[caption align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Nick Park's A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH, featured in the 2010 Oscar Animated Shorts Program"][/caption]
2010 Oscar Shorts Program opens Friday at South Lamar -- ANIMATED & LIVE ACTION
If you boil the average feature-length movie down to its central question, you usually end up with a very fine sediment of Answer resting on a sludge of capricious character musings and stylized packing peanuts. This is obviously not true of all feature-length films, but for the mainstream fare, run-time is nearly as important to success as quality. Exhibit A: TRANSFORMERS 2. Assuming you, the reader, agrees that the quality of this film was sub-...human, consider the fact that the entire plot/story/meaning of the film could have only taken up 10 to 15-minutes of your valuable time. In fact, that movie took up almost 2 and a half hours or your valuable time and grossed nearly a billion dollars worldwide. If the movie had actually been only 15 minutes long, it would have never seen a theatrical release and probably would have grossed just under nothing. It would have been a helluva short film, though.
The art of the short film format does not get the respect it deserves. A filmmaker's ability to slice all the fat off a story and delivery a Grade-A piece of prime-cut narrative is a feat more challenging than killing 3o minutes of screen-time with cleavage and explosions. And yet, at the end of the day, these wee gems of the cinema are shelved on the margins of the art-form, most only seen by a few, dedicated festival-goers and the families of those involved.
The only mainstream glimmer that the short film is still alive and well is every year when the Academy-Award nominations come out and we get to hear the praise of ten little films we never knew existed and probably won't ever see. The best of the best in their medium, but kept under the radar by the feature-length leviathan of commercial filmmaking.
But like every year, the Alamo gives these little films the big screen treatment they deserve, so film-lovers of all shapes and sizes, see these movies!
ANIMATED SHORTS PROGRAM
FRENCH ROAST Dir. Fabrice O. Joubert (French, 8 min.) In a fancy Parisian Cafe, an uptight businessman discovers he forgot to bring his wallet and bides his time by ordering more coffee.
GRANNY O'GRIMM'S SLEEPING BEAUTY Dir. Nicky Phelan and Darragh O'Connell (English, 6 min.) Granny O'Grimm, a seemingly sweet old lady, loses the plot as she tells her version of Sleeping Beauty to her terrified Granddaughter.
THE LADY AND THE REAPER Dir. Javier Recio Gracia (Non-dialogue, 8 min.) A sweet old lady is living alone in her farm, waiting for the arrival of death to meet her beloved husband again. One night, while sleeping, her life fades out and she is invited to cross death's door. Bue when she is about to do so, the old lady wakes up inside a hospital's ward: and arrogant doctor has taken her back to life and he will fight hard against death to recover the old lady's life at any cost.
LOGORAMA Dir. Nicolas Schmerkin (English, 17 min.) Spectacular car chases, an intense hostage crisis, wild animals rampaging through the city...and even more in LOGORAMA!
A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH Dir. Nick Park (English, 29 min.) Wallace and Gromit have a brand new business. The conversion of 62 West Wallaby Street is complete and impressive, the whole house is now a granary with ovens and robotic kneading arms. Huge mixing bowls are all over the place and everything is covered with a layer of flour. On the roof is a 'Wallace patent-pending' old-fashioned windmill. The transformation is perfect. Although business is booming, Gromit is concerned by the news that 12 local bakers have 'disappeared' this year - but Wallace isn't worried. He's too distracted and 'dough-eyed' in love with local beauty and bread enthusiast, Piella Bakewell, to be of much help. While they enjoy being the 'Toast of the Town', Gromit, with his master's life in jeopardy, must be the sleuth and solve the escalating murder mystery - in what quickly becomes a 'Matter of Loaf and Death'.
LIVE ACTION SHORTS PROGRAM
THE DOOR Juanita Wilson and James Flynn (Russian, 17 min.) A father's desperate attempt to come to terms with the devastating effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA Patrik Eklund and Mathias Fjellstrom (Swedish, 18 min.) A man who still lives with his parents tries to realize his dream of becoming a magician.
KAVI Gregg Helvey (Hindi, 19 min.) The story of a young boy who attempts to escape from the brick kiln where he is forced to work as a bonded labor slave in India.
MIRACLE FISH Luke Doolan and Drew Bailey (English, 18 min.) 8 year old Joe has a Birthday he will never forget. After friends bully him, he sneaks off to the sick bay, wishing everyone in the world would go away. He wakes up to find his dream may have become a reality.
THE NEW TENANTS Joachim Back and Tivi Magnusson (English, 20 min.) A prying neighbor, a glassy-eyed drug dealer, and a husband brandishing both a weapon and a vendetta make up the welcome wagon. Set amidst the as-yet-unopened boxes and the hopes for a fresh start of two men on what might just be the worst moving day ever. Their new apartment reveals its terrifying history in a film that is by turns funny, frightening, and unexpectedly romantic.
With respect for your good taste and time, enjoy.
Tickets to the Animated Shorts Program here
Tickets to the Live Action Shorts Program here