MINNEAPOLIS — A key fixture of the awards season, the theatrical release featuring Live Action, Animation and Documentary short films is the only opportunity for audiences around the country to watch the nominated shorts prior to the 85th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24, 2013.
Landmark’s Uptown Theatre will present the Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film programs beginning on Friday, Feb. 1.
This year’s release breaks new ground: a past Oscar winner in that category will host each film. Hosting the Live Action program will be director Luke Matheny, who won the Academy Award for his Live Action Short film God of Love (2011); hosting the Animated Shorts program are Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg who won the Academy Award for their Animated Short Film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (2011); and hosting the Short Documentary program is Daniel Junge, co-director of last year’s Academy Award winner for Best Short Documentary Saving Face.
This year’s release includes the following Nominated short films:
“Adam & Dog”, a 16-minute American-made film from director Minkyu Lee, is a story about the dog of Eden. What happened in those first days of Creation that made Man and Dog so inseparable?
The dog, as he lives through this curious world, encounters a strange creature; a human being named Adam – and with that discovers a newfound connection to the world.
Minkyu Lee is a writer, director, and animator currently working as a visual development artist and character designer at Walt Disney Animation Studios. He graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a BFA in Character Animation, and his animation can be seen in Disney’s films such as Princess and the Frog, and Winnie the Pooh.
His character design work is featured in Wreck-it Ralph, and the upcoming Disney’s Frozen. He wrote, directed, and produced the short film Adam and Dog, which won the Annie Award for Best Short Film in 2012, and the 2012 Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject.
“Fresh Guacamole”, a 2-minute American film from director Adam Pesapane, and producers PES and Sarah Phelps, is about learning how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole.
Head Over Heels, a 10-minute U.K film from director Timothy Reckart and producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, is the story of Walter and Madge, who have grown apart after many years of marriage. He lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling.
When Walter discovers a long-lost memento of their wedding day, he tries to reignite their old romance. But it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back together.
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’,” a 5-minute American film from director David Silverman and producer James L. Brooks, is about Maggie Simpson, who spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center where she is diagnosed at an average intelligence level. Longing to be grouped with the gifted children, Maggie finds her destiny by rescuing a lonely cocoon from Baby Gerald, who is busy smooshing butterflies.
“Paperman”, a 7-minute American film from director John Kahrs and producer Kristina Reed, follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office.
With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.
“Asad”, an 18-minute South Africa and American film by director Bryan Buckley and producer Mino Jarjoura, with executive producers Kevin Byrne, Hank Perlman, and associate producer Matt Lefebvre, is set in a war-torn fishing village in Somalia.
An all-Somali refugee cast brings to life this coming of age fable of a Somali boy who is faced with falling into the pirate life, or rising above to choose the path of an honest fishing man.
“Buzkashi Boys”, a 28-minute Afghanistan and American film from director Sam French and producer Ariel Nasr, is set against the dramatic landscape of contemporary Afghanistan and the National sport of Buzkashi, a brutal game of horse polo played with a dead goat.
Buzkashi Boys tells the coming of age story of two best friends, a charismatic street urchin and a defiant blacksmith’s son, who struggle to realize their dreams as they make their way to manhood in one of the most war-torn countries on Earth. Shot on location in Kabul city by an alliance of Afghan and international filmmakers, Buzkashi Boys is a look at the life that continues beyond the headlines of war in Afghanistan.
A founding director of Development Pictures in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sam French is an award-winning filmmaker whose work has appeared on the BBC, Al Jazeera, National Geographic, HBO, and other broadcast outlets. French directed Buzkashi Boys, one of the first narrative fiction films to be shot entirely on location in Kabul.
“Curfew” is a 19-minute American film from director Shawn Christensen and producers Damon Russell, Mara Kassin, and Andrew Napier, is the story of Richie, who is at the lowest point of his life when gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year old niece Sophia, for the evening.
“Death of a Shadow” (Dood Van Een Schaduw), is a 20-minute Belgium-France film from director Tom Van Avermaet and producer Ellen De Waele about Soldier Nathan who died during World War I. A strange collector imprisoned his shadow and gave him a new chance, a second life against 10,000 captured shadows. It is love that guides him, as his purpose is to meet Sarah again, the woman he fell in love with before he died. But then he discovers that she’s already in love with someone else, jealousy clouds his mind and pushes him towards a bitter decision, not without consequences.
“Henry”, is a 21-minute Canada film from director and producer Yan England. It is the story of Henry, a great concert pianist, who has his life thrown in turmoil the day the love of this life, Maria, disappears mysteriously. He’ll then discover the inevitable verdict of life.
“Kings Point” is a 40-minute American film from director Sari Gilman and producers Jedd Wilder, Todd Wilder, and Daniel B Gold. It tells the stories of five seniors living in a typical American retirement resort-men and women who came to Florida decades ago with their spouses by their sides and their health intact, and now find themselves grappling with love, loss and the universal desire for human connection.
A bittersweet look at our national obsession with self-reliance, Kings Point explores the dynamic tension between living and aging-between our desire for independence and our need for community-and underscores our powerful ambivalence toward growing old.
“Inocente” is a 40-minute American film from directors Sean Fine and Andrea Nix, along with producers Yael Melamede, Albie Hecht, Emanuel Michael, Sean and Andrea Nix Fine. Inocente is an intensely personal and vibrant coming of age documentary about a young artist’s fierce determination to never surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings.
Hers is not just a story of survival, but of resilience. At 15, Inocente refuses to let her dream of becoming an artist be caged by her life as an undocumented immigrant forced to live homeless for the last nine years.
Color is her personal revolution and its extraordinary sweep on her canvas creates a world that looks nothing like her own dark past — a past punctuated by a father deported for domestic abuse, an alcoholic and defeated mother of four who once took her daughter by the hand to jump off a bridge together, and an endless shuffle year after year through the city’s overcrowded homeless shelters. Told entirely in her words, we come to Inocente’s story as she realizes her life is at a turning point, and for the first time, she decides to tale control of her own destiny.
Inocente is both a timeless story about the transformative power of art and a timely snapshot of the new face of homelessness in America — children.
NCJWUSA is a 39-minute film from director Cynthia Wade and producers Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan.
Every third Monday of the month, in brassy Long Island, sisters Cynthia and Rachel open up their hair salon, called Racine, and offer free beauty services for women undergoing chemotherapy. Determined to make their customers feel beautiful, the glamour duo knows that Mondays at Racine goes beyond purple painted toes or a frothy facial.
The sisters are determined to give women who are losing their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes a sense of normalcy and dignity in a traumatic and uncertain time. The story of what hair means in our culture quickly unfolds into an unexpected look at womanhood, marriage and survival.
“Open Heart” is a 40-minute American film from director Kief Davidson and producers Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern. It is the story of eight Rwandan children who leave their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan. Their hearts ravaged by a treatable disease from childhood strep throat, the kids have only months to live.
Open Heart reveals the intertwined endeavors of Dr. Emmanuel Rusingiza, Rwanda’s lone government cardiologist, as he fights to save the lives of his young patients, and Dr. Gino Strada, the Salam Center’s head surgeon who must convince Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir’s government to keep Africa’s only link to life-saving cardiac surgery free of charge for the millions who need it.
“Redemption” is a 35-minute American film from directors Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill. The story closely follows the growing army of New Yorkers whose treasures are in the trash.
The film, is a chance to meet the marginalized masses we often rush past on our way to catch a bus or make a meeting. They are poor but proud New Yorkers, people who don’t ask for a handout, people whose hands rake through the discards of our lives, building their lives one nickel at a time.