W H A T :
Cincinnati World Cinema's 6th Annual Presentation of the Academy Award ® nominated live-action and animated short films.
W H E N :
Oscar Nominees, Best Live-Action Short Film:
Tuesday, February 20 - 7:00 pm
Wednesday, February 21 - 6:30 pm
Oscar Nominees, Best Animated Short Film, plus 5 additional films from the Academy shortlist:
Wednesday, February 21 - 8:45 pm
Thursday, February 22 - 7:00 pm
Prg A Feb 21, Prg B Feb 21
Prg A Feb 20, Prg B Feb 21
Prg A Feb 20, Prg B Feb 22
Prg A Feb 21, Prg B Feb 22
W H E R E :
click for Directions & Map
T I C K E T S :
$6 tickets are ONLY available online, by phone, at the Museum, and at the door subject to availability.
...and at these locations
($8 tix only, cash only),
click each location below for a map:
Sitwell's Coffee House
513 281 7487
Lookout Joe Coffee Roasters
513 871 8626
Shake It Music & Video
513 591 0123
The Bean Haus
859 431 2326
Tickets will also be available at the door, if not sold out in advance.
ON THIS PAGE: | Advance Tickets | Film Roster | Film Notes | Win Tickets to the Oscar Gala & CWC Films |
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S H O R T S
2 0 0 7
and screening schedule
With last year's sell-out, many people were turned away at the door. To accommodate demand and provide greater flexibility for patrons, this year's "6th Annual Oscar Shorts" presentation features two distinct programs with each one screening on two nights.
In past years CWC has often divided the nominated films into two programs and this year's total run time of three hours merits similar treatment. Program A, 100 minutes, features the entries nominated for Best Live-Action Short Film and Program B, 86 minutes, features the entries nominated for Best Animated Short Film. As a bonus, Program B will include five additional qualifying films from the Academy shortlist.
F I L M R O S T E R
PROGRAM A :: LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS
BINTA Y LA GRAN IDEA (BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA)
Javier Fesser & Luis Manso, Spain/Senegal, 30:00
A happy story from a land where hope and personal empowerment are possibilities, not impossible dreams.
ERAMOS POCOS (ONE TOO MANY)
Borja Cobeaga, Spain, 16:00
Fostered by laziness and machismo, a father and son's scheme to avoid housework pays unexpected dividends.
HELMER & SON
Soren Pilmark & Kim Magnusson, Denmark, 12:00
In learning that the erratic acts of the elderly are not always as rash as they appear, a father and son are reconciled.
Peter Templeman & Stuart Parkyn, Australia, 19:00
A carnal detour by a Mormon missionary is not what he expected, but might be divine intervention after all.
WEST BANK STORY
Ari Sandel, USA, 21:00
Thoroughly schmaltzy, this delightful musical comedy spoof of West Side Story brings together the proprietors of the Hummus Hut and the Kosher King in their quest to feed the hungry.
PROGRAM B :: ANIMATED SHORT FILMS
Gary Rydstrom, USA, 5:00
A spaceship visits Earth so that a young alien can learn the craft of abduction ...
THE DANISH POET (Den Danske Dikteren)
Torill Kove, Norway/Canada, 15:00
A beautifully told story illustrating that love and happiness indeed will come to he who waits.
Geza Toth, Hungary, 5:00
We join Il Maestro and his valet in preparation for his performance ... and then, it's showtime!
THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL
Roger Allers & Don Hahn, USA, 7:00
Lushly animated, with a beautiful score, this one will bring tears to your eyes.
NO TIME FOR NUTS
Chris Renaud & Michael Thurmeier, USA, 7:00
With all of the technical glitz and embellishments that money can buy, we have the further adventures of the acorn-loving Scrat, who discovers a buried time-travel machine. It is amusing and very well-made, but one could argue that the Wraith of Cobble Hill deserves this slot on the nomination roster. You can decide for yourself.
ADDITIONAL ANIMATION SHORTS
ONE RAT SHORT
Alex Weil, USA, 10:00
A touching story of unrequited love; you know it's good when your rooting for sweet little fur-faced varmints!
Chris Jones, Australia, 7:00
An amusing glimpse of what happens when other species revolt against loud, obnoxious human music.
THE WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL
Adam Parrish King, USA, 15:00
With absolutely supurb animation, cinematography, set design, story and music, this stop-motion drama should have been nominated for the Oscar (and could easily win). Read the synopsis/review by Taylor Jessen in the Film Notes section below.
Bill Plympton, USA, 6:00
Typical Plympton, a pleasing little comedy by the master of the animated sight-gag.
A GENTLEMAN'S DUEL
Francisco Ruiz Velasco and Scott McNally, USA, 8:00
Think of this as the Transformers meet Angela Jolie ...
The Academy Awards have their gift bags and glitz and glamour, so in keeping with the spirit of the event we have some goodies to share with our loyal audience members!
OSCAR GALA PACKAGE
Two lucky CWC patrons will be the winners of $150 tickets to the Oscar Night® America "High Seas Caribbean Adventure," Sunday, February 25, 2007, presented by People Working Cooperatively.
Held at the glamorous Netherland Hilton, this year's Oscar Gala features a Caribbean Pirate theme and will include steel drum music, a Pirate's rum bar with souvenir goblets, treasure chest hunts, an elegant tropics-inspired three-course gourmet meal with wine, and all the glamour and drama of Hollywood!
The Academy Awards® will be broadcast live on a giant screen, and you'll receive the same official program as the Hollywood stars! After dinner you can enjoy the award ceremonies or try your luck at the Pirate's casino.
Presented by PWC and WCPO-TV, the event will be emceed by WCPO's Hagit Limor and David Rose. The "High Seas Caribbean Adventure" is PWC's 10th fundraising gala in conjunction with Oscar Night America (ONA) - part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.). Each year, the Academy selects non-profits like PWC across the country to hold fund-raisers in conjunction with the live Academy Awards ceremony, using official Academy materials just like Hollywood!
>> To assist with their important work in the community, we urge you to visit the PWC website and bid on some of the wonderful items up for auction. Proceeds go to People Working Cooperatively, Inc. in order to support their mission to keep low-income elderly and disabled homeowners living in their homes through critical home repairs. Auction items range from exotic vacation getaways to fine wines, jewelry, professional services and dozens of donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise.
CWC FILM TICKETS
One name from each Program (two winners) will be drawn to receive four CWC film tickets.
One name from each Screening (four winners) will be drawn to receive two CWC film tickets.
How to Enter and Win
To have a chance of winning the Oscar Gala Package or the CWC tix, all you need to do is complete the CWC audience survey when you attend one of the Oscar Shorts screenings. Make sure you clearly print your name, email address and phone number. Winners' names will be posted on the CWC website and they will also be contacted by phone/email Friday morning February 23.
LIVE ACTION SHORT FILMS
BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA (BINTA Y LA GRAN IDEA) SPAIN - 30 Minutes
Oscar Nominees: Javier Fesser & Luis Manso
Binta, a 7-year-old girl, sets out to change the life of her young cousin
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Javier Fesser and Luis Manso.
Director Javier Fesser has a degree in Mass Media Communication from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He set up Linea Films in 1986, a production company that specializes in publicity. BINTA Y LA GRAN IDEA, was shot in Senegal in collaboration with UNICEF to increase awareness of third world children. He is one of the founders of NOTODOFILMFEST, an on-line short film festival. His filmography includesCANDIDA (2006 - screenwriter), BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA (2004 director and screenwriter), LA GRAN AVENTURA DE MORTADELO Y FILEMON (2003 - director and screenwriter), EL MILAGRO DE P TINTO (1998 - director and screenwriter)
Producer Luis Manso: CANDIDA (2006), BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA (2004), LA GRAN AVENTURA DE MORTADELO Y FILEMON (2003), EL MILAGRO DE P TINTO (1998 ) - Producer.
Producer: Manuel García: SERRANO EN EL MUNDO A CADA RATO (2004) and five short stories: THE BEST KEPT SECRET, LIFE'S TOO SHORT, SEVEN SEWERS, DAUGHTERS OF BELEN, and BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA).
This short film has been made in collaboration with UNICEF in order to increase solidarity for the children in the third world. All of the profits will forever go to UNICEF programs for children.
BINTA AND THE GREAT IDEA International Film Festival Awards:
The Chicago International Children's Film Festival.2004, Palm Beach International Film Festival. Florida 2005 Best Short Film, Action/Cut Short Film Competition. California 2005 Best Foreign Fiction Short Film, Woodstock Film Festival. New York 2005 The Diane Seligman Award for Best Short Film, New York Festivals Film and Video Competition 2006 Gold World Medal, Tribeca Underground Film Festival. New York 2006 1st Place Narrative Category, 4th Annual IndieProducer Short Film Competition. California 2006 Best Short Film, Newport Beach Film Festival. California 2006 Best Short Film, Newport Beach Film Festival. California 2006 Special Prize Final Draft, ReelHeart International Film Festival. Toronto 2006 Honorable Mention, The Indie Gathering Independent Film Festival. Cleveland 2006Overall Short Film, Action On Film Festival. Long Beach-California 2006 Best Foreign Film, Harlem International Film Festival. New York 2006 Best Short Film
ERAMOS POCOS (ONE TOO MANY) SPAIN - 16 Minutes
Oscar Nominee: Borja Cobeaga
When his wife leaves him, Joaquin asks his son to help him persuade his mother-in-law to do the housework.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Borja Cobeaga.
Borja Cobeaga was born in San Sebastian, Spain in 1977. Ever since a very young age he has been making homemade movies that have participated in video festivals. A graduate in Audiovisual Communication from the University of the Basque Country, EHU/UPV, he has worked in television as a producer (GRAN HERMANO, CONFIANZA CIEGA), screenwriter (SPLUNGE, AGITACION, + IVA) and director (VAYA SEMANITA).In 2001 he wrote and directed LA PRIMEZA VEZ, nominated for a Goya and winner of 35 awards at national and international festivals. ERAMOS POCOS won the project competition at the Medina del Compo Film Festival in 2004.
ERAMOS POCOS (ONE TOO MANY) International Film Festivals:
Miami International Film Festival, Aspen ShortsFest, Nashville Film Festival, Chicago Latino Film Festival, Loisaida Cortos Latino Film Festival. New York, AFI Fest. Los Angeles, Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival, Portland International Film Festival, Sedona International Film Festival & Workshop, San Diego Latino Film Festival
HELMER & SON DENMARK - 12 Minutes
Oscar Nominees: Soren Pilmark & Kim Magnusson
A son is called to the rest home, where his father has recently been admitted.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Soren Pilmark.
This is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Kim Magnusson. He was previously nominated for: ELECTION NIGHT (VALGAFTEN) (1998) -- Winner, Short Film (Live Action) WOLFGANG (1997) -- Nominee, Short Film (Live Action) ERNST & LYSET (1996) -- Nominee, Short Film (Live Action)
HELMER & SON is Pilmark's debut as a short film director.
The movie is produced by Nordisk Film's Leila Vestgaard and René Ezra as a part of the company's strategy to develop new talent. The director, producers and script writers behind HELMER & SON thus consist of newcomers in their respective fields in Danish film, firmly backed by Managing Director of Nordisk Film's movie production Kim Magnusson, who is an Oscar-winner in the Short Film category with ELECTION NIGHT (1998) and three-time nominee himself for WOLFGANG (1997) and ERNST & LYSET (1996). The 12-minute picture is produced by Nordisk Film Production as part of its programme to develop new talent, without support from the Danish Film Institute.
THE SAVIOUR, AUSTRALIA -19 Minutes
Oscar Nominees: Peter Templeman & Stuart Parkyn
Malcolm, a door-to-door Mormon evangelist is in love with a married woman.
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Peter Templeman and Stuart Parkyn.
Peter Templeman and Stuart Parkyn's short film THE SAVIOUR, produced by the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film. The film screened in competition at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for Short Film at the Slamdance Film Festival in the US, making it eligible to be nominated for an Academy Award. The film tells the story of a gentle, effective door-to-door evangelist who is in love with a married woman.
Another film by Parkyn and Templeman, SPLINTERED, won Slamdance the previous year, but was ineligible for the Oscars because it wasn't shown on 35mm stock. Adam Elliot won the animated section in 2003 with HARVIE KRUMPET; Melbourne animator Anthony Lucas was nominated for THE MYSTERIOUS GEOGRAPHIC EXPLORATIONS OF JASPER MORELLO in 2005; and Sejong Park's BIRTHDAY BOY was nominated in 2004. THE SAVIOUR screened at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square from February 1 as part of the Memory Grid program.
Since 2003, Peter's four short films - THE SAVIOUR, SPLINTERED, MILKMEN AND GIFTED THUMBS - have won thirty-seven festival awards between them, including fifteen Best Films and six Best Directors. He is the only filmmaker to win the Slamdance Grand Jury award for best short film two years in a row. First with the gritty drama SPLINTERED in 2005, then in 2006 with his comedy - THE SAVIOUR.
Peter was a Finalist at the West Australian Screen Awards for acting, writing and directing, before being selected as one of four emerging directors in the country to attend the Australian Film Television and Radio School in 2003. In 2005 he completed a Masters degree in Drama Directing and was honoured with the Australian Film Commission's Award for Excellence in Directing. He recently won the ATLAB INSIDE FILM Award for Rising Talent.
Peter has recently directed episodes of the new Channel Nine/Essential Viewing series LOCKIE LEONARD, based on Tim Winton's series of books, and he was the series director for new SBS comedy MARX&VENUS. He is developing two feature film projects, and is represented in Australia by Annabelle Sheehan, and in L.A. by Robert Newman at I.C.M.
Peter Templeman gave up his career as a physiotherapist when he started working as an actor in 1998. Since then he has written and directed theatre and short films, and composed music for and edited various productions in Western Australia. Peter has been a finalist at the West Australian Screen Awards for acting, writing and directing, and in 2002, he was selected as one of four directors in the country to attend the Australian Film Television and Radio School in Sydney. He completed his Masters degree in drama directing in 2005 and has now been accepted into the AFTRS Screenwriting course.
THE SAVIOUR International Film Festival Awards and screenings:
Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short, Slamdance Film Festvial, Park City, USA, 2006; Best Student Short, Boulder International Film Festival, USA, 2006; Semi-finalist Live Action Short Film, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Los Angeles, USA, 2007; Rising Talent Award given to Peter Templeman for his body of work, IF Awards, Australia, 2006; Telluride Film Festival, USA, 2005; Palm Springs Festival of Short Films, USA, 2005; Seattle International Film Festival, USA, 2006
WEST BANK STORY, UNITED STATES - 21 Minutes
Oscar Nominee: Ari Sandel
A musical comedy set in the fast-paced, fast-food world of competing falafel stands on the West Bank.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Ari Sandel.
Ari Sandel's career in the entertainment industry includes television, film, and music videos. Previously, Ari created and hosted the comedic TV segment, THE TRAVELER, for the FX Channel's, THE X SHOW . Ari wrote, directed, and hosted the segment for two seasons as he traveled the globe, offering a tongue-in-cheek view of the world's unknown hot spots for the young and hip.
Ari was raised in Calabasas, California and studied Media Arts at the University of Arizona in Tucson where he also received a special certificate in Middle Eastern Studies. He went on to earn his Directing M.F.A. from the University of Southern California's school of Cinema-Television. He co-wrote and directed the award-winning short film WEST BANK STORY (2005), which premiered at Sundance and has screened at over one hundred film festivals worldwide having won twenty. His most recent project, VINCE VAUGHN'S WILD WEST COMEDY SHOW: 30 DAYS & 30 NIGHTS - HOLLYWOOD TO THE HEARTLAND (2006), was his feature documentary directorial debut and premiered at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival.
In addition to filmmaking, Ari has also traveled Europe, Asia, South America and extensively throughout the Middle East including Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Turkey, and Dubai and is very involved with various political organizations for peace in the region. Ari is currently developing several feature comedies.
WEST BANK STORY: International Film Festival Awards:
For the second time in its decade-long span, Stony Brook awarded a short film, WEST BANK STORY by Ari Sandel, its Grand Prize. The prize is given when both the jury and audience give their highest marks to one particular film.
ANIMATED SHORT FILMS
THE DANISH POET (Den Danske Dikteren), NORWAY & CANADA - 15 Minutes
Oscar Nominee: Torill Kove
Kasper, a poet whose creative well has run dry, takes a holiday in Norway to meet the famous writer Sigrid Undset.
This is the second Academy Award nomination for Torill Kove. She was previously nominated for: MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS (MIN BESTEMOR STROK KONGENS SKJORTER) (1999) -- Nominee, Short Film (Animated).
After a short film - Bobbie Peers' SNIFFER - last year scored the first Golden Palm ever at Cannes for Norway, Norwegian director Torill Kove's DEN DANSKE DIKTEREN (THE DANISH POET) has entered the race for an Academy Award as Best Animated Short Film. THE DANISH POET- which is narrated by Norwegian actress-director Liv Ullmann - has so far screened at 29 festivals, and returned with seven prizes.
Produced by Lise Fearnley and Marcy Page for Norway's Mikrofilm and the National Film Board of Canada. Torill Kove (b. May 25 1958 in Hamar) has worked with animation in various capacities at the National Film Board of Canada. In addition, she works as a designer, illustrator, animator and scriptwriter. Her filmography includes THE DANISH POET (2005) and MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KING'S SHIRTS (1999).
THE DANISH POET (Den Danske Dikteren) International Film Festival Awards and Screenings:
2006 Berlin International Film Festival - Kinderfilmfest; 2006 IFP Los Angeles Film Festival; 2006 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films; 2006 Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival 2006 LA Shortsfest; 2006 Chicago Int'l Children's Film Festival; 2006 Tindrindis Int'l Animation Film Festival, Lithuania; 2006 Columbus International Film & Video Festival; 2006 Denver International Film Festival; 2006 New York City Short Film Festival: Best Animated Short; 2006 Aspen ShortsFest: The Animated Eye Award for Best Animation; 2006 Aspen ShortsFest: The Ellen Award for Most Original Film; 2006 Worldwide Short Film Festival, Toronto, Canada: Core Digital Pictures Award For Best Animated Short; 2006 AniMadrid, Spain: Special Mention
LIFTED, UNITED STATES - 5 Minutes
Oscar Nominee: Gary Rydstrom
A young alien student from a distant world tests the patience of an increasingly weary instructor in a first-time abduction attempt.
This is the fourteenth Academy Award nomination (including seven wins) for Gary Rydstrom. He was previously nominated for: FINDING NEMO (2003) -- Nominee, Sound Editing MINORITY REPORT (2002) -- Nominee, Sound Editing MONSTERS, INC. (2001) -- Nominee, Sound Editing STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE (1999) -- Nominee, Sound SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) -- Winner, Sound SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) -- Winner, Sound Effects Editing TITANIC (1997) -- Winner, Sound JURASSIC PARK (1993) -- Winner, Sound JURASSIC PARK (1993) -- Winner, Sound Effects Editing BACKDRAFT (1991) -- Nominee, Sound BACKDRAFT (1991) -- Nominee, Sound Effects Editing TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991) -- Winner, Sound TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991) -- Winner, Sound Effects Editing
Gary Rydstrom actually came to Pixar from an illustrious career in the live-action sound world (STAR WARS, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, JURASSIC PARK among others), and this is a FANTASTIC film that he directed (it's pretty much his first time directing a major animated short). He talked to us for a while about the project, showing us some great behind-the-scenes stuff on the making of the short. Lots of great sketches and photos and things I wish I could have looked at longer.
He also answered a question about 2-d (aka. hand drawn animation) saying that John Lasseter and everyone at Pixar are very big fans of traditional animation. Pixar and Disney are going to be bringing it back as the Disney and Pixar people don't want to see 2d die. So Disney will be bringing back the traditional animated fare, and Pixar's going to be doing the 3d stuff. They believe that some projects fit 2d animation (brought up Hayao Miyazaki at this point) while other stories are better for 3d. Disney and Pixar, though now owned under the same company, are operating as if Pixar is a separate studio that does 3d while they work in their own studios on what sounds like it will be again be focused on 2d animation.
LIFTED had about five animators on the project and it took about 9 months (this is after the storyboards were set and timed which took 3 months) for them to finish it.
- Eric Vespe Source: www.aintitcool.com
THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL, UNITED STATES - 7 Minutes
Oscar Nominees: Roger Allers & Don Hahn
A tale about a poor young girl who finds visions of happiness in the fiery flames of the matches that she lights to keep warm. Based on the Hans Christian Andersen story.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Roger Allers.
This is the second Academy Award nomination for Don Hahn. He was previously nominated for: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991) -- Nominee, Best Picture
Don Hahn is the academy award nominated producer of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and LION KING. His films have grossed nearly $2 billion at the worldwide box office and have been nominated for a total of 17 Academy Awards®. The films that he has produced - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, THE LION KING, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT - have been at the very heart of Disney's animation renaissance and have helped define the studio's exciting new direction with regard to animated features.
Most recently, Hahn served as executive producer of Disney's 2000 animated comedy, THE EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE, producer of the 2001 animated feature, ATLANTIS, and Eddie Murphy comedy THE HAUNTED MANSION.
Born in Illinois and raised in Southern California, Hahn developed an interest in animation and especially music at an early age. During high school, he performed as a member of the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic and he went on to study music and art at Cal State Northridge. He entertained the notion of becoming a professional orchestral percussionist for a time before joining The Walt Disney Studios in 1976 and beginning his career in animation on PETE'S DRAGON. Hahn went on to work with legendary Disney animator/director Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman as assistant director on FOX AND THE HOUND (1981). He served in a similar capacity on the Oscar®-nominated 1983 animated featurette, MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL.
In 1987, Hahn moved to London to serve a two-year stint as associate producer, along with acclaimed animation director Richard Williams, and Executive Producer Steven Spielberg on the landmark motion picture WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. He re-teamed with the irrepressible toon rabbit again as producer of his first short film, TUMMY TROUBLE.
As the producer of the 1991 animated phenomenon BEAUTY AND THE BEAST he was responsible for guiding a team of 600 artists and garnered a Best Picture nomination from the Motion Picture Academy, the first such distinction ever given to an animated film. His next producing credit was on the 1994 animated blockbuster, THE LION KING, which broke box-office records all over the world to become the top-grossing film in Disney history and one of the industry's all-time top five performers.
In 2001, shortly after the completion of FANTASIA/2000, Roy Disney suggested a new animated film that would spotlight music from around the world. Don Hahn recalls, "It literally started on New Year's Day in 2001. I called Roy to congratulate him on FANTASIA/2000, and he said, 'Well, maybe it's time to start on a new one.' So we put together dozens of ideas for short pieces. And out of that came ONE BY ONE, LORENZO and THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL. Those were the beginnings of a world music movie. Roger was between projects at the time, and this provided him with a chance to do something small and manageable while he was developing other feature ideas."
Hahn showed Allers several of the ideas that had been suggested. "Roger immediately gravitated towards THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL and saw the potential of it," he recalls. "From the beginning, he had this great artistic vision to make the film monochromatic, with the dreams shown in vivid saturated colors."
Roger Allers (Director/Story Adaptation) earned a place in animation and film history with the 1994 release of the Academy Award-winning blockbuster, THE LION KING. The film, which marked his directorial debut, became a worldwide box office sensation. Following the unprecedented success of that film, Allers adapted the screenplay of the film for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical. He received a Tony Award nomination for best book of a musical.
His association with The Walt Disney Company dates back to 1986 and he is considered to be one of the major architects that provided the creative foundation and resurgence of animation at the studio. In addition to directing duties on THE LION KING, Allers worked on a number of Disney projects in various capacities. He served as story supervisor on the Best Picture Academy Award nominated film BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and worked as a story artist on the films THE LITTLE MERMAID, ALADDIN, THE RESCUERS DOWN UNDER, OLIVER & COMPANY, THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER and LILO & STITCH.
Prior to joining Disney, Allers developed TRON for Lisberger Studios in Los Angeles, animated on Nelvana's ROCK AND RULE in Toronto, and developed "LITTLE NEMO for TMS in Tokyo. He is currently directing his first all CG animated feature OPEN SEASON for Sony Pictures which will be released in September 2006.
Roy Edwards Disney (Executive Producer) has been a major influence on the art of animation for many years, carrying on the legacy built by his uncle, Walt Disney, and his father, Roy O. Disney. From 1984 through 2003, he served as chairman of Walt Disney Feature Animation, and helped to guide the division through one of its greatest artistic renaissances with such animated favorites as THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (1991), THE LION KING (1994), TARZAN (1999), FANTASIA/2000 and LILO & STITCH (2002), among others. Baker Bloodworth (Co-Producer), a 16-year veteran of Walt Disney Feature Animation, has served as vice president of production for Animation Special Projects for the past five years, where he was instrumental in the creation of such acclaimed animated shorts as DESTINO, LORENZO and THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL.
Bloodworth joined The Walt Disney Company in 1990 as production manager on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST the very first animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award®. After serving in that same capacity on ALADDIN, he became associate producer on POCAHONTAS, and then co-producer on Disney's ground-breaking computer-animated feature DINOSAUR, (which required building a digital studio from the ground up for Feature Animation).
With nearly every form of animation under his belt, Bloodworth went on to produce a series of award winning short films. DESTINO, the 2004 Academy Award® nominated short, was a collaboration begun by Salvador Dali and Walt Disney in 1945 and finished under the leadership of Roy Disney and Bloodworth. In 2005, he received an Academy Award® nomination for his work on the whimsical and fantastic short, LORENZO, directed by Mike Gabriel and inspired by an original idea from the late Joe Grant.
Bloodworth is a graduate of UCLA's School of Theatre, Film and Television.
THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL International Film Festival Awards:
California International Animation Festival, Best Traditional Animation; Animafest - World Festival of Animated Films, Best Film for Children
Walt Disney Pictures' latest animated short, THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL, based on Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Girl with Matchsticks," marks the end of an era. It's the last of the shorts highlighting international music spawned by FANTASIA/2000, preceded by two Oscar nominees, DESTINO and LORENZO, as well as ONE BY ONE. It's also the last of the works to utilize the Computer Animation Production System (CAPS), the first digital ink-and-paint, compositing and rendering program for traditionally animated projects, developed by The Walt Disney Co. and Pixar. Fittingly, the first use of CAPS was on an earlier Andersen adaptation, THE LITTLE MERMAID, the feature that sparked the previous renaissance at Disney.
Happily, THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL is an uncompromising work of beauty and pathos that retains Andersen's tragic ending, thanks to the insistence of director Roger Allers (THE LION KING and OPEN SEASON), and the support of producers Don Hahn and Baker Bloodworth and exec producer Roy Disney. But not before a long, hard fight with Disney's upper management that delayed completion for several years while they tried out three softer alternatives. However, they harmed the integrity of the work, according to Allers, who still finds it painful to discuss. Fortunately, there was less at stake with a short (unlike THE LITTLE MERMAID feature, which offered a happy ending), so Allers and the producers eventually won the battle.
Adds Hahn: "Controversial, I suppose, would be the word because we animated the ending four times. I think some people thought it was too un-Disney or felt like it should be happier. Roger really had a strong point of view that this was a sad, if hopeful ending. And I think the other thing we wanted to get across is that this story is relevant today because there are still people in America and elsewhere that go through this. And to pull back that punch, felt wrong to us. Roger was very articulate and vocal about this and in the end we were able to persist and put Roger's ending on the movie, which makes it controversial but really special."
The rest of the artistic process was much more harmonious. All of the storyboarding, design and post work for THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL was done at Walt Disney Feature Animation in Burbank, while a large portion of the short was animated at Disney's former Paris Studio. Mike Humphries oversaw the film's art direction. Hans Bacher (MULAN and THE LION KING) was involved in early visual development and supervising animator Randy Haycock (TARZAN and THE LION KING) did the final designs for Allers. Dave Bossert, (ONE BY ONE, LORENZO and FANTASIA/2000) served as artistic coordinator and visual effects supervisor.
Very early on, Allers was open to a watercolor look. "Hans Bacher did some exploratory design ideas and worked with ink washes, doing his quick sketches, and the pulp of the paper, which gave the texture to the settling ink pools, was so beautiful and so moody, I thought it would look great for the whole film. And, of course, we realized you could do the backgrounds like that but what about the characters? We actually did use watercolors and not ink. It was an interesting challenge getting the watercolor look using the CAPS system. A lot of the projects were already changing over to digitally painted backgrounds, so it was a last hurrah."
On THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL, it was a complete digital operation utilizing the cleanup drawings of the characters. We took the 2D animation and once that cleanup animation was scanned into the CAPS system, it was really using the line plane, which obviously became our ink plane, and processing that a number of times, as well as the paint plane, or the interior blocks of color, which if you were to look at a still frame, you would see we introduced some noise to give a sense of the paper texture. The line work was used in combination with the paint plane to recreate the pooling of pigment that you would get if you painted in watercolor. So if you look at the characters, you'll see that the interior of colored areas is slightly lighter and gets darker toward the outer perimeter of those areas. And again that gives the impression of a pooled pigment that you get with watercolor."
In addition to the watercolor look, Allers and his team decided to use a painterly gray and white monochromatic palette for the harsh reality of the girl's everyday world, and warm, bright colors for her idealized visions.
In terms of visual effects, snowflakes and crowd scenes were imporant to the mood of THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL. Bossert and his team used both CG and live- action snow. "What we did with the snow was come up with something magical but still have a realistic look. If you look carefully, you'll obviously see doilies in the beginning and end credits. Those are actual images of a snow crystal, so we were able to take those designs and make a 3D version of it. What some people don't realize is that there's real snow in there too. I dropped in some live-action BAMBI snow in the distance. We were trying to create a cold world where THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL feels lonely by herself.
Then there's the music, which was crucial. Originally, they thought of using Debussy's Claire de Lune, but Roy Disney never cared for that and requested they find something else. Hahn suggested the Borodin piece but an orchestral version until they discovered an old recording by the Grammy-winning Emerson String Quartet. Early on, they had the opportunity to record a new version with the Quartet. "That felt right from the beginning and had a greater emotional range than Claire de Lune," Allers insists. "And the pared down approach to instrumentation with the Quartet rather than the orchestra complemented the pared down approach to color and was a lot more intimate."
MAESTRO, HUNGARY - 5 Minutes
Oscar Nominee: Geza M. Toth
The Maestro sits in front of a dressing room mirror, and carefully prepares for his grand show.
This is the first Academy Award nomination for Geza M. Toth.
Mr. Geza M. Toth is a Hungarian artist, working as an animation film maker and lecturer of the Animation Department of the Hungarian University of Art and Design (MIE). As a Research Fellow and Guest Tutor he worked in London (Royal College of Art), also the Film Academy of Tallinn (Estonia), Ahmedabad (India), and Baden-Württemberg (Germany).
In the past 5-6 years he has created approx. 120 animation signals, commercials and short films. His productions were successfully screened more than 50 different festivals. At this moment he is working on the film adaptation of Bela Bartok's BLUEBEARD'S CASTLE.
MAESTRO International Film Festival Awards and Screenings:
Gifu HIAFFF - 2006: Semi Grand Prize; La Bourboule PLEIN la BOBINE -2006: Children Jury's Prize; Leeds International Film Festival - 2006: Special Mention; Bucharest DaKINO International Short Film Festival - 2005: Special Prize; 2006 - Granada International Short Film Festival (in competition); 2006 - Jerusalem International Film Festival ); 2006 - London International Animation Festival; 2006 - Melbourne International Animation Festival; 2006 - Nashville Independent Film Festival; 2005 - Los Angeles IFP Film Festival ; 2005 - Mill Valley Film Festival; 2005 - Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival.
NO TIME FOR NUTS, UNITED STATES - 7 Minutes
Oscar Nominees: Chris Renaud & Michael Thurmeier
While trying to bury a nut during the Ice Age, Scrat uncovers a frozen time machine.
These are the first Academy Award nominations for Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier.
Although it follows the further adventures of an ICE AGE character, it was completed long after that movie's release, qualifying with the Academy by winning the L.A. Short Film Festival. As has often been the case with computer-generated shorts, it served to test new CG technology, and the benefits keep accruing.
Thurmeier co-directed the film with Chris Renaud. The two are based in White Plains, N.Y., with Blue Sky Studios.
A director of animation is responsible for many aspects of a project. The director storyboards action and chooses camera angles, lighting, set design, musical score and more. "It's a process of sculpting a performance over weeks with a team of animators," said Thurmeier. He said Blue Sky Studio has more than 350 artists working together on projects. It is responsible for the films ICE AGE and ROBOTS, as well as contributing to FIGHT CLUB and HBO's THE SOPRANOS. "Everyone was throwing in ideas to see what worked. We really like LOONEY TOONS and we had the inspiration of Chuck Jones (creator of Wile. E. Coyote)," said Thurmeier.
Before becoming an animator for Blue Sky Studios, Michael Thurmeier attended O'Neill High School in Regina and Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.
- REGINA LEADER-POST Source: www.canada.com / posting from The Star Phoenix
ADDITIONAL ANIMATION SHORTS
A GENTLEMAN'S DUEL, UNITED STATES - 7:45 minutes
Director: Francisco Ruiz Velasco and Scott McNally
A seemingly innocent tea party takes a turn for the dramatic when two imperious aristocrats suddenly find themselves competing for the affections of the same fair lady.
Born in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Francisco Ruiz Velasco has becomes a fellow Californian and a vital part of the concept art team in Blur Studio. After his glorious bullfighter years, he began his career in the comics industry in his native country in the mid 1990s. Then he later branched out and founded Studio F, a computer comic book coloring atelier. In 2000, he made his debut in the USA with the limited series 'BattleGods,' which he created himself and was published by Dark Horse. His work included such prestigious series as 'Lone Wolf 2100,' 'Thunderbolts' and 'Starwars' for which he did interior artwork and color design. In 2005 he joined Blur studio as a staff concept designer. Francisco is currently working on a character and creature designs for Blur's first feature film in development, "Rock Fish."
Sean McNally was born an Air Force brat, and spent his childhood moving throughout the Midwest and Germany. He attended art school at the Columbus College of Art and Design, during which he was awarded an art internship at the LucasArts Entertainment Company. He graduated in 2002 with an illustration major, which served him well during his subsequent job as a third shift grocery store stocker. In 2002, Sean joined Blur Studio and has spent the past four years fulfilling his dreams as a concept artist on a variety of creative and exciting commercial and in-house projects. Through Blur, he has worked with clients who include James Cameron, Disney Feature Animation, Universal Studios, Microsoft, Nickelodeon and Miramax. He designed the characters for Blur's 2004 Oscar-Nominated short film, "Gopher Broke," as well as Blur's seminal "Rockfish" short film, which is currently in production as a feature film.
GUIDE DOG, UNITED STATES - 5:45 minutes
Director: Bill Plympton
GUIDE DOG is a sequel to the Oscar nominated short GUARD DOG. This time our hero dog helps blind people with typical disastrous results.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Bill Plympton moved to New York City, upon graduation from Portland State University in Graphic Design. He began his career creating cartoons for publications such as New York Times, National Lampoon, Playboy and Screw. In 1987 he was nominated for an Oscar for his short film YOUR FACE. After producing many shorts which appeared on MTV and Spike and Mike's, he turned his talent to features. Since 1991 he's made 7 feature films, 4 of them, THE TUNE, MONDO PLYMPTON, I MARRIED A STRANGE PERSON and MUTANT ALIENS animated features. He recently completed his 5th animated feature HAIR HIGH that is now showing in US theaters.
GUIDE DOG International Film Festival Awards and Screenings:
First Place, Animation, USA Film Festival, Dallas; First Place, Independent Films, ASIFA-East Festival; Best Animation, New Jersey Film Festival; Best Narrative Short, Animation Block Party, NYC; Best Animation, Int'l Cartoons and Comics Fest in Dervio, Italy; Best Animation, September Shorts Film Festival, Millville, NJ; Best in Show, ASIFA-SF (screening of ASIFA-East films); 1st Prize, Animated Shorts, Coney Island Film Festival; Honorable Mention, Ojai Film Festival, CA Best Animated Short Film, La Boca Del Lobo Int'l Short FF, Madrid, Spain; Best Animated Short, Queens Film Festival, NY; Special Mention, I Castelli Animati, Genzano di Roma, Italy
ONE RAT SHORT, UNITED STATES - 10:18 minutes
Director: Alex Weil
The mesmerizing ballet of a discarded food wrapper leads to a New York subway rat into an adventure of love and loss.
Alex Weil is the award-winning executive creative director and founder of the New York-based design and production studio Charlex. As both storyteller and technical innovator, Alex has delivered breakthrough moments in digital imagemaking for over 25 years. His pioneering work with multi-layered video oeffects for The Cars' "You Might Think" video netted the young director MTV's first ever award for Best Music Video and marked the start of a new generation of motion/video graphics. His opening titles for "Saturday Night Live' won an Emmy award and his long-form video for the band Yes was nominated for a Grammy. Weil has been honored with many prestigious advertising industry awards and his work is part of the permanent collection at MoMA.
Weil lives in Manhattan and continues to remain extremely busy as ECD at Charlex.
ONE RAT SHORT International Film Festival Awards and Screenings:
Best Animation Audience Award, Barcelona ArtFutura 2006; Best Short BAFTA Award, Mill Valley Film Festival, 2006; Winner best of Show, Siggraph Computer Animation Festival, 2006; Highly Commended Animated Short Film, Melbourne International Film Festival, 2006; Honorable Mention, CineVegas Film Festival, 2006; Best 3D Animation, California Animation Festival, 2006; First Prize in Animation, Rhode Island International Film Festival, 2006; Future Filmmaker Award, Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2006; Best Animation Audience Award, Austin Film Festival, 2006; Jury Price in Animation, One Reel Film Festival, 2006.
THE PASSENGER, AUSTRALIA - 7 MINUTES
Director: Chris Jones
Storm clouds gather as a timid bookworm braves his daily walk to the bus stop. When he discovers what awaits him on board, he realizes he'd have been better off outside in the storm.
Filmmaker bio: Chris Jones is an Australian artist, animator, musician and general creative type. Born in Bendigo in central Victoria and now living in Melbourne, he studied Industrial Design at Swinburne University of Technology. During this time he began working as a freelance children's book illustrator, and after graduation he continued illustrating and animating before becoming a computer game artist at Beam Software (later to become Infogrames, now Atari). He left Infogrames in May 2000 to complete work on THE PASSENGER, and as of 2006 works as a contract artist, animator, musician, etc.
WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL, UNITED STATES - 15:33 MINUTES
Director: Adam Parrish King
When teenage Felix, from a deadbeat Brooklyn home, is asked by Mr. H, the kindly corner store owner, to mind his dog while he's away, it's up to Felix either to reciprocate the benevolence Mr. H has always shown him, or perpetuate the neglect handed down as a family legacy.
ADAM PARRISH KING was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of two scientists. He received his Bachelor's Degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Fine Arts and Art History. While at Penn, Adam worked as a draftsman for the Ban Chiang, Thailand Archeological Project and as a curatorial assistant at the Institute of Contemporary Art. He co-wrote and directed a series of short films for Penn's University Television, which sparked his interest in continuing his education in film at the University of Southern California, where he received an M.F.A. in Film Production.
At USC, Adam focused on directing and animation, having directed eleven short films prior to "The Wraith of Cobble Hill." He also specialized in sound editing and mixing and was sound designer for the Labyrinth Project, a group that creates interactive installations for galleries and museums. Through the Labyrinth Project, Adam worked with Hungarian filmmaker, Peter Forgac's installation at the Getty Center, "The Danube Exodus," and with Los Angeles-based artist, Pat O'Neil's installation, "Tracing the Decay of Fiction," which premiered at the Zentrum fur Kunst in Karlsruhe, Germany. In addition, Adam was the sound mixer on the award-winning feature documentary, "Cockfight," and was the sound designer on the 2006 Sundance feature premiere, "Special."
Currently, Adam is working as a freelance sound designer and animator in Los Angeles, and is writing the script for a cycle of 12 short stories, one for each month of the year, that, together, form a portrait of the middle class suburbs of East Tennessee.
WRAITH OF COBBLE HILL International Film Festival Awards and Screenings:
Sundance Film Festival 2006 * Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking; South by Southwest Film Festival 2006 * Jury Prize - Best Animated Short; New Directors/New Films 2006; Silver Lake Film Festival 2006 * Best Short Film - Narrative; Independent Film Festival of Boston 2006; Arizona International Film Festival 2006; Johns Hopkins International Film Festival 2006; festival REC 2006, Tarragona, Spain; Sundance at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Maryland Film Festival 2006; New Haven Underground Film Festival 2006; Brooklyn International Film Festival 2006; Newport International Film Festival 2006; Atlanta Film Festival 2006 * Best Animated Film; BAFTA/LA 2006 * Winner - Student Film Award; Nantucket Film Festival 2006; SouthSide Film Festival 2006; Los Angeles Film Festival 2006 * Best Animated Short Film; Rooftop Films 2006; Movies with a View 2006; Animation Block Party 2006 * Best in Show; Melbourne International Film Festival 2006; Rhode Island International Film Festival 2006 * Honorable Mention; Dallas Video Festival 2006; Hiroshima International Animation Festival 2006; Salento International Film Festival 2006; Big Bear Lake International Film Festival 2006; animEST 2006; MOCA San Diego 2006; Cork Film Festival 2006; Secret City Film Festival 2006 * 3rd Place - Animation/Experimental; Festival du Nouveau Cinema de Montreal 2006; Golden Lion Film Festival 2006; Milwaukee International Film Festival 2006; Williamstown Film Festival 2006; Hawaii International Film Festival 2006; Holland Animation Film Festival 2006; Asheville Film Festival 2006 * Best Animation; St. Louis International Film Festival 2006; Lake Forest Film Festival 2006; Bilbao International Festival of Documentary and Short Films 2006; Festival Internacional de Curtas do Rio de Janeiro 2006 * Best Animated Short; Anchorage International Film Festival 2006; Santa Fe Film Festival 2006; Athens International Animation Festival 2006
Taylor Jessen is a writer living in Burbank and offers this review:
The Wraith of Cobble Hill
You know it’s effective dramaturgy if you’re watching a character do A and you feel like shouting, “No, schmuck, do B!” Such is the effect of The Wraith of Cobble Hill, a recent short from USC that’s set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of the same name. The short centers around Felix, an African-American youth whose father is AWOL and whose mother can’t face the responsibilities of daily life. The pair live in an apartment directly below Mr. H, the manager of a local convenience store. Waking one morning to the sound of Mr. H playing a vintage Polish ballad on 78rpm, Felix checks the refrigerator for breakfast. It’s completely bare. Mom is watching TV next to an open bottle, so Felix splits. He arrives at Mr. H’s store sullen and hungry, and he successfully shoplifts a Nutty Chocolate Log. He tries pocketing a comic book too, and when Mr. H inconveniently looks in his direction he starts a panic conversation to cover himself, at the end of which Mr. H makes the unexpected proposition that Felix take care of the store for two weeks while he takes a holiday. The store has a rat problem, and H has a dog named Mitzi that lives in the store all the time and is supposed to keep them at bay. She needs looking after, and because it means getting a key to the store, Felix agrees.
As soon as H is safely away on vacation, Felix and two of his homies unlock the back door and help themselves to whatever they think won’t be noticed. Mitzi is an ancient but contented beast, who, it turns out, is completely uninterested in hunting vermin. On their way out, Felix does notice Mitzi, who wags her tail and whines noncommittally, but he doesn’t so much as pat her head, never mind leaving food in her empty bowl.
The boys scale the fire escape outside their building on their way to a rooftop stolen-goods picnic, and on the way Felix thinks he sees something moving in the window of Mr. H’s apartment. H had been crying earlier, sobbing quietly and cradling a broken pair of glasses. But now Felix can’t see a sign of life, just a picture on the wall, one that sadly explains the significance of the glasses. They continue to the roof, crack open their brewskis and toast Mr. H in absentia.
On his second trip to the store Felix comes alone, takes more TV dinners and comicbooks, and yet again almost leaves without attending to Mitzi. But after a maddeningly long beat, he does finally open a bag of dog food and replenish the dish. At home watching TV and avoiding conversation with Mom, he thinks he hears some commotion upstairs, but it isn’t until later, alone in bed with a comicbook, that he definitely hears the record on the record player, the furniture dragging along the floor and the sudden and ominous crash.
When he’s made another trip up the fire escape to confirm the awful truth through the window, Felix makes one last trip to the convenience store. The rats are out in full force now. Felix looks at the empty glow of light through the window behind the register where Mr. H used to stand, he looks at the dog, and he makes the decision that circumstance has been setting him up to make for much longer than two weeks.
The Wraith of Cobble Hill is animated in a style so imitative of reality that the purist in me does wonder — why was this animated at all? But never mind — drama trumps all in a dramatic medium, so it’s hard to fault technique when the results are this good. The set design and cinematography suggest a dream memory of Brooklyn rather than the real thing, which is appropriate for a dramatic universe containing only six people (one of whom is already dead when the action begins). And the animation is superb; the characters are stop-motion armatures with minimal mouth and eye articulations, and writer/director/animator Adam Parrish King delivers all the necessary acting beats with smooth assurance. (The fluidity is truly amazing; technology-wise, this short may be one of the best advertisements yet for Frame Thief.)
The power of Wraith comes from the minimal movement, expert timing and, especially, the strong writing and voice characterization. So many moments linger — how Felix automatically censors his own profanity mid-word to say “sh…tuff” when he’s in the presence of an adult; the particular whine of a dog who doesn’t mind being alone but who wouldn’t say no to some company; the single seam of water damage running down the plaster in Felix’s room. The kicker, as always, is the details; and in an animating process stretching over a half a decade, King has deployed six years worth of them.