this week it was announced that they will be only one of fourteen film festivals in the US that will be a qualifier for three different categories, as they have added the documentary shorts to the qualification. This year two of the films from last year’s Atlanta Film Festival made the Oscar nominations, the live action short “Butter Lamp” and the animated short “The Dam Keeper.”
I had a chance to see the Animated and Live Action shorts programs and here are my thoughts on the films:
Short Films (Live Action):
“Butter Lamp” (2013)
An amusing film about a young photographer and his assistant as they photograph various Tibetan nomads in front of large canvas backgrounds. It’s an inventive film as the camera stays in one place throughout the film. We get to see everyone from a couple celebrating their impending marriage to a large family get their pictures taken in front of backgrounds such as the great wall or Disneyland.
“Boogaloo and Graham” (2014)
The story of two young Belfast boys given two baby chicks by their father in 1978. The boys jump headfirst into raising the chickens, much to the distress of their mother. It’s an entertaining film with plenty of heartwarming moments.
A young Afghan woman, working in Germany, travels to the city in order to send money to her sick father. Brigitte Beveler gives a touching performance as the girl trying to survive in the big, harsh world.
“The Phone Call” (2013)
A shy woman (Sally Hawkins) works in a crisis center when she gets the phone call that every social worker dreads. A man (Jim Broadbent has taken pills in an attempt to commit suicide and won’t give out his real name or address. This is probably the most moving film of the bunch and features a wonderfully subtle performance by Sally Hawkins.
This is the best film of the live-action shorts. After a chance encounter at a busy airport, a woman under false pretenses gives a music researcher a ride to Jerusalem. The film is unafraid to explore those quiet moments between to people trying to get to know each other. There is great chemistry between Sarah Adler and Ulrich Thomsen, and the film is beautifully shot. It’s a wonderful film that perfectly fits the short genre.
Short Films (Animated)READ MORE: Nipsey Hussle: Verdict Reached In Trial 'Guilty'
“Me and My Moulton” (2014)
The story is about the middle child of a family of five and her quest to get a bike. The unconventional family lives in an ultra-modern house that is decorated as if it were a museum. The animation is bright and flowing in this lovely tale of appreciating the uniqueness of your own family.
“A Single Life” (2014)
Pia is about to sit down to enjoy a pizza when she receives a gift of a vinyl record. She discovers that as she plays the song, she can time travel throughout her life. This is the funniest of the Oscar nominated films and has an imaginative and surprising ending.
“The Bigger Picture” (2014)
The tale of two brothers, one responsible and hard working. The other brother is a playboy who can’t keep a job. Their love for their elderly mother is what unites them. This is the most creative of the five films nominated. The animation is outstanding as the characters are drawn life size on walls in a live action set. The combination of the drawn and live action animation is simply amazing.
This is Walt Disney’s entry and was shown before last year’s Big Hero Six. An unseen man finds a puppy on the streets and adopts it. The dog’s first love is food that joyfully devours everything placed before him. We see the love life of the man through the eyes of the dog. Considering that Disney has produced some of the great animated shorts in the past, this film is a little disappointing. It’s just not as innovating as their films in the past, and the storyline is one of the weakest of recent years.
“The Dam Keeper” (2014)
A young pig is in command of the town’s windmill, which keeps out pollution from coming into the town. The young pig is looked down by the other students of the school they attend. The pig’s world is changed when a new student arrives. This is the best of the bunch, an incredibly beautiful film that dazzles with both its animation and its storyline. “The Dam Keeper” is a highly creative film that is a joy to watch.
The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015, both Live Action and Animated is now playing exclusively at Landmark Midtown Art Cinema
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