UPDATED: The shorts programs will be available in over 200 theaters across the United States and Canada. Check out theater information HERE!
Earlier today, two things happened – I sat down with an iced coffee to peruse the latest offerings from Los Angeles’ American Cinematheque (which shows films and special programs at both the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica) and my inbox was hit with a press release concerning the all of the Oscar-nominated shorts and their release later this month. You can guess the connection! Every Oscar night, even hardcore cinephiles find themselves scratching their heads when the three shorts categories come up – documentary, live-action, and animation. What are these films? And how could I have seen them?
Well, as of today, the full program of Oscar Nominated Short Films will be released (thanks to ShortsHD) in New York City on February 10, with Los Angeles openings for the animation and live-action programs coming on February 10 (Landmark’s Nuart Theatre and West LA locations, and Regency Theatres’ South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana), with the documentary program hitting Laemmle’s Music Hall 3 on February 17. Or, if you’re an obsessive art house calendar-reader like me, you’ll also realize that you can check out all three programs at the Egyptian on various dates: documentaries on February 17 and both live-action and animation on February 24.
For those of you in New York or Los Angeles, I encourage you to take the opportunity afforded to you by your place of residence and check out the shorts the way they were meant to be seen – on the big screen. If you’re not a Gothamite or an Angeleno, I still encourage you to check out information about all the shorts after the break (with bonus video, if available!), if only to be able to speak intelligently about them come Oscar night. And, heck, maybe we’ll get lucky and some more release locations will be announced (and you know where to go to find out if they do – here, you go here).
Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts
Language: English, Directors: Patrick Doyon, Producer: Marc Bertrand, Michael Fukushima
Every Sunday, it’s the same old routine! The train clatters through the village and almost shakes the pictures off the wall. In the church, Dad dreams about his toolbox. And of course later Grandma will get a visit and the animals will meet their fate.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore [USA]
Language: No Dialogue, Directors: William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg, Producer: Lampton Enochs Jr., Trish Farnsworth-Smith, Alissa M. Kantrow
Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of story. Using a variety of techniques (miniatures, computer animation, 2D animation) co-directors William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg present a hybrid style of animation that harkens back to silent films and MGM Technicolor musicals. Morris Lessmore is old fashioned and cutting edge at the same time.
La Luna [USA]
Language: English, Director: Enrico Casarosa, Producer: Kevin Reher, John Lasseter (Executive Producer)
“La Luna” is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait. A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?
A Morning Stroll [UK]
Language: No Dialogue, Director: Grant Orchard, Producer: Sue Goffe
When a New Yorker walks past a chicken on his morning stroll, we are left to wonder which one is the real city slicker.
Wild Life [CANADA]
Language: English, Directors: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby, Producers: Marcy Page, Bonnie Thompson
Calgary, 1909. An Englishman moves to the Canadian frontier, but is singularly unsuited to it. His letters home are much sunnier than the reality. Intertitles compare his fate to that of a comet.