Archive for ‘Short Stack’

May 25, 2011

Short Stack: Pixar-a-thon!

While I recover from Cannes and continue to fail to find actual current short films, I’m gonna pussy out and start a little mini Pixar marathon. For an animation company, they aren’t exactly prolific when it comes to animation of any kind. In the last 27 years, they’ve only made 18 shorts. Sure 10 of them have been nominated for the only real short film award out there, the big Oscar, and yeah fine 3 of them even won. But I can still blame Pixar for anything. But not too loudly. They might hear.

Let’s get started with looking at Pixar’s first ever short, before Pixar was really even Pixar. This is “The Adventures of André and Wally B”. The narrative is non-existant and the characters are thinly drawn. But I don’t really think they were looking for more than “LOOK! COMPUTER ANIMATION!” And for 1984 I’m sure they achieved that. A good first stab, if not for the Donald Duck voice over on André. You kinda root for Wally B (get it? He’s a bee! Fucking clever!) to actually sting the guy in the face. And supposedly it was shown before “Brazil”. That’s an interesting companion piece…

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March 3, 2011

Short Stack: Meet me in St. Louis!

I feel that a lacking aspect to the awards circuit experience is the mystery surrounding short films. Where do they come from? Who makes them? How does the academy choose?

In trying to make Oscar ballots around the world more predictable. I’m starting off with a responsible 2011 Short Stack circuit. I will follow every eligible film festival, and try to show their winners in some capacity. Fortunately, the short film year is October 1st – September 31st so we already have a few festivals to look at.

This one has been making the circuit for a while. As the trailer for “The Six Dollar Fifty Man” will tell you, it was in Cannes in 2009, and Sundance in 2010. It should be eligible again because of the St. Louis Film Festival, but it probably won’t make it far if it hasn’t already.

This next one looks undeniably a cut above. Mysteriously titled “The Armoire”, Jamie Travis’ latest short film completes his “Saddest Boy in the World” trilogy. In it, a game of hide-and-seek goes wrong when Tony is never found. This one has also been impossible to see but here is the trailer, and I was so obsessed I even watched a clip. It looks good and well made. It made be a little too light or ultimately underwhelming to make it all the way, but I could see it being shortlisted.

And click here to go to the NY Times short clip.

For the last winner, there is a little confusion. The Festival website says “Pixels” by Paul Emile Boucher won. Except that there isn’t a Pixels by him. It’s by someone else named Patrick Jean. Fortunately, it’s online and a heck of a lot of fun. So creative and well done. This is everything Logorama wanted to be and failed to execute 100%.

February 8, 2011

A Fast and Beautiful Year

As I was preparing to really kick this blog in high gear win the new Oscar season starts (i.e. February 27th at approximately 11:36 PM if my length of ceremony guess is correct), I started with a calendar reboot for the Short Stack Feature which I ran a couple of times to extremely great personal success. While poring through all of the eligible festivals and their winners, I discovered a gem of a short film.

“A Year Along the Abandoned Road”

Oof. Even the title is hauntingly beautiful. The concept? In the late ’80s, Norwegian filmmaker Morten Skallerud staked himself out in one fjord for an entire year and filmed the entire year. Each day, he would move the camera a few feet. This creates this eerily perfect sweeping effect across the mostly abandoned village. The years worth of footage is strung together and then sped up to 50,000 times real speed. This means the year clocks in under 12 minutes. The pace captures this elegiac and almost mythical place that is helped by the weird soundtrack (minus the Kenny G-esque soprano sax). Treat yourself to a quick watch and reflect on the last year of your life. Or just enjoy the visuals.

October 20, 2010

Short Stack: Les Dessins Français

The two short film contenders that I found online this week are two very painterly animated films. The first is from the Animated Short Film winner from the World Wide Short Film Festival – so kind of a big deal. The film was a French flick called Le Silence sous L’Écource, or The Silence Under the Bark. I couldn’t find an embed, but I do have a link to where you can find one. It’s very pretty, but probably a little too weird and abstract for Uncle Oscar’s tastes.


The other film that I found was the Palme D’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival. Another Frenchie called Chienne D’Histoire. This directly translates to Bitch of History (but like female dog), but the American translation is Barking Island. Go figure. This is my surest bet to show up on the short list and not make the final nominations. It reminds me a lot of Cat Piano last year, which I’ll include too – just because it was my favorite Short film of last year.

October 13, 2010

Short Stack: 10/13

So one of the things that doesn’t get enough press in the online film blog community are short films. Especially in regards to the oscar race, the short films get relegated to this “too difficult to predict”, “nobody’s seen them”, and “wildcard/who cares?” quagmire of obsolescence. But short films are really where it’s at. Most of the great film makers working today started making short films, and still do. This holds even more true in the Animated short category (A category I might add that predates the Animated feature category by 70 years). So let’s take a look at the process, shall we?

From what I’ve gathered there are two main ways that a short film can be eligible. 1) Have a release in Los Angeles for longer than a week. I don’t live in L.A. but I don’t think this is common. So 2) Win a major award at a film festival. This is probably where most of the pool comes from. There approximately 70 different festivals. And you have to win between October 1st and September 30th of the competing year, the same timeline for foreign films. It looks we just passed that deadline and I will be working dilligently to accrue a list of all eligible short films.

But what’s the fun in the short films if you can’t see them? So I’ll eventually get a complete list, but I’ll only post the ones with links.

Dime Que Yo – won the Goya Short Film Award in 2010. I couldn’t understand it, but I liked it anyway.

Departure of Love – won the AMPAS Award for Animated Student Short. Really cute. Great narrative. Probably not weighty or long enough to contend, but definitely a shortlist possibility. It won’t embed, but be sure to follow this link.

Surface: Film from Below – won the AMPAS  Award for Experimental Student Short. Super interesting, and very unique. I would love to see this shortlisted, but alas…

I Close My eyes and Walk Away – won the Athens Film Festival Experimental Short Award. No chance, but really artsy.

The Machine – won the Atlanta Film Festival Animated Short. Way too weird. Way.