Award season is slowly approaching for the Academy Awards. This year the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation branch has deemed eligible a record 70 animated shorts. There are ten shortlist animations followed by the final five nominations for the Oscars. Last year had 60 total animated shorts. Previous years included 33 in 2010 to 58 in 2014. The Academy has yet to release the contenders but here is a list of contenders I believe that will make the cut for this years shortlist. The contenders are a varied lot shot in many styles, from the shortest, BAFTA-winner Ainslie Henderson’s “Stems” (Scotland), to the longest, Rob Valley’s “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada) at 35 minutes, just under the 40-minute mark. Disney has also been pushing two shorts this year, Alan Barillaro’s “Piper” and Leo Matsuda’s “Inner Workings.” Pixar has recently released a captivating independent short, “Borrowed Time.” I expect to Pixar to mean a strong contender for this year but I do hope a lot of the international films get recognized as well. The five nominees will be announced January 24, 2017.
1. Ainslie Henderson’s, “Stems” (Scotland)
Trailer for a new very short, short film about making puppet making make music. featuring the music of Poppy Ackroyd
Made possible by Puppet Animation Scotland.
2. Rob Valley’s, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada)
Drink and smoke…that’s what Techno Stypes really likes to do, and fight. He was in no condition to fight. He was sick, really sick. His disease had whittled him down to a shadow of his former self. He was crippled from a car accident when he was 17 but that’s not how he lost his big toe. He lost that in a motorbike accident, yeah he was broken alright… what the hell was he fighting for anyway and what was he still doing in China? His father had given me two clear instructions: 1. Get Techno to stop drinking long enough to receive the liver transplant, and 2. Get him back home to Vancouver. This was not going to be easy.
3. Georges Schwizgebel, “Erlking” (Switzerland)
A father rides through the dark forest with his son. The sick child thinks he sees the Erlking, who both charms and frightens him. Based on Goethe’s poem Erlkönig and the music of Schubert and Liszt.
Un père portant son fils chevauche dans la forêt. L’enfant malade croit voir le roi des aulnes qui le séduit et l’effraie. D’après Erlkönig, le poème de Goethe et la musique de Schubert et Liszt.
Ein Vater reitet mit seinem Sohn im Wald. Das kranke Kind glaubt, es sehe den Erlkönig, der ihn verführt und erschreckt. Nach einem Gedicht von Goethe und einer Musik von Schubert und Liszt.
Hand-drawn Animation, 6 min, No Dialogue
Directed and written by: Georges Schwizgebel
Production: Studio GDS, RTS Radio Télévision Suisse
Compositing: Boris Rabusseau
Location Sound Mix: Louis Schwizgebel
Rerecording Sound Mix: Denis Séchaud
Music: Franz Schubert, Franz Liszt
4. Frank Dions, “The Head Vanishes” (Canada)
Jacqueline has lost her mind but who cares for his trip to the seaside she decided to take the train alone, as great!
Animated short produced by Papy3D productions, the NFB / NFB and ARTE. theheadvanishes.com
5. Theo Ushev’s, “Blind Vaysha” (Canada)
Designed in 3D and also available in 2D.
Vaysha is not like other young girls; she was born with one green eye and one brown eye. But her odd eyes aren’t the only thing that’s special about her gaze.
Her left eye sees only the past. Her right, only the future. Like a terrible curse, Vaysha’s split vision prevents her from living in the present. Blinded by what was and tormented by what will be, she remains trapped between two irreconcilable temporalities. “Blind Vaysha,” they called her.
In this metaphoric tale of timeless wisdom and beauty, filmmaker Theodore Ushev reminds us of the importance of living in present moment.
6. Celine Devaux’s, “Le Repas Dominical” (France)
A Film by Celine Devaux, produced by Ron Dyens with the voice of Vincent Macaigne.
7. Gabriel Harel, “Yul and the Snake” (France)
Thirteen-year-old Yùl and his older brother Dino meet up with Mike, a little hooligan, who brings along his Argentine mastiff. The aim is to conclude a deal. When the situation goes south, a mysterious snake
8. Marie-Christine Courtes, “Sous tes doigts (Under Your Fingers)” (France)
When her grand-mother dies, a young Eurasian woman performs dance and rituals to revive the peculiar story of the women in her family, from colonial Indochina to the transit camp where they were isolated. With her memories, anger and traditional rituals Emilie learns how to accept such a heritage.
9. David Coquard-Dassault, “Peripheria” (France)
Directed by DAVID COQUARD-DASSAULT
Written by DAVID COQUARD-DASSAULT, PATRICIA VALEIX
Music by CHRISTOPHE HERAL
France / 2015 / 12 min
Production : AUTOUR DE MINUIT, SCHMUBY PRODUCTIONS
A journey into the heart of a large and abandoned council estate, Peripheria portrays an urban environment becoming wild: a modern Pompeii where the wind blows and dogs roam, tailing the remains of human life
10. Daniel Martinez Lara and Rafael Cano Mendez “Alike” (Spain)
11. Kangmin Kim’s, “Deer Flower” (South Korea)
In the summer of 1992, Dujung, an elementary student, goes to a farm in the suburbs with his parents. While his parents believe the expensive and rare specialty from the farm will strengthen their son’s body, Dujung suffers side effects.
12. Simon Cartwright, “Manoman” (United Kingdom)
Using a mixture of rod marionette puppets and animation, London-based director Simon Cartwright’s darkly comic short tells the story of Glen, a man who attends a Primal Scream therapy class that causes him to release something deep within that knows no limits.
13. Joanna Rytel’s, “Moms on Fire” (Sweden)
14. Alyx Duncan’s, “The Tide Keeper” (New Zealand)
“Who knows how to stem the tide except through dreams?”
One night an old seaman dreams the ocean into his bed. His sea green sheets become the polluted waters of his worst nightmare. His own mortality is at risk as his household objects begin to suffocate him.
The film is inspired by the life, and performed by the filmmaker’s father.
Starring LEE STUART, Writer, Director, Producer ALYX DUNCAN, Concept Design JASON BOCK, Dramaturge JOHN DOWNIE, Cinematography BEN MONTGOMERY, CHRIS PRYOR, Composer FRANCESCA MOUNTFORT, Editor DANIEL STRANG, Puppet Designer LEDA FARROW, Project Mentor ROLF DE HEER, Story Development LANI FELTHAM, ROSIE REMMERSWAAL, Visual Effects Studios MANDY, ENVY STUDIOS, FLYING FISH, CUMULUS VISUAL EFFECTS, Sound Post ENVY STUDIOS, Sound Design & Mix VEDAT KIYICI, DI Services & Mastering PARK ROAD POST PRODUCTION, made in association with CREATIVE NEW ZEALAND and the NEW ZEALAND FILM COMMISSION.
15. Leo Matsudas “Inner Workings” (United States) Disney
16. Alan Barillaro’s, “Piper” (United States) Disney
17. Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, “Borrowed time” (United States) Pixar
18. Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, “Moom” (United States)
19. Fabrice Luang-Vija’s, “‘He who has two souls.” (France)
20. Donato Sansone’s, “Journal anime” (France)
music by enrico ascoli
21. Dahee Jeong, “The empty” (France / South Korea)
In the woman’s room, memories constantly accumulate and disappear like dust.
The man spends his time in this room creating futile little games with woman’s memories.
Director l Jeong Dahee
Production l Sacrebleu productions, Between the pictures
Producer l Dyens Ron, Jeong Dahee
Animation l Jeong Dahee, Roland Nicolas, Jang Wonjin
Visual effects l Colou François
Sound design l Lee Jusuk
Music l Ma sangwoo
Voice-over l Yu Ji-tae, Jeong Dahee
22. Ishan Shukla’s “Schirkoa”
Schirkoa is a 14 minute animated short film. I created it on and off along with a day job in 4 years. The film will hit the festival circuit by mid 2016.
Creator: Ishan Shukla (ishanshukla.com)
Composer: Nicolas Titeux (nicolastiteux.com/)
Voice Actor: Kira Buckland (facebook.com/kiravoices)
Schirkoa is created in Maya and rendered in Redshift.
23. Alexander Lahl and Volker Schlecht, “Kaputt/Broken – The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck” (Germany)
Gabriele Stötzer and Birgit Willschütz were political inmates at Hoheneck Castle, the most notorious women’s prison in East Germany. Their story is one of overcrowded cells, despotic hierarchies, ruthless everydays, and the enduring effects of incarceration. Most of all, however, it is about the crushing pressure of forced labour. Prisoners at Hoheneck manufactured millions of pantyhose, bed sheets, and other products for West German retailers, bringing enormous profits to both sides of the Iron Curtain. Part of the young animadoc tradition, the seven-minute film pairs original audio interview extracts with abstract, monochrome animation. Direction: Volker Schlecht and Alexander Lahl. Animation and design: Volker Schlecht. Sound and music: Hannes Schulze. Interviews with: Birgit Willschuetz and Gabriele Stoetzer. Funded by the Federal Foundation for the Study of the communist dictatorship in Eastern Germany and by the Saxon Memorial Foundation
24. Anete Melece’s, “Analysis Paralysis” (Switzerland)
25. Wenyu li’s “Go to the City Ele” (China)
26. Alberto Vazquezs, “Decorado” (Spain)
27. F.X Goby’s, “To Build A Fire” (France)
28. Jeroen Jaspaert and co directed by Daniel Snaddon, “Stick man” (United Kingdom / South Africa)