10 Live Action Shorts Advance in 2013 Oscar® Race

The-Oscars-e1381262416749by Carrie Specht

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently announced that 10 live action short films will advance in the voting process for the 86th Academy Awards®. This is out of the one hundred and twenty pictures that originally qualified in the category. That’s an impressive number, I suppose, but I would like to know if that’s an unusual amount, high or low. And just what do these filmmakers expect to get from all this hard work? Fame? Money? Well, not if they know anything about the filmmaking world. The best they can ever hope for is a pretty statue, one that represents the ultimate validation of their artistic endeavors.

www.indiewireBut the odds are stacked against them from the start. After all, if you break it down the chances for the current list of competitors is about a 1 in 12 chance of making the cut. Not bad, but that’s of all the films that officially qualified. That’s out of all the shorts that went to all the festivals that didn’t qualify, let alone the films made last year by eager short filmmakers that didn’t even make it to a festival. So now the accomplishment is somewhat staggering and far more impressive than the feature films that make it to Oscar night. I’m just sayin’ let’s give the short filmmaker some respect and give them their due when they walk the red carpet this March, whoever they may be. If one of the many commentators takes the time to interview one of these lucky few, please don’t take that moment to visit the restroom. And be sure to listen to their acceptance speech. In my experience these speeches tend to be the most sincere, full of heartfelt gratitude, becoming the most meaningful moments of the night.

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An added aspect to the Short Film category is its growing representation of the future of filmmaking on a global scale. The current list represents a broad spectrum of nations and cultures, which is not surprising considering the fact that other countries actually support the art of short filmmaking. Things are tougher here for the American artist who ventures into the unprofitable world of shorts. I mean let’s face it; there’s no true outlet for a short in the US other than the festival route. And that costs the filmmaker money to submit. Where as, in other countries there are supportive art councils and other government agencies, not to mention the standard practice of showing shorts on TV.

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So, if you’re going to make a short film in the US you better love what you’re doing, because the odds are highly against any financial rewards. Which is all the more reason to celebrate the hard work produced by these filmmakers who will truly mean it if they get the chance to say, “it’s an honor just to be nominated”. Heck, when all is said and done, it’s an honor to make the short list. Here they are in alphabetical order:

“Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me),” Esteban Crespo

“Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything),” Xavier Legrand

“Dva (Two),” Mickey Nedimovic

“Helium,” Anders Walter

“Kush,” Shubhashish Bhutiani

“Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?),” Selma Vilhunen

“Record/Play,” Jesse Atlas

“Throat Song,” Miranda de Pencier

“Tiger Boy,” Gabriele Mainetti

“The Voorman Problem,” Mark Gill

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The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting at screenings held in Los Angeles. The members of this branch of the Academy will now select only three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings are being held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco this month. The final nominees for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater along with all the other 2013 nominees. And then the Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. ABC will televise the event live to more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. Good luck to them all!

Blood Brother – The True Meaning of the Holiday Spirit

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by Carrie Specht

In case you’re tired of the same old rush of Holiday films and you’re looking for something different to fill your movie going hours, may I suggest a documentary? There are quite a few good ones out at the moment, and playing at many of the major chain theaters. If you throw in Netflix, Red Box and your neighborhood Art Houses you have a lot of variety from which to choose, including a rare and unusually quite, yet moving tale of a young man’s new found life as a volunteer at an Indian orphanage for children with AIDS. Blood Brother is just the kind of story that will help keep the true meaning of the holidays in focus as you hustle and bustle between Black Friday, Cyber Monday and all the big budget block busters extoling the virtues of caring for your fellow man. Blood Brother is the one film that actually, truly demonstrates the true depth of human compassion.

Filmed entirely form the perspective of an observer, Blood Brother is about a young American man named Rocky who took a trip to India as a tourist and ended up changing the course of his life. On a chance day trip away from the big city, Rocky came across a home for children with HIV and created a lasting bond. The story begins when after a brief and disillusioning trip back to the states he decides to return to India and devote his life to the dispossessed children who had so impressed him. The film’s director, Steve Hoover is best friends with Rocky, and in a bit of a state of disbelief ventures to India with him to chronicle his newfound life. The end result is a film that is beautifully crafted and extremely personal.

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In the beginning of the film we learn that Rocky grew up without a close-knit family, which makes it all the more remarkable that he finds himself dedicated to the health and wellbeing of orphan children infected with HIV. And despite facing formidable challenges with nothing but his own instincts, Rocky’s playful spirit and determination proves to be unfailing even at the darkest and most depressing moments. Placing adoring faces upon the statistics of the HIV/Aids crisis in India, Blood Brother is a powerful film that beautifully illustrates the impact one person can have on the lives of so many.

blood-brothersReleased in October in Los Angeles, the film received a lot of attention earlier in the year when it won both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award for Best Documentary at Sundance. Since that time the film has been shown around the country at special one night only engagements in over 50 other cities. These screenings are presented in collaboration with Tugg.com, which is enabling communities nationwide to host screenings of Blood Brother in local theaters, schools and community venues.

Now here’s the really great, Christmas-y part – in support of Rocky and his work all proceeds earned will go directly back to the children and the orphanage featured in the film and to other HIV/AIDS organizations. Think about that. This is one of the rare times that just by buying a ticket to a film, or by organizing a screening you can make a difference. And you can contribute to the holiday spirit at the same time! So, I urge you to do some good for yourself and for others the next time you go to the movies – see something that will restore your faith in mankind and help it at the same time. Not only is this a win-win, it’s a pretty certain way to avoid coal in your stocking, at least for another year.

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To find show times in your city visit http://www.tugg.com/titles/blood-brother. For additional information about the film or to sign up to host a screening of Blood Brother in your town, please visit www.bloodbrotherfilm.com.